Nintendo Switch will give more Wii U games a second chance

E3 2017 was a chance for Nintendo's brand new console, Nintendo Switch, to make a big first impression. As was largely hoped and expected, Nintendo used the opportunity to push the console into the spotlight and give it some attention. 

Proving that the Nintendo Switch has a healthy and exciting future meant that Nintendo not only had to focus on the big games like Super Mario Odyssey that are coming to the console by the end of this year but also tease big titles such as Metroid and Pokemon that won’t be playable until a year from now. 

By re-showing games that we already knew were coming by the end of 2017 and teasing games that weren’t likely to make an appearance well into 2018 Nintendo didn't leave much room for anything else and some were unsurprisingly worried that the lineup for both Switch and Nintendo still looked rather thin.

Spread thin

By making E3 its big picture blockbuster-only show, Nintendo seems to have had to skim over some of its smaller plans including mobile titles, indie games and less groundbreaking Switch titles. 

In a recent interview with Waypoint, Nintendo of America President, Reggie Fils-Aimé, revealed that Nintendo certainly hadn’t revealed its entire hand at E3 because “it’s about the audience” and E3 wasn’t the best place to talk about all of these things.

It makes sense – E3 is the headline event in the gaming calendar where companies have an opportunity to build intense hype to a wider audience meaning the announcements have to be big with general appeal. This leaves little time to talk about mobile games, the 3DS, or Wii U remakes. 

Just because plans weren’t revealed or updated, though, doesn’t mean they aren’t progressing.

 Wii hardly knew U 

E3 isn't the best place to express this but it won’t just be brand new titles coming to Nintendo Switch over the next few years. Already we’ve seen games from the Wii U come over to Switch, including Mario Kart 8 and Pokken Tournament. Fils-Aimé stated that this is something we’re likely to see more of.

The Wii U was a hardware flop but it still had some great games which many missed out on due to its very small install base. This, Fils-Aimé says, is “a business opportunity.” What we shouldn’t expect, however, is a deluge of straight ports. 

“There really needs to be an additional element to that game to make it fresh, and to further compel the consumer to buy in” he acknowledges. 

This means that we’re likely to see many more Wii U titles come to the Switch but we can expect them to have enough additional characters, maps, or game modes to justify a Deluxe re-brand. 

Context is key

As far as mobile is concerned, Fils-Aimé told Waypoint that development for Animal Crossing “continues quite strongly” and that the game would indeed launch this year as promised with more information promised soon.

It’s become clear that Nintendo is opening up its arms to independent developers for the Switch so it was surprising that none of them got any spotlight time at E3 this year. According to Fils-Aimé this is once again very much “about the setting.” 

If E3 isn’t the time or the place then when is? PAX, apparently. Fils-Aimé promised that, as it has done for the past three years, Nintendo will use PAX to showcase its indie content with “big events.”

Overall, it seems that we weren't made privy to everything we have to look forward to over the next year from Nintendo at E3 this year, which alleviates some of our worries for the 3DS and the Switch. Hopefully we’ll see plenty more contextually appropriate and exciting news at shows through the rest of the year.

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.