Soapbox: Can We Just Announce All Platforms At The Same Time Already?

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© Nintendo Life

The absence of E3 last year created a PR vacuum which publishers, media organisations and even noted figures in the world of gaming raced to fill with their own events. Geoff Keighley, bless him, attempted to wrangle it all — indie and triple AAA alike — under his Summer Game Fest umbrella, but ultimately Summer 2020 was a bit of a mess of events and announcements bleeding into each other and resulting in consumer confusion at best, apathy at worst.

Perhaps I felt it more keenly than others as at various times it fell on me to round up the announcements of such-and-such’s presentation for the site and sift through and find what was new, relevant or repeated. I recall hours trawling through emails, press pages, websites and whatever resources were available (dev Twitter accounts on occasion) trying desperately to ascertain if Indie Game X was actually coming to Switch or not. I came to dread the ambiguity of the phrase “coming to PC and consoles”. Ergh, can’t we be a little more precise?

Now I totally understand the reason for not announcing all platforms at once, especially in the current climate and especially for smaller studios. For many developers, especially Indies, PC is the lead platform for purely practical reasons and launching the game elsewhere is something to deal with once all the fires have been put out. The difficulties of dealing with multiple platform holders and their guidelines aside, getting a game working on a single platform is a monumental feat, let alone catering for multiple SKUs, controller and UI standards, and navigating certification for consoles versus a nice simple PC release on Steam.

Not coming to Switch, apparently.
Not coming to Switch, apparently. (Image: Square Enix)

As multiple Kickstarter projects have demonstrated (anyone else still waiting for their 3DS copy of Mighty No. 9? — ooo, now there’s another rant-y Soapbox article!), overselling and under-delivering is a recipe for disaster, so I appreciate caution when it comes to making platform announcements before working out if a Switch port is realistic and viable.

And I also appreciate the perceived second wave of coverage you get down the road when you announce a Switch version of your hit game. I understand why publishers do it. I get it.

I’m just so very tired of seeing a trailer and having the exact same question after pausing the video and scanning the logos and trademark notices: “Is it coming to Switch?”.

I came to dread the ambiguity of the phrase “coming to PC and consoles”. Ergh, can’t we be a little more precise?

It’s a question that’s haunted developer interviews for the past four years, and everyone involved is surely tired of doing the dance, but it goes on. From a professional point of view, it’s often more a case of “is this relevant to me?” and, although it would be nice to have the information presented a little more readily (you might be surprised at just how oblique and difficult to parse some publishers make their game-related materials!), that comes with the job. I certainly don’t expect much sympathy for being made to trawl through press releases and associated documentation hunting for any mention of Nintendo. As a player, though, it’s frustrating to have answers to these questions often deliberately withheld, especially when it’s plain as day when a publisher knows if its game is coming to Switch or not.

Remember that Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster unveiled at the Square Enix Presents Summer Showcase? Not coming to Switch (or any console), apparently. Yes, at present, that remastered collection of those famous PC and mobile games Final Fantasies 1-6 is exclusive to Steam and mobile platforms…

At this point I should make it abundantly clear that I have absolutely no inside story on this. As far as I know, it’ll remain on Steam and mobile platforms forever. The notion that Square wouldn’t put this release on consoles is just ridiculous, though. Again, to reiterate, I have absolutely no clue if this is planned for consoles or not, but to not put this collection on Switch would be an unimaginably strange move from Square. Myself and every other console owner who likes a good RPG would find it very odd indeed.




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