Hey, Charters! I'm VGChartz Senior Editor Spencer Manigat and you're reading Part 1 of VGChartz's very first VGChat discussion. I just wanted to give you guys a heads up on what we're doing here with this before we begin. Basically, I wanted to give you Charters a series of informal discussions, similar to a podcast, to read when a particularly interesting piece of gaming news dropped.
We don't really have the means right now to do a formal podcast or anything like that, but when thinking about it harder, I thought back to the brilliant Iwata Asks interviews that the late president of Nintendo used to host. Many Nintendo fans, including myself, loved reading these, and I thought that this would be the perfect format for this idea, considering our limitations. Combining that idea with what the guys over at Gamexplain do with their discussions led me to what you're about to read now: VGChat!
Without going into much detail, that idea sat on the shelf for a few months until Nintendo's reveal organically sparked a great discussion amongst a few of our writers here: Evan Norris, William D'Angelo, Brandon j. Wysocki, and myself. We all agreed that this was too good not to publish. While editing and reformatting these takes a lot of work, I personally believe that the end result is absolutely worth the effort. If VGChat! is something that you'd like to see more of, please let us all know in the comments!
But enough of all of that. Without further ado, here it is!
LET'S CHAT ABOUT THE NINTENDO SWITCH:::::
Evan Norris: Nintendo Switch!
EVAN NORRIS ENTERS
Evan Norris signed up for VGChartz as a member in September 2012. In December 2014 he joined the moderator team and, in April 2015, the writing team. Evan has been a fan of video games since he watched his older brother play Kung Fu and The Legend of Zelda on NES. He has a voracious appetite for games and enjoys writing about them at every opportunity.
Spencer Manigat: That was honestly a phenomenal trailer. Like wow.
SPENCER MANIGAT ENTERS
Playing video games since the age of 5, Spencer Manigat has been fascinated with the possibilities of this interactive medium for nearly as long as he could speak. You can contact Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @spencewashere.
Brandon J. Wysocki: Whoa!
BRANDON J. WYSOCKI ENTERS
Brandon J. Wysocki is a neurotic, verbose, semi-self-aware writer, father, husband, gamer, and geek who contributes his drivel in the form of opinion articles and reviews for VCGhartz. You can check out some of his fiction at www.thespacelegend.com, but please be gentle, he can be a little sensitive.
Spencer Manigat: Thank God it has a regular controller with a regular D-pad. This thing looks so good though, aesthetically.
Evan Norris: I don't know how many beautiful stylish people are walking around with a Nintendo system, but I definitely will!
Spencer Manigat: This is without a doubt the most stylish thing they've produced since the Wii. This actually looks like a premium product. This is the type of Industrial design that I expect from Sony.
I genuinely couldn't be more impressed. I did not have high expectations for this at all. And it's all seamless. Taking the Switch from out of the dock automatically switches the game to the tablet. Also, did they just confirm a new Splatoon game?
Brandon J. Wysocki: I agree, Spencer! Looks fantastic. Seemingly a day one purchase for me!
Spencer Manigat: And side note, but I still think they may strongly push digital with this. It seems like the only reason they're using cartridges is because it's portable, rather than because it's superior, if that makes sense.
I want to know how much storage space the dock has. But that's all I will say on that... (Laughs nervously)
Brandon J. Wysocki: Back to Nintendo, that is everything I had hoped. Arguably, it's what the Wii U should have been. The Wii U GamePad was too limited with its 30ft range.
This looks great, and while it's too early to tell, with good third party support, there's a chance this could make Nintendo my most played platform. That hasn't been the case since the early GameCube days. Yeah, Spencer, I'm eager to see and learn more.
Spencer Manigat: I wouldn't get too excited about third party support yet. Skyrim is 5 years old. Is that a new Mario Kart game, though? It looks like Mario Kart 8, but they are holding two items.
Brandon J. Wysocki: I think it was definitely a new Mario game, which I'm amped for. Not sure if Splatoon and Mario Kart were new or just compatible.
Even without 3rd party support, I'll almost certainly buy it. Nintendo's unique first party offerings essentially demand that I buy their consoles.
Spencer Manigat: I think that Splatoon and Mario Kart are at least different. The Splatoon kids have new hairstyles, and Mario Kart is allowing you to have two items again, which was not an option in the original game. I'm sad to see dual screens go, though.
Nintendo has now revealed the long list of publishers, developers, and middleware partners that are currently working on the Switch. Some partners of note are Bethesda, From Software, and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. Check out the full list here.
