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How Will Nintendo Switch Change Our Favorite Games?

Nintendo's next system will play host to lots of familiar series. We speculate how they'll take advantage of the unconventional hardware.

Analysis by Jeremy Parish, .

Nintendo will be hosting a Monster Hunter-focused Nintendo Direct presentation later this week for Japan. Don't get your hopes up, though — it won't include any Switch-related news.

Still, the close proximity of Switch's reveal and the prospect of news for one of Nintendo's staunchest third-party properties sets the mind to thinking about what the upcoming console could mean for games like Monster Hunter. Or, for that matter, for lots of other games. We started contemplating the games and franchises that seem like certain bets to make Switch appearances (but which didn't appear in Nintendo's trailer last week) and how the dual-format hardware could bring fundamental change to their familiar designs....

Monster Hunter

Capcom's most hardcore franchise seems pretty well married to Nintendo hardware these days. Portability has proven the key to Monster Hunter's success, so we'd be shocked to see the series not put in an appearance on Switch. Besides the obvious technical improvements Switch would bring, the next Monster Hunter could take a more ambitious approach to its design that reflects the nature of the console. What if connecting to the system's dock worked as the equivalent of returning to town in-game, while mobile outings with the core unit became extended hunting sessions? If nothing else, Switch's highly adaptable control scheme could allow a number of different configurations to reflect and enhance the game's different weapons — using the two-handed grip of the pro controller configuration to mimic a greatsword, while dual-blade wielders could instead use the separate, independent controller arrangement. Who knows, but given the series' deliberate interface design, we can see a lot of potential here.

Dragon Quest XI

Series creator Yuji Horii let slip ages ago his intentions to bring the next numbered Dragon Quest RPG to Switch, so this one is all but confirmed. But what will this version's nature be? The PlayStation 4 version of the game will be a 3D, Unreal-powered, high-definition game, but on 3DS Dragon Quest XI will have more of a retro look. Let's assume the 3DS version is still happening; what does that mean for Switch? My hunch is that Switch will allow players to alternate between either approach, either high-definition 3D or old-school bitmaps. Maybe it'll be mandatory: Retro when you play on the go, modern when you're docked at a TV.

Pikmin

Shigeru Miyamoto claimed a while back that Pikmin 4 has come along quite a ways in development, and he clearly meant that sequel will appear on Switch. Hopefully, Switch's emphasis on in-person multiplayer will allow Nintendo to finally integrate a proper cooperative exploration mode. They've fumbled around with the idea in the past, but Switch's versatile hardware could provide the edge they need to bring that promising concept to life.

FIFA

Couch play has always been huge for FIFA, so Switch seems like the most natural platform in the world for EA's juggernaut soccer franchise. And, as FIFA expert Kat puts it, "The satisfying 15-minute loop for career mode would be amazing on a plane." Our one major concern: Nintendo hasn't indicated whether or not Switch's core unit includes wi-fi, which paints a huge question mark over the FIFA Ultimate Team mode.

Smash Bros.

Switch means the next Smash Bros. will be the game Smash 4 was meant to be: Fully portable, but fully uncompromised. A handheld, portable fighter with full four-player support integrated, offering the same visual fidelity and refined tech as the console edition. Indeed, Smash for Switch could literally be the game Smash 4 was meant to be if it ends up being a port of the Wii U and 3DS game, as is the rumor. Freed of the chains of the 3DS, maybe we can finally enjoy playable Ice Climbers again.

Etrian Odyssey

Atlus's secret best RPG series has been tied to Nintendo portables since the beginning — but also to touch-screen systems. In fact, its creators have said the core appeal of the Etrian games (drawing your own maps as you explore) depends wholly on the DS/3DS touch screen. So... does Switch actually have that capability? We don't know yet, though the dockable nature of the console throws that possibility in some doubt. Or maybe Switch only allows touch interaction when used as a handheld? Whatever the case turns out to be, it's going to have a huge impact on Etrian Odyssey and other touch-centric RPGs. What if you could only explore and map the game while on the go yourself...?

Pokémon

Well, this one seems pretty obvious. Of course Nintendo's next console will feature Nintendo's biggest money-maker. The question is, does Switch truly replace 3DS in the long term? Nintendo's going to keep its handheld family going for a while, presumably as a fallback position in the event Switch belly-flops like the Wii U did, but the portable versatility of the console could moot the 3DS. If that does end up being the case, Switch will be the home of future core Pokémon titles, not just the spinoffs. Imagine the possibilities — a Pokémon game with console-quality graphics and all kinds of crazy multiplayer options. Not just for battling, but perhaps for cooperative concepts as well! And you have to assume Game Freak will borrow some augmented reality concepts from Pokémon Go, right? Of all the games on this list, Pokémon could be the true breakout for Switch... or, then again, maybe Game Freak will employ their usual conservatism and make another Pokémon that's basically the same as the rest.

