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With Sony seemingly dominating in terms of console exclusives for 2017, it was time for Nintendo to show everyone what their brand new console will be capable of, as well as what games will available and when to expect them. Nintendo live streamed their presentation from Tokyo today, and it was a very informative show.
Tatsumi Kishima started off the presentation by announcing that the Nintendo Switch would be launched simultaneously in Japan, USA, Canada and major European countries on March 3rd. Kishima went on to say that the Switch would have a suggested retail price of $299.99 in North America. Online multiplayer will be available, but in order to send player invitations and chat online, players will have to use an app that’s connected to the Switch. Also, online will be free, but only for a trial period after launch, and will become a paid service in the fall.
Another big and surprising development was the announcement that the Switch will not feature region locking, allowing players around the world to play games that are only made to be released for a certain country. Finally, JRPG and anime fans will be able to play all the Japan-only games they want without having to buy a Japanese console.
Shinya Takahashi, lead of software development for the Switch, announced that up to eight consoles can be linked together over Wi-Fi for local multiplayer gaming.
One of the major focuses of the presentation were the new Joy-Con controllers. As was seen in previous presentation videos, they can be connected together to make one controller, connected to either side of the console for handheld gaming, or can be held separately in both hands for motion controlled gaming. New features include the inclusion of Amiibo readers as well as button for taking screenshots of games, with plans to capture video in the future. The biggest revelation is that each side of the Joy-Con can function as an individual controller, essentially meaning that each Switch comes prepackaged with two smaller controllers. Nintendo Switch general producer Yoshiaki Koizumi lovingly referred to this as “sharing the Joy.”
The Joy-Con controllers will be available in either neon red & blue and the standard gray that’s been previously shown and will include wrist-straps. The controllers also come equipped with motion-detecting cameras that can detect the shape of an object as well as its distance. They also include something called “HD Rumble,” a feature that is meant to enhance the immersion of gameplay.
The rest of the presentation was devoted to the games that would be coming out this year. The first one shown was 1-2-Switch, a collection of quick mini-games that heavily utilize the motion-detecting cameras and HD Rumble of the Joy-Con. The main draw of this game is that it is meant to be played while facing your opponent, not the screen, and can be played anywhere when the Switch is in portable mode. It will be released alongside the Switch on March 3rd.
Other games being released for the system include Arms, a fighting sports game using extendable arms to battle, coming spring 2017. Nintendo’s popular kid-friendly shooter will be getting a sequel with Splatoon 2, featuring new weapons, maps and game modes, with its release being planned for this summer.
Footage from a new Mario game, Super Mario Odyssey, was unveiled today. The game features Mario leaving the Mushroom Kingdom and venturing into worlds unknown, one of them apparently being a very familiar, real-world New York City. Mario can also throw a living Mario hat using the Joy-Con’s motion controls like some sort of Italian Oddjob. The game is slated to come out during the holiday season.
Other games teased for the console include Xenoblade 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, Dragon Quest Heroes, Project Octopath Traveler, and Shin Megami Tensei. Bethesda also announced that Skyrim would be ported to the system. Cult video game developer Suda51 announced that he was working on a game featuring No More Heroes star Travis Touchdown, and EA Sports declared that FIFA would be coming to the system as well.
The most anticipated game, of course, was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Nintendo saved the release date of that game for last. At the end of a truly epic trailer for the game, it was revealed that the game would release March 3rd, the same day as the Switch.
Nintendo fans are no doubt eager to get their hands on the new console before it hits store shelves. Nintendo of America announced that players would get a chance at six different cities on six different days, the first being this Sunday in New York City. For details on when and where the next events will be, details are at the Nintendo Switch homepage.