Evan Norris: Interesting Partners. From Software! Epic Games!
Spencer Manigat: From?! I can die of happiness.
Brandon J. Wysocki: Solid list of partners.
Spencer Manigat: For now, at least.
Brandon J. Wysocki: True, Spencer. But honestly, this looks like a great idea for a console. It's something I always wanted.
Evan Norris: I want to play it now!
Brandon J. Wysocki: Me too - I want to play it so hard!
Evan Norris: (Laughs)
Spencer Manigat: Me too. (Laughs) I need to see that UI, though.
Evan Norris: Yes, good call. And I want to know about Virtual Console.
Spencer Manigat: Exactly.
Brandon J. Wysocki: Yeah, I'm trying to stay rational, and not get all caught up in the excitement, but it's thus far proving to be everything I had hoped it would be.
I have the same questions and concerns. Did any of you see the new trailers for Breath of the Wild?
Evan Norris: Oh yeah. Majestic.
William D'Angelo: The Switch. I know I'm being cynical, but I'm not impressed at all. To be portable, it will be very underpowered compared to Xbox One and PS4. The new Switch Pro Controller has the same layout as an Xbox controller.
It can't have good battery life can it? I'm just very skeptical. Regular Nintendo titles won't be enough to sell it to more than 10-20m people, unless it gets mainline Pokémon games.
WILLIAM D'ANGELO ENTERS
A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. You can contact William at email@example.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.
Spencer Manigat: I don't think power will be an issue at all. I think battery life will and I think third party support will, but I don't even think that third-party support will be an issue because of the power. I think it will be an issue because of the audience.
William D'Angelo: My best guess is that it is somewhere between Wii U and Xbox one (in terms of power).
Spencer Manigat: I'm sure that's the case.
William D'Angelo: The “core Nintendo” audience doesn't care for most third party games like the sports games and shooters.
Spencer Manigat: I don't think that the Switch is a "core Nintendo" system. Not specifically, anyway.
William D'Angelo: Is it a sequel to Wii U or 3DS or both? The issue with Wii U was the confusing marketing. Nintendo needs to be clear about what the Switch is… So far, they are on the right track though - at least for hardcore gamers like us.
Spencer Manigat: I think the target demo is casual gamers. Madden, FIFA, and Call of Duty-type casuals. PS2 and DS-type casuals. That's why I think multiplats are so important.
William D'Angelo: I'm skeptical, but I don't want Nintendo going third party. Just having Microsoft and Sony can't be good.
My girlfriend who has been a Nintendo fan girl her whole life has given up on them after the Wii U. She is not impressed with the Switch.
Spencer Manigat: I'm bullish honestly. The thing is, this leaves a lot of room for other hardware SKUs down the line. That's how I see it, anyway. I don't think the Switch is the only NX.
William D'Angelo: Nintendo can't make it too complicated though.
Spencer Manigat: I agree.
William D'Angelo: Two SKUs at a time, max. Like with PS4 and PS4 Pro or Xbox and Scorpio.
Spencer Manigat: No, I mean very different from each other. I can see three, where the Switch is in the "middle." But I don't see those coming out for years, if at all.
On January 30, 2014, the late President of Nintendo, Mr. Satoru Iwata, spoke of plans to redefine what it means to be a dedicated video game platform by creating a unified platform of video game systems. In this platform, different systems would no longer be independant from one another, but act as brothers in a family of systems.
William D'Angelo: Will they have different games though?
Spencer Manigat: No. That's the gimmick. At least, I think so. I think Switch is meant to be the Trojan horse for this idea.
William D'Angelo: They would need to (play the same games). After 3DS and Wii U, we found out that Nintendo can no longer handle developing for two different platforms at once without third party support.
I see the Switch being a console, and a new portable SKU in 2018. Though the Switch is portable, I feel like it attracts a different consumer.
Spencer Manigat: I agree. And I think you'll see a pure console too. Think of it this way - if Switch is a "laptop/tablet," I think there will be a "PC" and a "phone," to make an exemplary comparison. A powerful home console (PC) and a cheap handheld (phone) - all playing the same games.
William D'Angelo: I get what you mean. Nintendo in my mind needed a standard home console to compete with Xbox and PlayStation, power-wise.
Spencer Manigat: I'm just speculating though, but a lot about the Switch makes no sense (to me) given what Nintendo has said in the past about a unified platform of games with a family of systems if a "hybrid" system is all they plan to do.
