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How much will HD development actually hurt handheld developers on Switch?

Forums - Nintendo Discussion - How much will HD development actually hurt handheld developers on Switch?

AAA games are expensive. The rise of HD assets and increased audience expectations from more powerful hardware leads to higher costs and longer development times. Nobody was immune from this, and in the case of the big publishers, things only continue to grow worse. But as far as games in general are concerned, games are actually easier to make than ever these days thanks to the flexibility of modern game engines and the simplicity of console hardware these days. What would've needed a large budget with 40-50 man teams on the PS2 or even the 360, can now be done by just a dozen programmers in Unity or Unreal Engine within the same time frame on a budget of peanuts. 

Now in the case of the Switch, an argument for handheld style games taking long to arrive and in less numbers is HD development. The more powerful nature of the Switch means there'll somehow be less "Handheld" oriented games from developers. However, I don't think this argument considers the full picture. Now yes, the hybrid nature and increased expectations of the Switch does mean that production values and gameplay that would've been considered acceptable for a AAA 3DS game, now needs a larger team size and budget to get games out. Case in point, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which had to be delayed twice due to a new engine and increased production values and gameplay changes. IS even had to bring in Koei Tecmo to help get the game out. What was once considered AAA on the 3DS, now needs an even more AAA on the Switch. 

But the death of mid-budget games IMO, is an exaggeration. For these games, HD development is a non-issue. As I said, games in general are easier to make now thanks to the versatility and abundance of game engines on the market these days. Just look at Octopath Traveler as an example. A mid-budget game that happens to have sold over a million on the Switch thus Far. Hell, Square Enix in general is a good framework to look at since their Tokyo RPG Factory Studio puts out unique, smaller scale games on an almost annual basis. Then you have multiplatform titles like Sonic Mania, Mega Man 11, Valkryia Chronicles 4, and Civ VI, which are just as good as anything the DS or 3DS could have. 

Going forward, I think "Handheld" style games on Switch will come in the form of AA multiplatform titles. Less so exclusives since unless it needs the Switch hardware, you might as well bring your game to every console when porting is so easy. And as AAA games continue to shrink annually due to ever increasing development times, prioritizing cheaper to make projects will be more of a priority for major publishers, especially Japanese publishers who are already moving towards this. 

So while AAA 3DS projects will need larger teams and development cycles on Switch, AA games as a whole generally wont. 



Most "3DS AAA games" or "DS AAA games" were AA games (or good indie games) anyways.

A more powerful system is no problem. Not every game has to use all the resources of the system to be considered "good" or "great".

Talented indie developers will give us more than enough "Handheld" style games on all popular platforms (f.e. retro-inspired games like Celeste, Owlboy, Inside, Limbo, Braid, Undertale, Bastion, Hollow Knight, Shovel Knight, Shantae, Dead Cells, SteamWorld series, Guacamelee, Iconoclast, The Binding of Isaac, Super Meat Boy,...)

Last edited by Conina - on 17 February 2019

Conina said:
Most "3DS AAA games" or "DS AAA games" were AA games (or good indie games) anyways.

A more powerful system is no problem. Not every game has to use all the resources of the system to be considered "good" or "great".

Of course, which is my point. Games that were considered AAA on past Nintendo handhelds are now held to a higher standard on the Switch, which means more development time and resources are needed. Even Big 3DS games required larger budgets and more staff than their DS counterparts. AA and low-budget games are far from dead, but it is true that moving to the Switch will demand a lot from the AAA handheld developers. 



Oh absolutely, just look at how long poor Yokai Watch 4 and the HD Inazuma Eleven games have been delayed. And on the other side of the ticket, poor Compile Heart looks absolutely lost without the Vita to sell its low budget fanservicy RPGs. Its latest release "Arc of Alchemist" sold just 3,300 copies last week (its initial week) in Japan. That's not a port. That's a new retail release.

There certainly are handheld developers that can make that transition fine, but there is no doubt in my mind that there will be many hurt by the loss of 3DS/Vita development. And I believe that transition is why numerous Nintendo Switch games (Fire Emblem being the latest one) have gotten delayed, sometimes several times even.



Megiddo said:

Oh absolutely, just look at how long poor Yokai Watch 4 and the HD Inazuma Eleven games have been delayed. And on the other side of the ticket, poor Compile Heart looks absolutely lost without the Vita to sell its low budget fanservicy RPGs. Its latest release "Arc of Alchemist" sold just 3,300 copies last week (its initial week) in Japan. That's not a port. That's a new retail release.

There certainly are handheld developers that can make that transition fine, but there is no doubt in my mind that there will be many hurt by the loss of 3DS/Vita development. And I believe that transition is why numerous Nintendo games (Fire Emblem being the latest one) have gotten delayed, sometimes several times even.

Also remember the hybrid nature of the Switch, which means developers have to take into account people playing at home on the TV, as well as on the go, so balancing for mobile and home console style gameplay can also tack on a few extra months to development. I think the further we go into the Switch, the more developers will know how games should be made on the system, and thus have faster turnaround times for future titles. But the first two years of the Switch no doubt had some growing pains for some teams, even those within Nintendo. 

In general though, I don't think mid-budget games will suffer on Switch, not in an era where developers have engines like Unity and Unreal at their disposal. If you've worked with those, you should churn out Switch games no problem. 

Last edited by TheMisterManGuy - on 17 February 2019

A game doesn't need Ultra HD graphics to be fun. Any Switch game with 360/PS3 level graphics, but fun gameplay is a must buy for me. Reviewers kind of agree with this. Just look at Poke'mon Let's Go, Octopath Traveler, or Valkyria Chronicles 4. None of those games look like a cutting edge PS4 Pro game. At least not when running on Switch. And yet the Switch versions of those games still got really good review scores.

Last edited by Cerebralbore101 - on 17 February 2019

Ya know, just because a game can be in HD doesn't mean it has to be. Nobody is holding a gun to these dev's heads.



Bet Shiken that COD would outsell Battlefield in 2018. http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8749702

Not much at all, IMO.

There's a huge market for pixel games these days, especially on Switch. I can only see that growing in the future.

In the mid-late 90s, we hit a point where everything had to be 3D or bust. In 2012 it was HD or bust, but now in 2019. In both cases the fanbases eventually grew out of it.



I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

Zero. All this "HD games are expensive" is a moronic and untrue narrative that handheld fanboys like to tell themselves to justify their bottom shelf hardware.

Also HD =/= AAA.

 

User Banned By ~ PwerlvlAmy

Last edited by PwerlvlAmy - on 21 February 2019

If you demand respect or gratitude for your volunteer work, you're doing volunteering wrong.

Short answer is it's not going to hurt at all. Actually it's going to be a benefit because they no longer have to be forced to adhere to a machine with such limited abilities that the end product will always feel "off".

Long answer is such a question is ludicrous and that low budget developers love the switch and how dare you question the glorious hybrid's name!