After facing weeks of criticism over the Switch’s software line-up, Nintendo unveiled a swathe of new indie games for the console on Tuesday, bolstering the platform’s 2017 line-up with 60 ‘Nindie’ titles to arrive by the end of the year.
Among them are Image & Form’s SteamWorld Dig 2, Team17’s Yooka-Laylee, Overcooked: Special Edition and The Escapists 2, Chucklefish’s Stardew Valley, and the exclusive Runner 3 from Choice Provisions.
The Switch will also have a number of timed exclusives in the form of Vertex Pop’s Graceful Explosion Machine, TinyBuild’s Mr Shifty, and Vblank Entertainment’s spiritual successor to Retro City Rampage, Hawaii Shakedown. Chucklefish’s Pocket Rumble, meanwhile, will be a console exclusive on Switch, and Inti Create’s Blaster Master Zero will be exclusive to both Switch and 3DS.
This is in addition to previously announced indie titles such as Rime, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove and Snake Pass, as well as bigger third-party games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Minecraft, Farming Simulator and FIFA.
UP AND RUNNING
With such a wide variety of games on the cards, it’s clear Nintendo’s pursuing a much more aggressive stance on securing third-party support than ever before, showing a marked change compared to its previous efforts to court indie developers with the Wii U.
Indeed, Runner 3’s producer Dant Rambo (left) told MCV that “Nintendo’s focus on accessibility and creating a platform for the hardcore and non-hardcore alike were the biggest factors for [Choice Provisions]” in deciding to make Runner 3 a Switch exclusive. It also loved the idea of being able to play the game at home or on the go.
He added: “As a smaller team, focusing all our efforts on one platform made a lot of sense to us. It didn’t take us long to decide on the Switch. We feel like it’s a really great fit for the Runner series, which we’ve always tried to design in a way that allowed for long and short gaming sessions.
“[Nintendo’s] approach to indies with the Switch is in many ways an evolution of their approach to indies with the Wii U. They’ve really made an effort in recent years to share the spotlight with smaller developers, which is something we’ve absolutely seen the effects of in terms of sales and coverage.
“In our experience, Nintendo’s always made an effort to provide good placement to smaller titles in the eShop and in their marketing, and we feel this is why Runner 2 sold as well as it did on the Wii U.”
Sniper Elite 4’s Rebellion also announced it would be bringing 2000 AD’s Rogue Trooper to Switch this week in the form of Rogue Trooper Redux.
“Switch looks like an exciting machine to work with, and Nintendo appreciates good game mechanics, so they understood why we felt the time was right to bring back one of the legendary 2000 AD titles,” said Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley (left). “Nintendo has been super helpful, and if you count us as an indie, then they definitely support us in our ambitions.”
During the run-up to Switch’s launch, Nintendo’s continually emphasized how simple it is for developers to make games for the platform, with Shigeru Miyamoto stating that the “ease of software development has also been felt by Nintendo’s internal developers.”
Managing executive officer Shinya Takahashi also reassured investors recently that Nintendo’s been aiming to create a console where many third-party developers can “easily develop compatible software” for Switch and that the console’s support for the Unity and Unreal engines should help prevent the console from falling into the same third-party pitfalls as the Wii U.
Nintendo looks to be bringing more indie titles to retail as well, as last week it announced a limited edition Joy-Con bundle that comes with a download code for Snipperclips. The title, developed by UK studio SFB Games in partnership with Nintendo, arrives digitally on the eShop today, with the retail bundle following on March 10th.