Gaming, Opinion piece, Senza categoria

Guessing time! ft. Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017

 

*checks his last post’s date*

Uh, so many months since my last article on this blog, wow. And so much stuff happened in the past few months, including…NX’s formal announcement, finally. Ops, sorry, I meant the Nintendo Switch’s formal announcement. An unusual kind of announcement, especially compared to what most people expected, form-wise: not a Direct of sorts, but a 3:30 video that teases the most relevant features of the device, some games, official name and logo, and then goodbye to January 12th / 13th (depending on your timezone) for everything else. And now, it’s just slightly more than two weeks before the day: that’s when we’ll see if the great and attractive package shown this October delivers and it crushes everything and shines more than the Sun and manly tears are shed for the awesome, or if it fails and crushes and brings Nintendo to their bottom and people will cry sad tears and-what’s going on with the hyperboles?

Seriously though, it’s going to be a major step in Switch’s life, and many people (me included, I’ll be honest here) hope the event will be good in several ways. So, I thought this is a good time to write about some games I’m expecting and / or hoping to see appear on stage or just getting announced. It should be fun to look back, after the Presentation, to see how much stuff I got right (or wrong. Mostly wrong, I’m sure).

I want to make the final score and win the game for all

In case you don’t understand the paragraph title, especially in relation to a Tekken game, no need to worry: the confusion is normal. It’s just that Harada & co. decided that the Tekken Ball theme for the Wii U version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 had to be a corny, high school-themed song. The worst part is that it’s catchy. Check the video below to hear with your own ears

After having cleared the insanity…why do I believe we’ll see Tekken 7? Well, first of all, going by what Serkan Toto said several months ago, Namco is working on several Switch games, Smash Bros. included. It’s true that he said, back then, that SSB was planned to be a launch title, which shouldn’t be the case going by more recent rumours from reliable sources (Laura Kate Dale said it’s coming a bit after launch), but I can’t dismiss his tweets so easily: he’s an analyst and consultant for several major mobile publishers (so, “traditional” ones too), thus he has several solid contacts.

So, since we’re dealing with multiple titles for the platform, even assuming some of them are Nintendo-published (I mean, alongside Smash Bros., we shouldn’t be surprised to see an expanded version of Pokken Tournament, including the Arcade-only characters, announced sooner or later, come on), we can make hypotesis on what other Namco-published titles could be coming.

Still, there are other reasons why I believe Tekken 7 could be bound to the platform. First of all, the already-mentioned Pokken Tournament: a Pokèmon / Tekken mash-up, with the Tekken director, Katsuhiro Harada, working on it, that represents, alongside Smash Bros. itself, a possibly stronger relationship between Nintendo and Namco for the fighting game genre. Also, speaking of Harada himself, he was recently asked about PS4 Pro / Scorpio enhancements and a Switch version of the game, and he gave a…strange answer on the latter

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/tekken-7-producer-on-pc-and-console-ports-esports-/1100-6445485/

Have you considered incorporating PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox Scorpio support for the game?

Those platforms are relatively new as far as what we know about them and what’s been released publicly about them. It’s hard to comment on that right now.

So, no Nintendo Switch version to reveal?

We’re quite surprised by the Nintendo Switch announcement; read into that what you like.

This is, indeed, a very strange answer: no confirmation, no denial, just that they were “surprised”. What does that even mean: surprised because they weren’t expecting the announcement back in October? Surprised by the format used by Nintendo for the unveiling? Surprised by the reception? What a vague statement. It’s so vague it could be assumed it’s a PR-ish statement, in order to avoid to spill anything on the matter, whether it’s happening or it isn’t.

Finally, the game’s supposedly coming out in Early 2017, so between January and March, but we still have no release date yet. However, at the most recent tournament, it was announced that the release date was going to be announced…

…In January. During…an event.

Eh, I wonder if the “event” is a Tekken-specific one or a generic one. If it’s the latter, I suppose the chances ot its appearance on the Switch Presentation’s stage are high.

