A huge complaint commonly shared between Wii U owners was the drought between games. Nintendo set out early to eradicate this problem for the Switch, and part of that strategy involves a huge push on glorious indie games, while simultaneously releasing regular AAA titles.
Indie games such as Celeste, Snake Pass, Stardew Valley, Overcooked and Yooka-Laylee have not only helped to patch up the fear of a game release drought, the Switch versions of these games have an advantage over other platforms due to the portable nature of the console. These high quality titles have kept us glued to our Switch in the short periods between releases such as Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Two Nintendo employees, Yusuke Soejima and Park Masashi, spoke recently to Entertainment Station (translated by Resetera) about indies to offer a refreshing perspective on the topic. Masashi said, “On Nintendo platforms, we don’t really differentiate between AAA titles from established firms and indie games. In actuality, they’re lined up as equals in the Nintendo eShop. We don’t specially promote indie games just because they are indie games, and conversely we don’t prioritize them below AAA titles either.”
Soejima went on to discuss the future of indies on Nintendo. “First of all, we just want to get developers on board with developing for our platform when they decide what to develop games for. It’s not really a ‘goal’ per se, but before the Switch really got going, when we would see trailers or posters at events, the platforms that would always be shown at the end were almost always other companies’ machines. There was really nowhere where you would see the 3DS or Wii U supported… It was absolutely a situation where we weren’t even seen as a practical option. It was here that we thought we’d like to have the Switch’s logo up there with the other companies’.”
“It’s a scene that emphasises connections between people, and that’s something we want to place importance on”
Park explained how they intend to use the Switch’s “international success” to their full advantage. “I think the opportunities for us to be a viable platform have increased. Going forward, we’d like to maintain our momentum, and become a platform developers make content for, from the beginning of development and as a matter of course, alongside the others.
“Looking at more long-term ideas, it’s not something just the two of us can do on our own, but there’s a cycle we would like to see the entire industry work to support, of indie developers being able to easily produce titles, get a real ROI from them, and then easily move on to the next title, with other (new) developers following their example to enter the industry.”
Soejima ended on what he considers a common misconception of indie games. “While indie games tend to be associated with the digital world, we’ve learned that as a ‘community’, it is actually incredibly analogue. It’s a scene that emphasises connections between people, and that’s something we want to place importance on as well.”
Yusuke Soejima and Park Masashi’s message should please fans and Indie developers alike, having mapped out their ambitions and their desire even from the Wii U days. Perhaps the disregard for Nintendo platforms among publishers was a strong motivation to attract them to Switch. Hearing the support they wish to provide for indies in the future is a real boost to the industry and provides greater hope for developers, ultimately resulting in more and better quality games.
What is your viewpoint on Indie titles, and their future on Switch and 3DS?