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Topic: Will the Switch just become an indie retro gaming machine?

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Enoch72

This is my fear...

Don't get me wrong, I will probably pick up 'Shovel Knight - Treasure Trove' at some point (simply because pretty much everyone, without exception, hails it as a great game) and 'SteamWorld Dig 2' also looks like a fun game, but I'm really concerned that the majority of indie developers are just going to try and recreate NES experiences instead of trying to push the hardware and make games look (and play) like AAA (or at least aim in that direction).

I know I'll probably get shot down in flames for this....but I lived through the NES & SNES era's (I'm 44) and loved the hell out of them at the time, but I want new games and experiences now, not just a flood of NES/SNES looking games - and I'm afraid to say 80% of the games in that "Nindie Direct" looked like games I wouldn't even want to spend 99p on in the iOS App store!!!
I really hope this isn't the way things are moving forward.....

The main indie games I'm looking forward to are 'SnakePass', 'Yooka-Laylee', 'Seasons of Heaven' and 'Redout' - all of which look gorgeous.

I'd like more like that please!!!!

What's everyone's thoughts? Agree, disagree?

Flame away.....

Edited on by Enoch72

Enoch72

ThatNyteDaez

@Enoch72 Actually, I have to agree with you - to an extent. I'm not interested in the retro experience at all - the promise of new games are why I bought my Nintendo Switch in the first place. And yeah, there does seem to be more retro games coming to Switch than any other.

But the new and non-retro games are coming too! This is just a period of time in Switch's life where it's just about hitting the ground running. The retro games are there to grab all the people who like the "good old days when Nintendo was great" but also to introduce the kids to what their parents used to love playing. Because Switch needs to grab that crowd too. And lets face it - what's quicker and easier to make from an indie perspective?

However, we're also getting new, fun experiences too! It just takes a significant amount of time to make that happen since we're now at a stage in gaming where everyone wants stunning gameplay and glorified graphics. More so the latter than the former... And because Indies normally can't match that -and are usually retro fans themselves- its just that much easier, quicker and cost effective to go the retro route. But just give it a few months and you'll see things change.

I think that by December 2017, you'll see loads more games that appeal to both of us. Have you seen the trailer for Away: Journey of the Unexpected? (I think that's what its called - I might be wrong). That's sort of what I'm talking about.

Never take anything I say seriously. S'all you buddy. ;)
Mainly play on my Switch but I have 3DS, Wii U and PS4 as well.
Fave game series include: Pokemon, Smash Bros, Splatoon, Disgaea, Bayonetta, Dragons Dogma, Phantasy Star & Arena of Valor.

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mav-i-am

My 2p, Nintendo are giving the Indies a home for two reasons,

1, to pad out the library (often with exclusives)
2, Some (like 0.1%) of those indies will become fully fledged game devs, so having them on board is only a good thing.

Switch games list,

Legend of Zelda BotW, Human resource machine, NBA Playgrounds, Street Fighter 2, Super Bomberman R, Snipperclips, Overcooked, World of Goo.

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Ryu_Niiyama

The system has been out a week. Isn't it a little early for Nintendoomed?

Taiko is good for the soul, Hoisa!
Japanese NNID:RyuNiiyamajp
Team Cupcake! 11/15/14
Team Spree! 4/17/19
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gcunit

Disagree, provided that ports to Switch are priced competitively with the other platforms.

Look at the history of handheld sales - Gameboy and 3/DS. People like gaming in handheld mode. I'm seeing many people being convinced that handheld is legit by their experiences with Switch and Zelda.

There's no big reason why indies producing games for Steam won't port to Switch. But that doesn't mean there'll be a slew of ports instantly. But this time next year I think we can expect a big range of indie games on Switch.

Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.

My Nintendo: gcunit | Nintendo Network ID: gcunit

NEStalgia

@Enoch72 The title is a little misleading (unless trolling, but your post doesn't sound it.) The indie games are going for retro because they're indie games. That's what indies do. I've talked about this in a few comment threads, but for some reason everybody started using the word "indies" incorrectly, and Nintendo is a part of that problem with their "Nindies" which include things like Playtonic and Sumo which aren't technically indies.

I also talked in one of the indies threads that the reality about indies focusing on 8 & 16 bit clones really needs to go away at this point. I don't want it to die out totally, but too much of that field has been coming out of late and at this point that's all that indies look for.

