Nintendo's pretty tight with Indies at present, but it wasn't always that way. During the Wii era, the company made some odd choices which pushed smaller developers away, and while attempts were made to patch things up on Wii U and 3DS, issues with the eShop submission process continued to be a stumbling block.
However, Image & Form's community manager Julius Guldbog thinks that Nintendo has finally caught up with the rest of the industry and is now perfectly pitched to ride a wave of indie goodness with the Switch.
Speaking to MCV, Guldbog said:
With the Wii U and 3DS, [Nintendo] started to realise that they had to get with the times. Publishing for Nintendo consoles has been, in the past, not a nightmare, but pretty close. They make sure every QA gate is good enough. It takes months, and you have to do that for every region, and if you fail, it takes even longer. You have to get a new slot, and release dates are pushed back.
But with the Switch, we only have to make one version and only have one launch – and that's one version for the entire world, so we'll have the same version in the US, Europe and a little bit later, Japan and China as well. That saves so much work. It means we can do the translations ourselves, we don't have to have a new publisher for one specific region - it's going to be so much easier. They're basically taking the Steam or App Store approach: one version of the game for the entire world.
Guldbog also touched upon how open and approachable Nintendo is these days, and how active it is in securing support from indie developers:
From what I've seen, just using Nintendo's publishing tools to set up everything from sales to getting the name right on the eShop, everything like that, it's much more streamlined and more modern. Even Nintendo's approach to how they get new indies to join the Switch family – nowadays, they see a good game at a convention and they just walk straight up to them and ask them to develop for Switch. From what I know, they've never done that before, so I think they are getting with the times. They know more than anyone what they did wrong with the Wii U, and 3DS in some cases as well, and they really want to fix that.
Finally, the topic switched (no pun intended) to the comparison between Nintendo's system and its rivals. Guldbog reveals that in terms of development effort, the Switch is "up there" with Sony and Microsoft's machines, and while it's not quite as powerful, it's very close in terms of ability:
We've had no [development] problems at all. It's up there with the PS4 and Xbox One. PC will always be the easiest, of course, but [Switch] is up there with the big leagues, which is really good.
Switch isn't as powerful as the PS4 or Xbox One, but it's pretty darn close. Just look at Snake Pass or Fast RMX. Snake Pass is extra interesting, because look at how good the graphics are compared to the PS4 version. I think if developers put their mind to it and optimise the game for the Switch, it can run anything.
Image & Form is currently hard at work on SteamWorld Dig 2 for the Switch eShop.