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....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...?
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.