Since its official unveiling in a presentation to financial analysts in October last year, fans of Nintendo have been clamouring for more details about the company’s upcoming console. Their wait was finally over last week when, during a presentation on 13 January 2017, current President Tatsumi Kimishima took to a stage in Japan to thank the audience for joining him for ‘a detailed introduction to the Nintendo Switch hardware and software’.
For those awake and watching the event live on YouTube at 04:00 in the UK, it was revealed that the console would be simultaneously released in regions across the world in a little under two months at a suggested retail price of $299.99 in North America. The event drew to a close just over hour later with Kimishima saying that he hoped Nintendo had shown enough to earn the audience’s support, before the moment a lot of people had surely been waiting for.
The trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was as epic as we’d all imagined it would be: our green-suited hero coming to the aid of Hyrule and facing the Calamity Ganon, a primal evil that has endured over the ages. Wide-open backdrops consisting of sandy beaches, snowy mountains and grassy plains all brought to life in a gorgeous visual style. Sweeping classical music composed by Manaka Kataoka that complimented the graphics beautifully.
By the end of the video, both myself and my other-half were sitting on the edge of our seats transfixed. The game looked awesome. The same response was elicited from other gamers also, with Murr from Geek Sleep Rinse Repeat writing:
It looks absolutely beautiful. Just jaw-dropping in its size and scale. This is legitimately one of the most incredibly hype-inducing trailers ever. Seriously jaw-to-the-floor… I wasn’t convinced about launch pick-up until that trailer ended.
It was all about those last three minutes of the presentation. An hour of information about the Switch’s three play styles, Joy-Con controllers in various colour combinations, online service and various party games hadn’t captured our attention. But those final few moments during which we were mesmerised by Link’s world and the promise of adventure… they were all that was needed to ensure that many retailers had already reached their pre-order limits only two days later.
Well played, Nintendo. Well played.
Nostalgia can make us do funny things, including reaching for the credit card to buy a new console with a £280 asking price. Many people in their thirties have fond memories of gaming as a kid and that was the era when Nintendo was king. For myself, Super Mario Bros. was one of the first titles I ever played; and my brother and I spent hours working our way through The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time together when we were teenagers.
It’s possible that the Switch could be to our children what the original NES was to us, and there are probably many parents who’ve pre-ordered the console for their kids in the hope of capturing that feeling. But with a lack of titles other than the usual party offerings and games already available on other platforms – along with a price-tag bigger than those currently stuck on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One – it’s just as possible the hardware could become a very-overpriced copy of a Zelda game.
Yes, the Switch could be the first machine to truly combine a living-room-experience with on-the-go-play and yes, it has ‘inherited all of Nintendo’s entertainment DNA’. But the company has a long way to go before I’m convinced I need another yet another console in my life. Particularly when the one launch title I’m interested in will also be released on the Wii U, currently sitting upstairs in my stepson’s bedroom. As said by my other-half:
What? You mean we don’t have to buy a Switch to play Breath of the Wild? F***ing awesome!
With Super Mario Odyssey confirmed for ‘holiday 2017’, it’s highly likely Nintendo will release a Switch bundle at a reduced price just in time for Christmas. Maybe it’s time to take of those rose-tinted glasses and put away the credit card, at least for the time-being.