Final Fantasy

The Final Fantasy name encompasses an awfully broad range of concepts; given that Switch basically embodies the "connectivity" concept Nintendo has been pitching since GameCube, though, it would probably make most sense for Square Enix to revisit the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series and finally, finally do it right. While bursting with good ideas, those games have never quite worked the way they were promised, bogged down by too many systems and cables and wires and controllers. With Switch's portability and heavy emphasis on couch co-op, though, this could finally be the sub-series' chance to shine. (We'd also be OK with a new Bravely Default, though.)

Animal Crossing

Can there be any doubt that Animal Crossing will make its way to Switch? Nintendo clearly has big hopes for this franchise, even if last year's spinoffs didn't do much to advance the brand. Animal Crossing has found its greatest successes on portable systems, even though Nintendo would like for it to work out on consoles as well; with Switch, it can exist in both worlds. The new system opens the door for some interesting multiplayer possibilities, something that's always felt like a bit of a kludge for Animal Crossing in the past. Once again, the uncertain nature of the system leaves a lot of questions about the nuts-and-bolts of games like this — for example, the workings of village management will depend greatly on whether Nintendo treats Switch as an individual device (like a handheld) or a shared system (like a console). We're eager to learn more, and have little doubt that the next Animal Crossing will make clever use of the system's potential.

Street Fighter

Nintendo missed out on Street Fighter V, but it's not hard to imagine Capcom whipping up something for Switch. There's all kinds of head-to-head conflict potential with the system's portability and flexible button interface. Shared screen competition and separate head-to-head alike should be possible, as should enhanced fighting modes when players dock their systems to televisions. In short, it should be nothing less than the most versatile, most feature-rich Street Fighter ever.

Nintendogs

We assume there's still a place in this world for Nintendogs, even if the 3DS version failed to set the world afire the way its DS predecessor did. Again, the docked/portable duality of Switch suggests some natural gameplay divisions: Portable mode for taking your Nintendog out for exercise, docked on the TV for playing with your pet at home. Depending on how Nintendo treats Switch ownership, the docked version could work almost like a happy kennel where every player's puppy hangs out together, with each individual player taking their own pet for a stroll when on the go. And we can safely assume Switch will include near-field communication and passive wi-fi capabilities, so let your Nintendog play with your friends' could potentially be a seamless, no-fuss experience.

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Comments 22

  • Avatar for rottendevice #1 rottendevice 11 months ago
    I'll enjoy seeing Pokemon being made on more capable hardware.
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  • Avatar for kirbyfan407 #2 kirbyfan407 11 months ago
    Our one major concern: Nintendo hasn't indicated whether or not Switch's core unit includes wi-fi, which paints a huge question mark over the FIFA Ultimate Team mode.

    Is there a reason to doubt this? The reveal trailer showed two Switch's playing multiplayer against each other during the NBA segment and what seemed to be at least 2-player (but likely 4-player) Splatoon dockless co-op during the "practice" period of the Splatoon eSports segment. That must be via WiFi, right

    Of course, it's a concept video, so who knows what will actually be in the final product. However, I'd say dedicating two video segments to dockless multi-Switch multiplayer is a pretty good indication that it will have some kind of wireless capability.

    P.S.: Praise be to Jeremy for suggesting Square-Enix bring back the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles games. It was best on GameCube but also the most cumbersome, so a reboot with that original game in mind in HD on Switch would be wonderful.Edited 2 times. Last edited October 2016 by kirbyfan407
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  • Avatar for mobichan #3 mobichan 11 months ago
    I really, truly hope there is no big push for portable and docked "modes" for any games. All I want is to be able to take a great experience with me wherever I go. Not a gimped or pseudo-socially focused experience. And I hope there is still a solid foundation for smaller developers to make games like Etrian Odyssey. Higher specs often mean the console manufacturer doesn't want less "impressive" titles. Blending the two markets from their previous efforts might put Nintendo into this mind frame.
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  • Avatar for warmrome #4 warmrome 11 months ago
    Jeremy, you think there's any chance Atlus would release Persona 5 for the Switch?
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #5 jeremy.parish 11 months ago
    @warmrome I guess they could, but by the time the system would achieve critical mass P5 seems like it would be old news.
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  • Avatar for link6616 #6 link6616 11 months ago
    @jeremy.parish But, isn't that the altus way? P3P, P4G, P2P, Devil Survivor 3DS ports.