Basically "indies" in their usual sense generally means "self-published" These are generally 1-20 person studios, many times it's the work of one person. These guys can't afford big 3D worlds and high end graphics. I would like to see them step up to hand-drawn 2D graphics like Has-Been Heroes. It still looks crude, but it's at least more serious than the 8-bit clone games. But these are games made on a shoestring budget.

What ALSO gets lumped into indies these days are something else. Beyond the self-published small shops, we get these big budget games, from big budget studios that have real publishers like Yooka-Laylee, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (NL for some reason missed the news that that's confirmed for Switch now!) Snake Pass, etc. They call these indies. They're not really indies. They're big commercial studios with a real publisher producing retail (if budget) games.

The confusion seems to have started around the early '00. Back in the '90's MOST studios were independent studios following the book publisher model of business. Your create a game concept, a prototype, as your own company, then you shop around for a publisher and get a deal. They give you a cash infusion to fund staffing and development of the game, and in exchange you sell them the rights to the game and accept only royalties payments on top of your up-front budgetary sum. They may apply managerial oversight on top of the project but might also supply some of their own resources. They handle marketing, manufacturing (for physical), distribution, etc.

Around the time of the early '00's, the Big Three (plus a few others) began a process of outright buying many of these studios. As the cost to develop started skyrocketing with increasing graphics demands hundreds of these studios went out of business as publishers became more demanding in contracts. The big publishers bought out many of the remaining studios, pulling them into HQ as in-house development teams. Many of them had their corporate culture crushed and their creative teams exited leaving nothing but brand ownership without any of the talent that created the games that were well received. (Raresoft is a wonderful example of that process, though they weren't fully independent at their height but a partial Nintendo subsidiary.) The book publishing model effectively died in gaming, and what replaced it was something more akin to the Golden Age Hollywood Studio system (1920's-1940's when they basically owned their stars like pets.) The big 4 made and produced everything commeercially viable, doing it all in house, with in house staff. The game either came from EA/Ubi/Acti/TW 100% in its in house studios with its in house staff, or it didn't exist.

Indies at that point were generally self-publishing small setups, not these large contract seeking commercial studios.

After the fallout of that industry shift, some of the remnants of fomer studios started banding back together, or the talent that left the old studios started forming new studios much like the originals. Playtonic (former Rare staff) is the example of that happening from the fallout that was Raresoft Yooka-Laylee is the result.

But for some reason we lump together as "indies" both the truly independent non-corporate, non-published little shops with these big commercial studios largely consisting of leadership from what used to be the big studios before the big publishers devoured/destroyed them as both "indies" and Nintendo is almost promoting that idea, which is wrong. There will be tons of true indies and they will all look terrible and old school because that's what their budget allows. There aren't very many of the independent big studios, but there are an increasing number as the publisher-studios continue to cannibalize themselves and more of their top-shelf talent abandons ship to strike it out with private studios again. It's sort of a self-correction in the industry back to the old model.

Ok, so that's the background on what your question wondered!

So what you're NOT looking for is "actual indies" - the little guys, the self published and experimental, and project of love kind of stuff. What you're looking for is the ouptut from these larger commercial studios that are looking to jump start the old book publisher business model in the gaming industry (which IMO produced the best games in the industry....it all got stale with the "AAA" stuff from the Studio System model.) None of these will be AAA in visual appearance though as you hope. The whole point of the Studio Stem is the cost of producing that. The company needs to be virtually its own bank. It takes tens, sometimes hundreds of millions to do that. Whether "indie" or "independent studio" (not the same but everyone seems to use the words interchangeably including Nintendo these days) the whole point of following that path is recognition that "AAA" graphics are something you're not going to sell your rights out to achieve.

The good news is there will be a growing number of the games you seek in the coming years as the industry continues to correct. And there will still be tons of the true indies that you're not seeking in even bigger numbers.

This isn't just a Switch thing, it's the industry as a whole. The pile of games on PS4/XB/PC from the Studio System obscures, a little, the dynamics of this, but all the same games are on those platforms as well for the most part with the same issues going on (I'd argue that this Nindie Showcase was pretty curated. You should see the cesspool that is PSN...)

Yacht Club (Shovel Knight) and I&F (Steam World Dig 2 ), despite their 32-bit appearances, are actually among the larger studios though. Not as big as Playtonic, but somewhere between the "indies" and "independent studios" leaning toward the latter. The game is 2D but the graphics of the latter are proper 2D, not 8-bit, and the graphics of the former wasn't actually a cheap project trying to build a modernized "what if 8 bit were today" actual design....that's actually a more complicated proejct than it looks on the surface. Those two are among the few exceptions though.

