Games Inbox: Predicting the Nintendo Switch 2 release date
The Thursday letters page wonders why there’s no Marvel connected universe for games, as one reader tries to imagine Metroid Prime 4.
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Smoke and fire
I wouldn’t say it was a smoking gun exactly, but that is some mighty suspicious information from Nintendo’s latest financials. I think simply the fact that they haven’t announced a single new game for 2023 is proof enough, though, that new hardware is coming.
Since the Switch Pro would presumably be backwards compatible, I’d assume that the reason they’re hiding the games is because it’s the full fat Switch 2. I realise the madness of predicting Nintendo but like anyone they’re sensible enough to try and repeat a good trick, so I think a May launch with Breath Of The Wild 2 is a totally reasonable guess.
If it’s not that then when? It’s still got to be 2023 or 2024 I reckon, they can’t leave it any longer than that. Not so much because the Switch is getting too outdated (although it is) but because technology has moved on so much that a Switch 2 could be a major leap forward in performance. Imagine a Nintendo hybrid console with the power of a PlayStation 4 that costs less than £300. Yes please!
All part of the plan
I don’t know about a Switch 2 coming out next year but I’m willing to bet that Metroid Prime 4 has always been intended for it. They must’ve known how long it was going to take when they restarted, and what the life of the Switch was likely to be. Since the Switch has done so well they probably underestimated and were expecting the next one to be out soon anyway.
I’m really interested to see what they’ll do with it and whether they’ll have a Zelda style open world or something that maintains the traditional ‘locked doors’ style of Metroid. The earlier Prime games had to do that for technical reasons, but it’s become so ingrained as the way Metroid works I’m not sure Nintendo will be able to wean themselves off it.
No news is bad news
I’ve seen a lot of people on the Inbox accuse others of being bias or unfair against Sony but I think that’s missing the point. People aren’t angry so much as they’re frustrated. They’re frustrated at the lack of news but also the lack of reason for why everything is so secretive. Sony obviously has other games underway so why not announce them? Are they pretending they haven’t announced games with just a pre-rendered trailer before?
Just say God Of War: Ragnarök is out on October 12, or whenever. You can always change it later, it’s not like we’re not all used to that. It would mean at least one thing to look forward to because I honestly can’t even remember the last time I played a game, let alone looked forward to one.
Elden Ring seems so long ago now and it feels like the whole games industry packed off and went on holiday after Easter, and hasn’t come back. That’s why people are getting agitated, not because they suddenly hate Sony or something.
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You mentioned that maybe Return To Monkey Island was a timed Switch exclusive due to strong indie sales on the platform, which I think is right, but probably even stronger than that, I think it’s due to strong point ‘n’ click sales on Switch, specifically of Ron Gilbert’s last game, Thimbleweed Park.
Ron shared this a few years ago: ‘Even though the Switch version launched last and only about three months of sales are shown here, with its much lower January 2018 userbase it beats the Xbox version which released much earlier and had a similar exclusivity deal with Microsoft, and also PlayStation 4 which had extremely disappointing Thimbleweed Park sales.’
I’m sure Ron shared the updated version of these sales with Devolver Digital, and Devolver probably figured with an even higher Switch userbase now, getting some assistance from Nintendo is worth it.
Am I right in thinking that Sony’s Spider-Man game is a completely standalone game? It doesn’t connect to any other game or anything in terms of a story? I find this very odd. I would’ve thought that trying to replicate the interconnectedness of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would’ve been a super obvious idea for games companies.
DC should’ve done it with the Batman: Arkham games and yet I don’t even think Gotham Knights is part of the same universe. Given how fast other film companies have been to copy of the idea it’s surprising that no game has ever really done it. It happens a bit in Final Fantasy games but the best example I can think of is Half-Life and Portal, and that was just a joke really.
GC: The only two games that could be connected are Spider-Man and Iron Man VR, but we don’t remember anything that specifically connected them – if there was something it was just a throwaway line.