LET'S CHAT ABOUT SOFTWARE:::::
Spencer Manigat: Anyway, I think Switch is a good move. What they needed was a product that makes them look premium again, and this does it. I think the rest will come if this succeeds.
William D'Angelo: Switch to me is very similar to Wii U. Just more portable.
Spencer Manigat: I agree, but I think it does important things differently. The biggest thing is that I think it justifies being weak. I don't think the Wii U did that. By that, I mean that it's weak for a functional reason - portability.
William D'Angelo: We shall see how well it sells in the first year. It needs more heavy hitters in the first year.
Spencer Manigat: I agree. It especially needs Western exclusives and exclusive marketing with multiplats.
William D'Angelo: Yes. Like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto VI.
Spencer Manigat: Switch is dead if it can't appeal over here.
William D'Angelo: Yup.
Spencer Manigat: By the way, I don't think Red Dead Redemption 2 is happening (on the Switch). The trailer made no mention of the system, which is troubling.
Red Dead Redemption 2 had its debut teaser trailer set to be released one hour after the Switch was set to be revealed. Although Rockstar had already confirmed the PS4 and XBO as platforms for the game, many were hopeful that the timing of the trailer's release was indicative of Nintendo Switch platform support as well. Nintendo's poor third party support has been the butt of many jokes, and unfortunately this trailer did not act as a sign of good things to come in that regard.
William D'Angelo: Yeah. Rockstar has ignored Nintendo this generation.
Spencer Manigat: But I think the Switch has a time buffer to prove itself to third parties, though. I think there are third parties who will wait to see how it does for about a year.
If it can convince them in that time that there is money to be made there, they will come, which is why those exclusives are so important.
William D'Angelo: More than likely.
Spencer Manigat: That's why I think that the rumored Beyond Good & Evil exclusivity deal is so important.
William D'Angelo: That series isn't that popular though. Nintendo also needs to work on advertising third party games.
Spencer Manigat: It's not, but if this is a reboot like it is rumored to be, that won't matter. Iron Man wasn't that popular either until the movies.
If the game is good and, more importantly, if they intend to push it hard, it will be huge for them. They can't treat this thing the way they treated Bayonetta. They need to treat it the way Disney treats Star Wars or Marvel.
William D'Angelo: Agreed. They need to show third party developers that they will help them.
Spencer Manigat: Exactly, and that there's an audience for their games. Because that evolves their demographic.
William D'Angelo: Agreed about Disney reference.
Spencer Manigat: And to be clear, Beyond Good & Evil isn't nearly enough. They need more, but that's our first concrete-ish example of them maybe putting in an effort in that department. Really, what they need is something like that from in-house that isn't just Zelda or Metroid.
William D'Angelo: Yeah. They need a lot.
Spencer Manigat: Which is why I'm praying that Retro Studios is working on something for that audience. Nintendo already makes good Nintendo games. Now they need to expand on what that means.
William D'Angelo: Mhm... For me, besides third party titles, it needs a mainline Pokémon and a good 3D Mario game like Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Galaxy.
The newest Beyond Good & Evil game has been heavily rumored to be an exclusive game for the Nintendo Switch. The game was recently reconfirmed on the franchise's official Facebook page after years of seemingly being in development limbo.
Spencer Manigat: The new industrial design is a good sign. It's the first Nintendo product I've seen outside of the original DS that didn't look like a toy. That's important. It looks like a premium product.
William D'Angelo: The Wii was sleek looking...
Spencer Manigat: That's true... I wasn't being fair. (Laughs)
William D'Angelo: But that is really it. (Laughs)
Spencer Manigat: I think that the new Mario game is a mixture of what both of us want. I like linear Mario games like the 2D games or Super Mario 3D World, while you like immersive Mario games like Sunshine.
This looks like a mix. The hub looks like Sunshine, but the levels look like the ones in Super Mario 3D World, but with a free 3D camera.
William D'Angelo: Did they show off a Mario game?
Spencer Manigat: Yeah, in the trailer. For a few seconds.
William D'Angelo: I must have missed it.
Spencer Manigat: It's beautiful, dude.
William D'Angelo: To me Super Mario 64 is the best Mario title, followed by Super Mario Galaxy.
Spencer Manigat: I have very complex feelings about Mario since Super Mario 64... (Laughs) I feel like it's never reached its apex since going 3D because it started focusing on exploration, which I don't think belongs in Mario.
William D'Angelo: I see... (Laughs) I loved the openness of Super Mario 64.
Spencer Manigat: But then Nintendo dialled back a bit too much with Super Mario 3D World and took away the excellent sense of place and identity that Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy had.
