TIME has recently sat down and interviewed several figures at Nintendo and published two separate articles with new details about how the company develops games and Switch information. The first article focuses on the new faces of Nintendo, specifically Shinya Takahashi, who has been working in the background on many of our favorite games, like Wave Race 64, and only now has been given some of the spotlight previously reserved for the likes of Mr. Miyamoto and Mr. Aonuma. The article details many personal stories about the development of games like Pokémon Stadium, Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and more. When talking about the Switch, Takahaski says:
It’s obviously a system that from the beginning we wanted to have a versatility of play styles. Even looking at that versatility of play styles, you have to ensure that when it’s connected to the TV, you’re getting home console level performance. At the same time, when you pull it out of the dock and you’re playing it in handheld mode, you have to ensure the battery is sufficient. It’s a question of striking that balance.
The second TIME article, tilted The 8 Most Interesting Things Nintendo Told Us About Switch, many nuggets of information were shared. While none of them are bombshell announcements (Nintendo is very good at keeping its secrets close to its chest), longtime fans obsessed over Nintendo (like us) will no doubt appreciate some of the insight. Yoshiaki Koizumi of Mario Galaxy fame reveals that one of the key concepts of the Nintendo Switch revolves around having two controllers always on the system:
As we were talking about creating a system that you can take with you, the other thing that we felt we had to continue to place tremendous amount of emphasis on is this nature of playing with others. We felt it was important that we include two controllers with the system right out of the box because if you have a system that you can take with you anywhere and you have two controllers, you can hand the controller to somebody you know or even somebody you don’t know and instantly be able to play right there.
Mr. Takahashi hints that Nintendo isn’t afraid to shake things up with the Nintendo Switch and that the typical life cycle of a system could be changing:
Certainly, we’ve designed Nintendo Switch in a way that it can be used by consumers in the way that best suits them. I think we may see that people who have bought a Nintendo home console in the past traditionally, they may treat Switch like a home console and buy it and use it for a long period of time. Whereas people who have been traditionally Nintendo handheld gamers, they may buy Nintendo Switch and then for example, if a new version were to come out later, then maybe they would decide to upgrade to that. Or, for example, because you can take the Joy-Con off the system, then I guess that leaves open the possibility of something else that might get attached. There’s obviously a lot of different developments that we could look at from that perspective as well.
Although Nintendo’s official line has been that the Nintendo 3DS is a separate market from the Nintendo Switch and that it will continue to create games for the popular portable, Mr. Koizumi suggests that if the Switch is a hit that it hopefully will be the device that is played everywhere you go. This isn’t too surprising to see Nintendo hedging its bets by supporting both devices and seeing where the market leads them. He says:
We’re hoping that Nintendo Switch will be a system that will be the constant in your gaming life. Whereas previously, you would play certain things on your home system and certain things on your handheld. Our hope is that Nintendo Switch can be the system that bridges both of those and becomes the constant system that you’re always using.
Mr. Takahashi and Koizumi actually demoed the Nintendo Switch personally to third parties last year. The presentations always ended with 1-2 Switch and it turned out to be a hit amongst the third parties. Let’s hope that translates to the general public at launch!
Koizumi also talks a bit about having the right tools in place for developers. This time around Nintendo has a bunch of different toolsets that third parties have access to, including development and graphical engines that have been used on other systems. For example, Unity is supported by the Switch and it can make development easier, especially for smaller studios. He says that Snipperclips is using that engine and it’s on pace to be available at the launch of the Switch. Officially Nintendo just lists it as a March release, but perhaps it will be another launch title.
For much more, be sure to check out both articles. They are loaded with information and a must-read for fans of Nintendo.