Between the Nintendo Mini Direct and the first party line-up Nintendo have pulled a solid showing out the bag for the rest of ’22. Tuesday’s Direct was definitely short on surprises, given the leaks and the news a few weeks ago Persona was coming to Xbox (and so inevitably Switch), but it still showed a strong third party selection to back up Nintendo’s first party efforts and indies.
Having older titles come over to the little portable never gets old in my opinion. I’d never have poured the 100+ hours needed to get through The Witcher 3 and Divinity: Original Sin 2 if I had to book time in to play them on the TV… on the handheld however it’s easy peasy, despite being much inferior versions. It seems Persona 5 will finally get finished over the cold winter nights this Christmas.
Mind you, a lot of it does depend on how well the ‘ol Switch can hold up technically in these games. NieR:Automata is the biggest concern given it’s somewhat janky on other platforms already, despite not being particularly high tech, so wonder who is doing the port?
And while Persona 5 is on the PlayStation 3 I’d imagine they’re just straight porting the PlayStation 4 code base over for Royal and chopping it down to fit, so we’ll probably see Shin Megami Tensei 5 style performance there, which I could live with to have it on a handheld. Just hope they get physical cartridge releases.
PS: Also just wanted to sing the praises of OlliOlli World, what a charming little game. Probably my game of the year so far.
The early bird gets the console
I’m looking forward to the Sega Mega Drive Mini 2, I’m hoping that Snatcher on Mega CD will be on it with an English translation, as it is so expensive on eBay. The last time Snatcher sold on eBay for Mega CD it sold for £234 pounds! I will be pre-ordering the Mega Drive 2 Mini as soon as you can with Amazon. I missed out on the NES mini and SNES mini because I did not order early and they sold out.
PS. The free games on Epic Games Store on Thursday, from 4pm is Geneforge 1: Mutagen and Iratus: Lord Of The Dead. They have not been given away free before by Epic.
I thought the recent Nintendo Direct Mini was a bit of a mixed bag. Persona, NieR:Automata, and Monster Hunter don’t interest me while the remakes/collections of Pac-Man and Mega Man games felt like release schedule filler, but I might be being a bit harsh there. On the other hand, I enjoyed the first Mario + Rabbids game so will likely check out its sequel.
The presentation also provided a couple of opportunities to correct major gaps in my gaming experience. I’ve never played a Monkey Island or Portal game before, but know they’re critically acclaimed, so Return To Monkey Island and the Portal Companion Collection look interesting.
Do you think you’ll need to have played any of the original Monkey Island games to appreciate or understand Return To Monkey Island? And is it possible to play these games on consoles (I don’t have a gaming PC)? It feels like LucasArts are leaving money on the table not releasing the original games as a collection on modern formats…
Similarly, is the Portal Companion Collection likely to be the best way to experience these games on consoles? I seem to remember a collection being released previously but that this may have been on PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 – it might be cheaper for me to get a month of PS Plus Extra, if this collection is on there, rather than splash out on the new Switch version…
GC: The Monkey Island Special Editions are easily available on Xbox and PlayStation, and we imagine there’s a good chance they’ll be brought to Switch as well. Escape From Monkey Island (the only other essential one) is currently PC only though – unless Sony bring the PlayStation 2 version to PS Plus, as they already have with the Special Editions. Portal 1 and 2 have probably been bundled together at various times but the only official compilation is on the Switch.
Ubisoft has been making Skull & Bones for 10 years?! I wonder if they’ve ever heard about a little concept called sunken cost fallacy?
Count me in as another that thinks Harvestella looks quite cool actually. I hope they don’t make it too serious and it’s just a little fun adventure, the problem with Square Enix is that they can be so serious all of the time.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Tosh, who asks what’s your favourite PlayStation exclusive?
Inspired by the recent launch of PS Plus Premium, we want to know what’s your favourite PlayStation exclusive. It doesn’t have to be one made by Sony, just one that, at the time at least, was only available on a PlayStation console (including portables).
How important was the game, and exclusives in general, to you getting the console or forming a positive impression of the PlayStation brand, and is the franchise still going now? If it became multiformat did that lessen your enthusiasm for it in any way?
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