William D'Angelo: Super Mario 64 was also my first Mario game. I had a Genesis before that. I know I'm biased when it comes to Mario. (Laughs)
Spencer Manigat: Yeah... Galaxy is my favorite 3D Mario precisely because it's the most linear.
Super Mario 3D World and Super Mario 3D Land are isometric platformers to me, so I don't categorize them alongside the 3D games, even though I think that their level designs are immaculate... To me, exploration is for Zelda. (Laughs)
William D'Angelo: That was my issue with Galaxy. Too linear.
Spencer Manigat: It's funny - Super Mario 64 became less linear and more about exploration, while The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time became more linear and less about exploration, so I have strong feelings about both!
I don't even think they're bad. Maybe my issue is that they aren't bad actually, if that makes sense. That means that they were super important at the time, so they kind of set a new standard for games and, more importantly, for their franchises... Basically, my feelings on them are similar to the feelings I talked about in my The 'Super' in Metroid article.
Alongside new hardware, Nintendo also revealed a colorful new Mario game in the Nintendo Switch teaser trailer. In it, Mario can be seen triple-jumping in a festive "Day of the Dead"-themed hub world before moving about in a more traditional Mario level a few seconds later. The lower, behind the back camera has led some to believe that this game marks a return to the Super Mario 64/Super Mario Sunshine-style of gameplay.
William D'Angelo: Gotcha. Those were my first experiences with those series. I've never gotten into Metroid.
Spencer Manigat: I do hope Nintendo hits it out of the park with the Switch though.
William D'Angelo: I'm (still) skeptical, but I'm going to keep an open mind. I thought the Wii was going to flop and I was very wrong.
Spencer Manigat: I think that, if done right, the Switch will be a very different kind of success than the Wii was. Far more sustainable. I don't think we have enough info yet to call if it will succeed or not, but the Switch is conceptually sound. Implementation is what will make or break it.
William D'Angelo: Agreed. It all depends how the general public views it and third party support. Re-watching the trailer for the Switch, I missed the fact two people can link up together when they are portable.
Spencer Manigat: I always compare Nintendo to both Apple and Disney. The Switch definitely gives me Apple vibes from a hardware perspective, especially if its screen is multi-touch like what is rumored.
It needs good firmware too though, which is why I'm so antsy about the UI. iOS is what made the iPhone, and I think whatever OS DeNA has been working on for it will be a key factor in Switch's success or failure.
William D'Angelo: Nintendo has NEVER been good with UI. The Wii U is extremely slow. Not that the Xbox One and PS4 UI is that great.
Spencer Manigat: I think the Wii U's UI blows away the other two, though. Even though it's slow. Just because of how simple it is.
William D'Angelo: But still needs improvements.
Spencer Manigat: I agree. Massive ones, but that's what DeNA is for. But I feel like it's like comparing a flip phone to a touch screen phone in that regard. There are things flip can never do because they're restricted to only buttons.
That's the same issue with consoles right now when it comes to UI, and that's a big area of opportunity with this thing. Even if it does sound boring on paper. (Laughs)
William D'Angelo: Flip?
Spencer Manigat: I was drawing a comparison to flip phones.
William D'Angelo: Oh, right.
Spencer Manigat: I feel like using a console's UI with a traditional controller is akin to using a phone's UI with a flip phone. It's antiquated. No matter how good the flip is, the controller input is so limited.
William D'Angelo: It depends on the console. 360 is the only one I was able to get around easily.
Spencer Manigat: If Nintendo can get their UI on par with Apple/Android though, it won't even come close.
William D'Angelo: If they do, they are good to go with UI.
CONTINUED IN PART 2
And that's it for Part 1, guys! Thank you so much for reading this thing all the way up to this point. I think I speak for all of us when I say that it means the world to us that even a single one of you would care enough about what we have to say to read through something like this. I hope to do more discussions like this in the future, but that will only happen if you make your voices heard! Did you enjoy this? Do we have room to improve? Most importantly: Would you like to see more? Let us know!
To read the rest of the discussion, head on over to Part 2.
Playing video games since the age of 5, Spencer Manigat has been fascinated with the possibilities of this interactive medium for nearly as long as he could speak. Recently, his growing obsession with learning about tactile mechanics, interactive narratives, and all things on the academic side of gaming has lit a new passion in him to discuss, debate, and critique various topics in this brilliant medium of video games that we all find ourselves participating in. Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker are a few of his favorite games. You can contact Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @spencewashere.