Nintendo Japan had a live-streamed presentation revealing new details about their upcoming console, the Nintendo Switch. Here are my notes.
It’ll be available March 3rd 2017 in Japan, US, Canada, “major Euro nations.”
It’ll be up for pre-order in Japan on the 21st. No word on the US.
The system will include the tablet console, the dock, Joy-con controllers, wrist straps, the grip that can hold both Joycons into a Voltron-like regular gamepad, an AC adapter using a USB-C cable and an HDMI cable. There are two different versions of the console bundle, one with the regular Joy-cons and one with differently-colored Joy-cons as depicted below.
Switch online services will have a free trial at launch, and then cost money this Fall, like Xbox Live and Playstation Plus.
“In general we will not apply region locking to Nintendo Switch software”
Nintendo highlighted three modes, TV Mode for typical console gameplay with the Switch docked, Tabletop mode where you can play with friends using the Joy-con controllers disconnected from the tablet for multiplayer or single player, and handheld mode where it’s just a tablet with two controllers attached. The switch is supposed to have 2.5 to 6 hours of playtime when it’s not connected to power.
For the first time, Nintendo highlighted that there is an NFC reader in the Joy-con controllers for Amiibo support.
You can get the Joy-cons in multiple colors. The Switch will include a wrist strap that slides on the rails that connect the controllers to the tablet. The Joycon controllers also have an IR sensor on one end to detect distance from objects and hand motions, similar to my old employer Leap Motion’s technology. The Joycons also have “HD Rumble” to convey different sensations. Nintendo oddly chose to highlight this through the idea of holding a glass and feeling ice cubes and then water being poured into it.
This was taken to a gaming context through a new multiplayer minigame collection called 1-2-Switch that started out with wild west gunslingers drawing the Joycon controllers. 1-2-Switch, will let you play these minigames without looking at a screen, and instead follow the action by observing your opponent, the rumble feedback, and occasionally the screen of the tablet.
Nintendo also introduced Arms, a fighting game that resembles punch-out at first but looks closer to a more traditional fighting game except with a third-person behind-the-back camera and fighting by swinging the Joycons.
Nintendo also introduced Splatoon 2, with 4 on 4 multiplayer, and a new akimbo weapon. You can play with gyro features or traditionally via the pro-controller. It’ll be out this summer.
A new 3D platforming Mario game in the style of 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy, is coming out, featuring Mario in a bizarrely alternate version of our world, Super Mario Odyssey. It’s very weird seeing Mario interacting with a realistic-ish urban environment and humanoid people. It is supposed to have the excitement of visiting new places. Weird. It’ll be out at the end of the year.
Monolithsoft is putting out Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
Team Ninja is working on Fire Emblem Warriors.
Nintendo assures us that 50 companies are working on software and 80 games are in development.
Square-Enix is working on Dragon Quest 10 and 11 along with Dragon Quest 1 and 2 for Nintendo Switch, remakes.
Atlus is working on a Shin Megami Tensei game in the Unreal Engine.
Square-Enix also has a new game called Project Octopath Traveler.
Sega appeared on stage to show us their logo and say how interested they are in developing for the Switch without any commitment.
Skyrim was finally officially announced for the Switch after being in previous videos without a commitment.
Suda51 from Grasshopper made a very awkward entrance to let us know that Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes will return. He basically broke the translator who was so bored he sounded like he was about to commit suicide.
nintendo switch translator right now pic.twitter.com/jDigWr62qT
— ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ (@Rokashi) January 13, 2017
EA showed up to get translated into Japanese live, doubling their on-screen time, and announce EA Sports FIFA for the Switch.
Nintendo closed with a video highlighting the software available, including quick hints of Street Fighter 2 and other games that haven’t been announced.
Was that the end? I mean for the presentation or Nintendo?
— Robert Goode (@Shipwreck) January 13, 2017
Nintendo then actually closed with an announcement that Zelda will be available March 3rd, launch day.
In a quick follow-up press release Nintendo also announced Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which has all the DLC from the regular Wii-U version and a few new characters and courses.