Three months after giving its new console a name and an upbeat trailer full of people using the thing in improbable situations, Nintendo took to the internet airwaves to fill us in on what’s really going on with the Switch. Here’s the skinny: The hybrid console, which lets users play games on its portable tablet screen or on their TV using the included dock, will launch on March 3 for $300.
A long portion of the presentation was dedicated to breaking down the new “Joy Con” controllers that attach to the side of the tablet or can be joined together to resemble a traditional controller. They’re also capable of Wii Remote like motion controls, include a button that’ll let you take screenshots and share them on social media (don’t let Sony hear you call it a Share button, though), and have fancy new force feedback that Nintendo is calling “HD rumble.” Nintendo also provided some concrete details about the tablet itself. It will have a modern capacitive touchscreen, as opposed to the old-school pressurized touch of the 3DS, and the battery will last anywhere between two-and-a-half and six hours, depending on the game. A new and more comprehensive online service, a la Xbox Live, is also in the works, and while it’ll be offered as a free trial in the console’s first few months, it’ll become a paid service by the fall, much like Sony and Microsoft’s systems, and include monthly games that are free to subscribers.
The livestream also gave us a first look at some games that’ll be coming to Switch over the course of 2017 and beyond. The biggest was Super Mario Odyssey, a new Mario game in the style of Super Mario 64 with large open worlds to explore. The debut trailer showed off several stages with distinct art styles, including the colorful Dia de Los Muertos-inspired level first seen in the Switch’s concept video and a modern, realistic city (New Donk City, to be exact). Also, Mario’s hat is alive and has giant googly eyes. Odyssey is currently scheduled to be released in the holiday season of 2017.
Splatoon 2, a sequel to Nintendo’s 2015 shooter hit, was also announced and is coming to the Switch this summer. Arms, a new motion-controlled fighting game that shares a lot of Splatoon’s vibrant spirit, was also shown and is set to release in the spring. The only original launch game that was revealed was 1-2 Switch, which appears to be a collection of multiplayer mini-games with an emphasis on screenless play, much like Sportsfriends’ phenomenal Johann Sebastian Joust. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a new, expanded version of what we called “the best Mario Kart ever,” will be released on April 28. Also announced were Skyrim: Special Edition, a Fire Emblem/Dynasty Warriors crossover, a new Shin Megami Tensei game from Atlus, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The show closed with a stunning new trailer for The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and the announcement that, yes, Zelda will be launching alongside the Switch on March 3.
We’ll be attending Nintendo’s hands-on event tomorrow and reporting back with our impressions early next week.