Super Smash Musou

Ok, gentlemen, say hello to Musou Stars: it’s a cross-over title announced by Koei-Tecmo at TGS 2016 for (currently) PS4 and PSV, releasing on March 2nd in Japan. At first, it was going to be an Orochi Warrior game, but then the developers at the Musou Fact-err, I mean Omega Force decided to change direction: a smaller roster, but with bigger representation of Koei Tecmo’s franchises. So, not just Musou characters with a few non-Musou ones. Heck, Opoona is a playable character here.

Now, the title of this paragraph isn’t completely in jest, because I believe this kind of Musou can have a similar function to what a Smash Bros. game can do. Alongside, you know, being a fantastic game (I’m ignoring Brawl right now, and I’m proud to do so). You see, a Smash Bros. game represents a promotional platform for Nintendo (and not just Nintendo, at this point) as a whole: it’s a title that sells huge amount of copies thanks to major franchises being represented, but that can translate into brand new players getting to know less known characters, which could become a bigger interest in trying the games / franchises those characters come from. It worked for Marth and Roy back with Melee, characters with such huge following that Nintendo went on starting releasing Fire Emblem games internationally; Pit’s appearance in Brawl was a step towards Kid Icarus: Uprising, and we’ve seen more recently how Nintendo tied a budget re-release of Bayonetta 2 in US to the character’s release in Smash Bros. And this kind of Musou, thanks to the different brands represented, can work similarly in making first-time players more aware of other franchises. This…fits well with a launch of a new device: trying to expand the fanbase of different properties with one single game on a just launched console, where the competition is much less fierce for obvious reasons. That’s the first major reason why I think Musou Stars could show up at the Switch’s Presentation; even if it releases slightly later on Switch compared to PS4/Vita, I don’t believe it would represent such a huge problem (it would be a matter of 2-3 weeks at worst).

Also, let’s be honest: it’s a cross-over title at its core, which means guest stars are possible…and Hyrule Warriors has represented a very successful venture for both Nintendo and Koei Tecmo…so, yeah, the Switch version could see Link and Zelda (most obvious guesses) included as playable characters: more appeal for the game to the Nintendo audience in the end.

Grr, I hate a character because she’s showing feelings for someone. And it’s from the same sex, how dare they! Mgrmgrmgr, I hate it so much, argh!

Look at how lovely that kiss looks! Argh, I can’t stand it. I need to kick some dolphins in their vaginas! Blizzard just shot themselves in the foot, I’m an expert, graurgh!

…Ok, it’s better to stop here with the mocking at some of the strangest reaction to the latest webcomic’s scene where Tracer kisses her girlfriend.

Yep, Overwatch. Sincerly, this is a game that I fear has the lowest chances of being shown at the event, among the ones I’ve already mentioned and the ones I’ve yet to talk about: while I still can’t believe we live in the same dimension where Bethesda has Skyrim on a Nintendo platform and it’s very excited for the platform, going by Todd Howard’s words, I can’t shake the sense of pessimism towards Western support completely off my shoulders. My expectations have increased a bit on that sense, but I still see developers not going all in, others not going at all, some major (already released on other consoles) titles not releasing due to “different audience”, “not enough demand”, “we had Frog Factions 2 as a test game, no one bought it so sorry”, you name it. Also, this is a game that’s approaching its first year anniversary, so it would be a very late port, which makes the case for it even more difficult.

However, I feel Overwatch could have some (slim) chances of appearing on Switch due to two reasons. First of all, while it’s an old title, it’s a service game. No, not SEGA, but a title that keeps on evolving after launch, with brand new content, new modes, costant balance updates, etc. While “old”, it’s still very alive, so expanding to another platform can be a good decision, providing that expansion brings a sufficient amount of new players. But that can happen if the new device is receptive towards the game / the genre.