    I'm not sure it takes a lot for atlus to push slightly enhanced edition out there. And their SMT games seem to stick around in terms of presence in peoples minds.
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  • Avatar for daverhodus #7 daverhodus 11 months ago
    Wasn't Street Fighter V funded in part by Sony?
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  • Avatar for NateDizzy #8 NateDizzy 11 months ago
    I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the likelihood of Street Fighter coming back to a Nintendo console is slim to none.
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  • Avatar for NateDizzy #9 NateDizzy 11 months ago
    @daverhodus It was. That's why you won't see it on any other console.
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  • Avatar for docexe #10 docexe 10 months ago
    I think it’s a bit premature to speculate how Switch will change, evolve or affect these game franchises considering we still don’t know much about the hardware features of the console (it’s still not even clear if it includes a touch screen or some sort of motion controller).

    In any case, I would prefer it if Nintendo and other developers keep things simple, rather than them implementing widely divergent features depending on whether or not the console is placed on the dock (of course, if the system still includes a touchscreen, what will happen with games that use it when the Switch is docked is a very good question).
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  • Avatar for mobichan #11 mobichan 10 months ago
    @NateDizzy when was the last time any modern SF entry was on a Nintendo platform? I feel like it was the SNES?
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  • Avatar for NateDizzy #12 NateDizzy 10 months ago
    @mobichan Super Street Fighter IV was on the 3ds. Not sure about how it sold. My guess is it sold terribly since the next iteration, Ultra SF4, didn't get ported.
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  • Avatar for fstim82 #13 fstim82 10 months ago
    I SOOOOO was looking forward to having Street Fighter 2 on virtual console for switch, then being able to plop down the two controllers whenever. Plane rides would be awesome. Problem is, I can't tell if the JoyCons have shoulder buttons (not the shoulder buttons during connected play, but where your fingers would be when holding an individual one) for 6 button fighters. If you look at the girls playing on the rooftop, there seem to be buttons there, but not at any other point in the trailer... Maybe there's JoyCon Pros?Edited October 2016 by fstim82
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  • Avatar for Ralek #14 Ralek 10 months ago
    "Nintendo hasn't indicated whether or not Switch's core unit includes wi-fi, which paints a huge question mark over the FIFA Ultimate Team mode"

    It will have wi-fi, the question though is whether it will have mobile internet and how that will work.
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  • Avatar for Mr.Spo #15 Mr.Spo 10 months ago
    I'd really love to see Switch versions of Fire Emblem, Kid Icarus, Luigi's Mansion and the Bravely series. If Switch is the one Nintendo system from here on out, that could happen.
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #16 jeremy.parish 10 months ago
    @docexe It's never too early for blind speculation on the internet.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #17 Stealth20k 10 months ago
    This system will be a jrpg magnet
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  • Avatar for ghostsandgoblins #18 ghostsandgoblins 10 months ago
    @jeremy.parish

    One of the biggest selling points of the Switch to me as a handheld-only gamer is it's apparent ability to run ports of console games. Skyrim would be hugely attractive, and the other games I immediately hoped for was Persona 5. So while old news to the hardcore, I suspect there is a decent market of people who want to play these games, but never have.
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  • Avatar for PensivePen #19 PensivePen 10 months ago
    @NateDizzy Super Street Fighter IV on 3DS sold 1.2 million, which doesn't seem terrible by any metric. No way to know what their expectations for it were though. http://www.capcom.co.jp/ir/english/finance/million.html
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  • Avatar for Jericho-GM #20 Jericho-GM 10 months ago
    @mobichan Does Tatsunoko vs. Capcom count?

    I am a big fighting game fan, and so I think being able to play with someone else with only one system sounds really appealing to me.

    Yeah, SFV is unlikely, but Guilty Gear Xrd or KOF XIV matches on the go? Yes, please.Edited October 2016 by Jericho-GM
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  • Avatar for mobichan #21 mobichan 10 months ago
    @Jericho-GM I was referring to arcade ports, not gimped or side series SF games. But my point was that Capcom really hasn't cared about porting SF to a Nintendo console for a very long time. And that is because their sales on those consoles have been too financially risky. Would it be great to have SF on every system and also be able to cross play online between those systems? Sure. Would playing SF with the Switch's controller be fun for me. Probably not.
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  • Avatar for docexe #22 docexe 10 months ago

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