First announced back in 2018 before dropping onto Steam Early Access in 2020 and later PS5, Temtem garnered a lot of well-deserved attention as a worthy challenger to Pokémon’s tried-and-true formula, with a focus on developing the online social and competitive elements of Game Freak's series. Lucky for us Nintendo fans, Madrid-based developer Crema confirmed that the monster-battling MMO will also land on the Switch on 6th September with its 1.0 launch across all platforms.
“There were a lot of sacrifices and there were a lot of difficulties in bringing Temtem to Switch,” said Game Director Guillermo Andrades via email. The humble, ageing little Switch celebrated its fifth birthday back in March and hardcore Nintendo fans await some word — any word -- of a more powerful successor, we thought it prudent to ask how the game is stacking up on Switch compared to the more powerful hardware it was developed for.
“The Switch port has always been in our heads, ever since we started Temtem, so luckily we were prepared and didn't face an impossible scenario, but Temtem has been growing a lot over the years and it has become a massive game with a lot of content and different features.”
Indeed, Temtem raised nearly $600,000 USD on Kickstarter, which has led to a wealth of features being added. Currently, there are over 160 obtainable Temtem with their own colourful designs and animations. A full story campaign along with a healthy amount of side quests promise to keep players engaged when exploring the Airborne Archipelago where Temtem takes place. A wealth of customization options set players’ appearances apart from one another in its fully online world. Add in co-op with friends, player housing, and competitive player versus player battles, and the amount of content Crema has packed in for Temtem’s launch ensures early adopters won’t lack for things to do.
"We’ve changed almost every system [from Pokémon] and iterated them a lot to ensure our goal with competitive battles is met."
Andrades emphasises that it is this online functionality that sets Temtem apart from similar monster-battling adventures. “In Temtem you are always in that online world [with] everyone else that is playing too. This streamlines every multiplayer activity and the interactions you can do with the rest of the players, and impacts your whole experience with the game.”
There are no link cables here to fiddle with, or menus to open to turn on online functionality. Temtem aims for a much more seamless approach to player interactivity.
“Another huge focus for us has been in the competitive battles. We’ve always pushed for a more competitive and skill-based approach for PvP battles, [so] we’ve removed all the random factors from them,” Andrades elaborated. All tamer battles in Temtem are two-on-two, adding a layer of strategy for which opposing Tem to attack and when, there are no random factors such as Critical Hits and Freeze chances, and there is also a stamina system for attacks. “We’ve changed almost every system [from Pokémon] and iterated them a lot to ensure our goal with competitive battles is met.”
These online functions seem like a tall task to manage on the Switch. We asked Andrades to elaborate on the difficulties of porting to Nintendo’s hardware.
“Originally our plan was to render at 30fps outside of battles and at 60fps inside battles. This made sense at that time because battles are a much more controlled scenario (only four Tems and two characters, small scenarios, etc). However, over the development, we've been doing better, bigger, and more complex technique animations. Very soon during the optimization process, we noticed that we would need to either tweak all the animations or cap battles at 30fps (which we ended up doing). The battles still feel great at 30fps so it is not a huge sacrifice but it is one of the many things we had to ‘cut’.
“I think one of the biggest [difficulties with the Switch] has been handling the low amount of available memory compared to other platforms,” Andrades continued. “We've spent a lot of time optimising that and making sure that almost everything in the game gets dynamically loaded so the memory management is always in check.”
This is great news for those who want to play Temtem on Switch – the experience will play functionally the same with downgrades in frame rates and resolution we’ve come to expect from Switch ports. Even the on-screen player count, Andrades assured us, will remain similar across all platforms. As Temtem is an always online game, it was important for him and his team to maintain that feel of the world being alive, filled with other tamers.
“I'm very proud of the whole port,” Andrades concluded. “The team has made an amazing achievement in bringing the game to Switch while maintaining its essence.”
Stay tuned to Nintendo Life for more on Temtem before its September 6th launch. Will you be beginning your Temtem adventure along with us? Let us know!