@Ryu_Niiyama It's the internet. It's never too early for Nintendoomed. Nintendoomed even predates the WWW!

NEStalgia

Joeynator3000

It's been a week, calm yer butt.
Also, Yooka-Laylee doesn't really count, lol

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Ryu_Niiyama

@NEStalgia I will never understand humanity's affinity with negativity. Plus Ki and all that. Ah well, just waiting on the day to end so I can weed my yard and go play Zelda.

Edited on by Ryu_Niiyama

Taiko is good for the soul, Hoisa!
Japanese NNID:RyuNiiyamajp
Team Cupcake! 11/15/14
Team Spree! 4/17/19
I'm a Dream Fighter. Perfume is Love, Perfume is Life.

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Enoch72

Guys......I am in no way saying "Nintendo is doomed", far from it. All I'm saying is, for me, the appeal (and in many ways this was how Nintendo spun it) was to have the "home console experience" that is also truly portable. I just hope it doesn't start to become purely the "home console experience" from the 80's....

Maybe I'm being overly paranoid, and you're right......I'm sure better, modern looking games will come. It is early days, after all ('AWAY: Journey to the Unexpected' looks promising!).

I'm just hoping that if we don't get much support from the big AAA developers (which, let's be honest, is likely), the indie's will step up and try and fill that void with quality AAA looking games - rather than only giving us NES looking titles.

There is room for that, of course (like I say I will be buying Shovel Knight).....but I hope this isn't going to be the majority of games moving forward.

Edited on by Enoch72

Enoch72

Silly_G

Mine's an RCMADIAX machine. I can't wait to play Dot Exhibition Plus+ and Blank Canvas Critic.

Silly_G

3DS Friend Code: 2578-3134-0847 | Nintendo Network ID: sillygostly

Enoch72

@NEStalgia That was a great and really informative read. Thank you.

Perhaps what I really mean to say then is I'd like to see more games from these larger (but still independent) software houses.

Enoch72

Enoch72

@Ryu_Niiyama I'm not saying Nintendo is doomed or dissing the company....I'm the last of my mates that still buys Nintendo consoles (and I take a bit of stick for doing so). I love Nintendo!

I was just voicing my concerns and wondering if anyone was feeling the same....that's all.

Enoch72

KirbyTheVampire

In any case, it looks like Nintendo will have pretty solid quality control for the Switch, so at least we'll be getting mostly good indies, even if many of them are reminiscent of games from the NES/SNES era.

By the way, an indie game coming to the Switch that I can definitely recommend is Stardew Valley, assuming you enjoy games similar to Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing.

KirbyTheVampire

Enoch72

KirbyTheVampire wrote:

By the way, an indie game coming to the Switch that I can definitely recommend is Stardew Valley, assuming you enjoy games similar to Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing.

Cool...Thanks for the heads up

Enoch72

NEStalgia

@Ryu_Niiyama The yard can weed itself. Natural selection and all that. Mushrooms do not pick themselves.

@Enoch72 Yeah, I think that's paranoia. It's a console launch. No console launches with a ton of retail games (well WiiU did...but it launched with old retail games nobody wanted.) The Nindies are there to fill the gap, thus the prominent spotlight on them, and in the world of indies...well...that's actually some of the best that's on offer, for the next few months, minus a few gems and minus a ton of trash. Heck Retail + indie is a lot brighter looking for Switch than PS4 was. What did I have there....Knack (which I actually liked), Killzone 4 (meh. It was an ok tech demo, them game wasn't memorable), and Need for Speed. Even the indie games weren't very appealing, and that was a holiday launch. PS4 was AWFUL for a year and a half. Launches are like that.

The Western AAAs are always a wildcard, and I agree most of them won't be around in big numbers (if I were selling a blockbuster style military shooter, I'd probably skip Nintendo too...my audience would be elsewhere), but Nintendo tends to excel in single-A and double-A titles. Then again, Nintendo classified Xenoblade X as "not AAA", so I'm good with that For commercial games I"d keep an eye out for the studios that supported 3DS. Mostly Japanese studios. Koei, Capcom, Squeenix, Sega/Atlus, Level 5 (Konami's back? Naa, too good to be true.) EA will dabble. Ubi will probably legitimately support. Bethesda, I'd love to see it if Skyrim goes over well but they keep playing coy that their next projects are different, and that they argued once before that always-online is the future of big games, so I'm guessing TES5 is going to be more of an MMO-type persistent world experience, and that won't work out for a portable machine. EA/Acti...I won't hold my breath beyond year 1 announcements. But I think Japanese studios will be all in. SMT5 and DQ are great starts. We'll have a more clear image after E3. Right now Nintendo's focused on getting the hardware out. At E3 they'll start shifting to the holiday 2017 angle of "look at all the games on switch!" And that's when the 3rd parties (both studio and indie) can make their announcements (it's March, every studio has their lips sealed until around E3. Battlefield on Switch would have to remain a mystery until the EA stage show!)

