Nintendo surprised everyone this week with a brand new direct out of the blue, as they tend to do. Of course, some big Nintendo announcements popped up, including Super Smash Bros. for Switch, a new Splatoon 2 single-player expansion, and a release date for Mario Tennis Aces, among other things. Perhaps just as important as a new Smash though, this direct highlighted the amount of effort Nintendo is putting into courting third-parties.
It’s no secret that the Wii U really struggled with third-party support over the years, with the system later in its life only receiving quality releases from Nintendo themselves for the most part. With the Switch, Nintendo is hoping to rectify those issues, and make the system a hotbed for gaming, first-party and third-party.
Nintendo games are the bread and butter of a Nintendo system, but the company knows that a diverse release schedule filled with their games, indies, and third-parties will help the Switch thrive. This recent Direct put third-party announcements front and center, and boy were there some big ones. One of the biggest gets from the presentation was the Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy coming to Switch, marking the first time any of the original three Crash games have appeared on a Nintendo system.
It’s amazing to think that by the end of this year the Switch will have a game for Mario, Sonic, Crash Bandicoot, Mega Man, and Donkey Kong. All gaming icons, all in one place. Considering the huge success of the N’Sane Trilogy on PS4, selling over 2.5 million, putting the collection on Switch has a lot of promise. The N’Sane Trilogy launches on July 10, and surprisingly that’s not the only huge third-party game that week. We learned that Octopath Traveler, the Switch-exclusive RPG from Square Enix, will be releasing July 13.
Nintendo actually gave a decent portion of the presentation to Octopath Traveler, showing a nearly three-minute trailer that revealed two of the game’s main characters. This isn’t the first instance that Nintendo has given time to Octopath either, as it has been featured in other directs.
On top of these two announcements, there were a number other third-party games announced to be coming to the Switch. South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Okami HD, Undertale, and Little Nightmares were all announced for the system as well. There was also a new look at Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, and the announcement of a brand new Dark Souls amiibo. This means that nearly half the announcements in this direct, and half the of total time, were reserved for third-party titles.
It’s quite a change to see so much time devoted to third-parties, but it is all part of Nintendo’s new focus on cooperation. They’ve been more willing to work with other developers on titles like Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors, and Bayonetta 3. The fact that they’re branding a character like Solaire from Dark Souls with an amiibo is equally surprising, and impressive.
The PlayStation 4 has such a massive lead over other consoles on the market right now because not only do they have a strong first-party lineup, but an impressive lineup of exclusive third-party titles like Persona 5, Yakuza 6, Nioh, NieR: Automata, and more. The Switch is finally starting to win back some good will from third-parties for Nintendo after the failure of the Wii U. Companies are more willing to put their games on the Switch, and publishers like Bandai Namco and Square Enix are throwing in their support.
2018 is stacking up to be an incredible second year for the Switch with first-party games like Super Smash Bros., Mario Tennis Aces, and Yoshi. But equally impressive are the third-party games that are on the way like Valkyria Chronicles 4, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Dragon Quest XI, Dark Souls Remastered, Project Octopath Traveler, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, and the Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy, not to mention the flood of indies that are continuing hitting the system.
Just one year in and the Switch has already surpassed the lifetime sales of the Wii U, something that third-party developers are clearly taking notice of. Nintendo wants to bring as much support to the Switch as possible, considering its sales are still running strong. This new focus on bringing third-party developers into the fold is an important step for Nintendo to take, and one that could help ensure the Switch’s success where the Wii U failed.