Nintendo rumours and the world of 'insiders' can occasionally be a strange, baffling place. While there's no shortage of legitimate leaks, some of the speculation can come across as tall tales, fever dreams, or even the potential machinations of Nintendo trying to bait and identify internal leakers.
One bit of speculation that just won't go away, depending on who you listen to, relates to 1-2-Switch — the Joy-Con-focused party game is supposedly getting some kind of sequel. Our response — along with others, we're sure — has generally been that of bemusement and finding the idea rather funny; our lack of even a 'rumour' post picking up on tweets and confident statements attests to this.
Which, of course, shows what we think of the original, and the lack of prestige associated with the other first-party Switch launch title. Your humble scribe recently rated the purchase of the game as a big launch day regret. Positioned as a showcase for the Joy-Con controllers in particular, it delivered in that sense, but was very different to the stylish Nintendo Land on Wii U or the iconic Wii pack-in, Wii Sports. Instead we had strange concept videos introducing a range of quirky minigames, and that was the crux of the experience. Fun in the right crowd in short bursts, but otherwise a disappointment — check out our 6/10 review for a reminder, if you like.
It doesn't seem like a game that needs or justifies a follow-up, despite insistence that it's happening. Its sales were relatively impressive, passing 3 million units, but that should be noted in the context of being a family-friendly launch title and having less competition in that first year, plus it was positioned by Nintendo as showcasing the Switch. We're not convinced that there would now be the same interest, especially considering all the other local multiplayer party and minigame experiences available on Switch. We've already had two Mario Party games, but is there really enough interest for a 1-2-Switch sequel? It sounds like Nintendo misinterpreting the original's sales numbers, but then again there are over 100 million Switches in the wild now — perhaps it's not such a crazy idea.
So, let's humour the rumour — if 1-2-Switch were to get some kind of follow-up, what could Nintendo do to make it a desirable must-have on Switch? Here are a few ideas.
Idea #1 - Make It A Budget Title (Or Even Free-To-Play)
Part of the issue with 1-2-Switch when it launched was that, like everything else related to the Switch, it felt pricey. As the Switch took off, clearly plenty were happy with game and accessory prices — very few people feel they didn't get their money's worth from Breath of the Wild, for example.
But even so, 1-2-Switch was $50, and not everyone felt the content justified that premium price. From a business perspective it was probably clever of Nintendo, as it did sell a decent amount to boost the company's coffers while Zelda did the heavy launch lifting. If a sequel / follow-up arrived a premium price, though, we suspect the online reaction would be negative to say the least.
As the generation has evolved Nintendo has started to show flexibility in pricing, even with first-party games. Titles like Nintendo Switch Sports, Big Brain Academy, and WarioWare: Get It Together! have come at prices in the $30-$40 range, setting a precedent for lower tier games that are a bit more affordable. At the very least that would have to be an option here.
If Nintendo was feeling spicy it could even dabble with a free-to-play model, with some taster minigames and then packs or individual purchases within the game. The company actually experimented with free-to-play a few times in the 3DS and Wii U era, and there are various free downloads from third-parties on Switch, too. The ice cube shaking minigame was an undeniably neat trick — we might have paid a pound/dollar/local currency unit or two to try that out on its own.
Idea #2 - Involve More Players and More Creativity
When thinking about how the 1-2-Switch style of minigame could work, one thought is to get more players involved. This could mean up to four Joy-Cons active at once, but also utilising asynchronous multiplayer ideas with some players using phones — like the Jackbox series, as an example. Bigger groups, locally and potentially online, with useful methods of communication / voice chat, can setup some particularly fun and wacky experiences.
Since 1-2-Switch, Nintendo has also gone further in utilising Switch systems and controllers. We've seen neat ideas in Mario Party entries, while Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics did clever things as well. We're all for features such as aligning Switch devices to 'join' screens and change the game; if a 1-2-Switch sequel was free-to-play or had a free accompaniment download like Clubhouse Games, it could open up some ideas that would get people talking and generate positive buzz that might stand a chance against the collective shrug a sequel would elicit from swathes of hardcore Nintendo fans.
We might be being generous with 'shrug' there, too.
Idea #3 - Make It More 'Nintendo', With Crossovers
1-2-Switch had a peculiar approach to presentation, with actors appearing in all sorts of brightly coloured rooms to demonstrate each game. This is not a criticism of the performers, they did their jobs admirably, but the tone was rather odd and it could have easily been a third-party game; it wasn't very 'Nintendo'.
If the 'brand' is to continue in some form, videos will likely return, but presentation can be adjusted. Whether character crossovers (perhaps have some CG 'demonstrations' with Nintendo characters), or a revised user interface and broader look, a lot about the game could be tonally different and adding in some retro Nintendo charm could certainly make us take a second look.
Or just put Wario in it. There's no game that isn't better if you put a Wario in it.
Idea #4 - Add It To Nintendo Switch Online
Look, just put the pitchforks down, and let's talk about this!
Nintendo Switch Online isn't going anywhere for a while, and we suspect the same applies to the Expansion Pack. When it comes to that expansion, Nintendo has been steadily adding more content to lure people in, notable especially for major game DLC additions. It's a mix of current / new DLC (Mario Kart, Animal Crossing) and older DLC (Splatoon 2), but combined with the slowly growing Nintendo 64 / SEGA Genesis library we're gradually seeing the add-on offer better value.
Would Nintendo put a new game like this on the service? It's certainly not impossible, and if anything is a candidate it could be some form of 1-2-Switch sequel.
Let's not forget, either, that the base subscription does have exclusive games, albeit specifically designed to encourage online play. Tetris 99 and others have been nice additions for subscribers, so the precedent is there for further experimentation on Nintendo's part.
So there are a handful of ideas, but what do you think? A few in our team still don't buy into the rumours that a 1-2-Switch follow-up is on the way. If it does happen, though, it'll be one of the quirkier Nintendo announcements of recent years; we can't help but be fascinated by the idea.
Let us know in the poll below and share your thoughts, as always, in the comments!