After an incredible Indie Showcase that Nintendo aired before the launch of their new platform, the Nintendo Switch, I’m still left thinking about that reel of stellar indie software. The lineup looks fantastic, and in an otherwise barren stretch without software between Zelda and Mario Kart, the indies are going above and beyond in filling in the gaps.
Nintendo really stepped up their game in the way that they are courting independent developers this generation. You can tell. You can feel the excitement emanating from these smaller, self-publishing game creators. Not only is a slew of great games coming to Switch, but the indies are providing exclusives and timed exclusives by the handful.
Nintendo Voice Chat Indie Special
Recently IGN’s Nintendo podcast took a week off their normal format and interviewed some fine folks. They sat down and talked with many of the creators that were featured in Nintendo’s showcase, but also interviewed the employee of Nintendo in charge of managing these releases, all in one informative episode.
While you should definitely give the full show a watch or listen, I took two very important facts away from it:
1: Expect indie games to be enhanced with unique Switch features. Nintendo is helping indies implement the latest and greatest into their titles, and helping make these games more attractive on the Nintendo platform as well.
2: More selectivity is determining what appears on the eShop. It’s not an open invitation for indie developers anymore, but only the best of the best are being let in to the new eShop. This might seem like a step backward in Nintendo’s indie relations, but they’re really just taking an active step in keeping the shovelware out and wooing the best developers in. Damon Baker is the man in charge of Nintendo’s “portfolio management,” so he’ll be making a lot of calls, taking people out to golf, and not taking no for an answer when it comes to getting Nintendo fans access to the smartest indie titles.
Nintendo isn’t the only company taking advantage of HD Rumble or the other technologies packed into the Joy-Con controllers. Indies are crazy about this technology, and have reported that Nintendo’s documentation is off-the-charts helpful…
Let me say that again:
Nintendo’s development documenation for Switch is insanely good.
I know – sounds boring to you or me, but developers are going crazy about this. And it means we get better games, faster, so there’s that!
In one example of rapid technology implementation, Tomorrow Corp’s games (World of Goo, Human Resource Machine, Little Inferno) already take advantage of the IR-free Motion Pointer technology before it’s been seen from any other developer, first-party, third-party, or otherwise.
Indie games that allow full iPad-like touch-screen only controls as an option are also on the way.
Indie developers are having extremely efficient experiences in getting their existing games running on Switch hardware, which has historically not been the case with Nintendo platforms. In the IGN interview above, devs stated times between a single hour to two weeks when discussing port timeframes.
Not to mention that development kits are actually on the cheap end of the spectrum for indies! At approximately $450 per kit, it’s hardly a barrier of entry for anyone hoping to see their game running on Nintendo hardware. Finally, the Big N seems to have created a win-win situation with their development environment.
Switch is the perfect console for indie games. It’s easy to develop for, fully-featured hardware, that we can take with us anywhere! Let’s show independent developers that we respect their time and appreciate their efforts by voting with our wallets.
Watch for these upcoming (and some newly released) games:
- Runner3 from Choice Provisions
- SteamWorld Dig 2 from Image & Form Games
- Yooka Laylee from Team 17 and Playtonic Games
- Blaster Master Zero from Inti Creates
- Pocket Rumble from Chucklefish Games and Cardboard Robot Games
- Flipping Death from Zoink Games
- Mr. Shifty from tinyBuild and Team Shifty
- Wargroove from Chucklefish Games
- Stardew Valley from Chucklefish Games and ConcernedApe
- Shakedown Hawaii from vBlank
- Graceful Explosion Machine from Vertex Pop
- Tumbleseed from aeiowu
- Overcooked: Special Edition from Team 17 and Ghost Town Games
- The Escapists 2 from Team 17 and Mouldy Toof
- GoNNER from Raw Fury and Art in Heart
- Kingdom: Two Crowns from Raw Fury and Noio
- Dandara from Raw Fury and Long Hat House
- Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove & Specter of Torment by Yacht Club Games
- World of Goo by Tomorrow Corp
- Human Resource Machine by Tomorrow Corp
- Little Inferno by Tomorrow Corp