It’s no secret that the Nintendo Switch has been a huge hit. Since its launch in March, the hybrid console has been a sell out success in most major territories, leaving many gamers desperately refreshing Amazon in a bid to nab new stock. Yet, despite Nintendo’s latest console obviously striking a chord with the public, there’s always been one key sticking point with the Switch: third party support. With blockbuster behemoths like Grand Theft Auto, FIFA and Destiny skipping the last few Nintendo consoles, many gamers simply don’t see the Switch as a place that they can play big Western blockbusters.
Now, for the first time since the Gamecube, it looks like Nintendo finally has a chance to change things. While we already knew that the Switch would be getting big hitters like FIFA, Rocket League and Skyrim, yesterday’s Nintendo Direct showed that the family friendly Japanese giant isn’t shying away from blood and gore either. With Bethesda bringing both 2016’s DOOM and the upcoming Wolfenstein 2 to Nintendo’s shooter-deprived console, the prolific publisher is sending a pretty clear message; it’s bringing its A-game to Switch.
26 Years Later, Bethesda Is Back On Nintendo Platforms
For those who have been dreaming of playing the latest AAA blockbuster on the go, these announcements are a hugely promising sign. With Nintendo pushing the Switch as a device where you can play anything anywhere, getting such popular franchises on the console is obviously a big coup for the company. Yet, even more importantly, Bethesda’s eagerness to work with Nintendo shows that the famously difficult platform holder has finally managed to win over the sceptics.
Giving interviews around a year after the launch of the Wii U, Bethesda reps gave pretty scathing feedback about Nintendo’s lacklustre developer outreach. This wasn’t just friendly criticism either. Despite the DS and Wii selling gangbusters, the last time Bethesda actually released an internally developed game on a Nintendo platform was 1991’s Home Alone tie-in for NES. Now, 26 years later, Bethesda has clearly been convinced by this intriguing hybrid console, bringing not one, but three of its biggest franchises to the Nintendo Switch.
Switch’s First Six Months Show A Lot Of Third Party Confidence
If that wasn’t enough of a sign that times are a-changing, GTA developer Rockstar has also seen fit to put its latest release on the Switch. With GTA and the brilliant Red Dead Redemption nowhere to be seen on Wii or Wii U, many gamers assumed they’d never play another marque Rockstar release on a Nintendo console. Later this year, however, Switch owners will be able to do exactly that. While it’s not GTA or Red Dead Redemption, 2K’s prodigious studio is bringing its cult detective game L.A Noire to the hybrid console. Given Rockstar’s, well, rocky, history with Nintendo, it’s definitely a solid start.
Despite these promising new relationships though, so far, it seems as though other publishers have taken a far more cautious approach to the Switch. With once loyal ally Ubisoft only bringing safe IP like Just Dance 2017 and the ageing Rayman Legends to Nintendo’s shiny new system (and of course the brilliant Mario and Rabbids), the lack of Assassin’s Creed Origins on Switch suggests that Ubisoft might still be sour about the unexpected failure of the Wii U.
Still, in this age of social media and seemingly never ending gaming announcements, it’s easy to forget that the Nintendo Switch is only six months old. While publishers like EA, Warner Bros and Square Enix haven’t exactly been bringing their big hitters to Switch, so far Nintendo’s new console seems to have a buzz around it that the Wii U didn’t manage in five years on the market. With a surprising amount of new games being announced for the Switch with each new week, it looks as though publishers are slowly realising the system’s potential. If Nintendo can keep wooing indies and AAA publishers a like, the Switch could well become the fully-rounded Nintendo console that gamers have always wanted.