And here lies the second reason, Splatoon. Nintendo’s own team-based shooter can be taken as an example to show how the shooter genre can be successful (highly, even) on a Nintendo platform too, despite past few years’s flops in the genre by other developers (because yes, Call of Duty on Wii U didn’t exactly do that well. And by that I mean that the numbers were extremely low); I can see Splatoon’s and Overwatch’s audiences overlapping also due to the amount of fan arts surrounding both franchises (there’s a LOT of that, and several of them look great, if not fantastic. Both games really inspire people’s artistic skills, which is great!).

I’d personally love to play Overwatch on a device that allows me to do so both on the big TV screen and on the bed / everywhere inside and outside the house, so this entry in the article is more based on “hope” than just rational thinking, but I still think there are . And I admit that seeing Blizzard appearing on a Nintendo platform after Bethesda would sustain even more my theory that we’re actually living in an alternative dimension, too. Man, Skyrim in the Switch’s reveal trailer was a real “WTF” moment for me, seriously.

Come on Reggie, give us Mother 3!

Rumours from Emily Rogers and Eurogamer (among the most reliable sources for Switch’s pre-announcement rumours in the past few months) were absolutely sure that Mother 3 would’ve finally seen its Western debut through the Virtual Console service on Wii U, after its release in Japan on December 17th, 2015. Unfortunately, though, while an extremely good amount of other rumours coming from both sources have been confirmed as time went by, this is one of those that hasn’t materialised. And it hurts, especially considering how the Mother/Earthbound series has finally started to get more consideration from Nintendo themselves, thanks to pretty successful Virtual Console releases (and to think it all started on Miiverse). This makes me honestly think that a release this year was actually planned, but got scratched due to Wii U’s state (or maybe Nintendo’s attempt to end its life in an even stronger fashion, or both), in the end, a classic change of plans.

We all know the Presentation will deal with several aspects of the device, including the Virtual Console service and, about that, Eurogamer recently posted an article stating GC is coming to the digital platform, plus the return of upgrade fees for games already owned on Wii/Wii U (in case you’ve yet to read it, you can find it here: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-12-07-sources-nintendo-switch-will-have-gamecube-virtual-console-support ). Of course, since the Switch will become the de facto Nintendo platform / family of platforms going forward, we can expect GBA VC to come back, and (maybe it’s just me, though) presenting Switch Virtual Console with Mother 3’s worldwide release, alongside other titles, would be a great way to present the service and to give more confidence in it.

Double cross at home and on the go

That logo is so ridiculously heavy to look at, seriously.

If you follow my posts on GAF (but honestly, why should you do that), I’ve been among the most vocal about guessing that MHXX will show up on Switch’s launch, for several reasons

  1. The game is coming out on March 18th, Capcom couldn’t release it at the end of this year
  2. Laura Kate Dale has previously posted how she heard the European release date of Switch will be on March 17th
  3. Now, if we assume the console’s release happens on the same week worldwide (as she said), considering the usual history of major console / game launches in Japan, that would translate into March 18th as the Japanese Switch launch date. So, the exact same day as MHXX
  4. Having a game like MHXX at launch, even if it’s not exclusive to the platform, would be a great incentive for a specific kind of consumers (more core ones) to buy the Switch at launch in Japan. Especially if (as rumoured) titles like the next Mario game and Splatoon will accompany it.

Unfortunately, more recently, Laura herself has stated in an AMA on Reddit how she’s heard to not expect MH at the January’s event, but she also said that both the sources for this tidbit were Western ones, as you can see here

Which could mean that she didn’t hear about the game being at the January event because it won’t be at the Western events that will happen alongside the main ones, and the game will be announced for the West at a later occasion.

So, I’m still expecting the game to appear. Heck, it’s among the games I see having the biggest chances to be at the event. I would see its absence from the launch as a major mistake from Nintendo and/or Capcom, to be honest, but it’s possible the launch lineup for Japan is still great even without it thanks to other titles, of course.

So, there you have it. As said earlier, it will be fun to read this piece again after the Presentation is over…I’m so expecting to have a bad record over here, but I hope the event will surprise me, in several ways. Hopefully, positive ones at most.

See you soon, world

P.S. #westandforfemalesingamingindustry

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