Indies...well they are what they are. I think Switch will get all varieties of indies. What's available from indies will be more about where the whole indie market goes even on PC than just what's happening on Switch. Indies & independent studios sell well on Nintendo, so they definitely try to get in.

I'd love to see indies move away from the retro-cash-in idea and try to be more unique. But budgets do make that difficult.

NEStalgia

World

It's probably not out of the question, but you could argue that the whole market is tilting toward indies anyway. AAAs are often either full exclusives or timed exclusives and Nintendo is about as arrogant as it gets when courting third parties, so I'm skeptical that we'll see much.

That said, I think there's something to be said for that indie market. A lot of people don't care to splash out on a game that's going to be updated with a new edition within a year, shed 90% of its value in a manner of months, and take less than 8 hours to beat. And those people buy indies.

Retro? I still think Nintendo is going to withhold that VC until they're sure they'll need it. There's no profit to be had in it, at least with their pricing structure.

So yeah, chances are it'll end up an indie machine but in today's market that might not be the worst thing. Retro will likely only come in any robust way if sales tank hard enough.

World

NEStalgia

@World Nah, I don't think it'll be an "indie machine". Nintendo doesn't spend that kind of R&D on hardware and that kind of money on 1st & second party exclusives to sell an "indie machine." And there's a reason they still treat Nindies as "other", apart from major games. Vita became an indie machine because it basically died on launch. There was zero commercial interest in doing anything for Vita from the start. It made WiiU look vibrant. Short of that there's a million Android devices including Shield that are just "indie machines."

Switch will have commercial retail, and tons of it. Just not most of the the Big Western AAA games as they're mostly a different market. But like 3DS, the commercial retail Nintendo tends to court and receive tends to be less big-budget, but more exclusive. You have 3 platforms to play Battlefield 1 (Can you tell EA and MS share DNA? Slap a 1 on the back of any product name?) on, but only one platform to play Story of Seasons on. I think Switch will have some (limited) AAA western third party, the usual assortment of 1st party gems, the indies & independent studios thing, plus a large number of exclusive A & AA games, mostly of the Japanese sort. Which is, lets face it, why Nintendo players buy Nintendo. I do thing some Western companies will have an interest in putting their open world & RPGs on Switch, at least at first, following the monumental success of BotW. They know the platform has a captive audience with an interest in that genre. Always go where the market is, and so on.

I do think we'll see a more vibrant market of "independent studios that everyone oddly calls indies" making a rebound, not just on Switch, but in gaming in general though, so I agree the market is moving that way, but not the 8-bit retro NES clone indies, but the middle ground of A & AA games like Yooka Laylee and Bloodstained. But that's not "new", that's a reset back to reality from the temporary one-track trip to the abyss that the 7th generation spawned.

NEStalgia

World

@NEStalgia Yeah, I think this is a fair assessment. I think you're probably right that it'll look like the 3DS lineup, and that wouldn't be a terrible thing!

World

mahmoodinho98

People , no need to fear for the switch , as an indie dev and someone who ported 2 AAA titles till now , I can Tell you power is no longer the problem for switch to get a AAA title , install base now is the problem ,if the switch sells alot it will get as many AAA titles as the other 2, why ???? A little secret from my work so far with the switch.... porting games from all other platforms is very easy ... thanks to tegra(wink)

Edited on by mahmoodinho98

mahmoodinho98

NEStalgia

@mahmoodinho98 Always great to hear from the inside. And that's the theme that's been repeated a lot by studios big and small. I know the Rime developers were going on about difficulties with the limited RAM, which I found interesting since that's the only studio we've heard that from, and it's by far not the most impressive game coming to Switch.

Bethesda was playing coy in the interview, tempering their Switch excitement with "well I don't think Nintendo has the sweet spot between console and handheld yet", but then, Bethesda's never been known for well optimized (or well tested) software

NEStalgia

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