The Switch has become the smash hit that Nintendo has needed for its consoles for some time. Not only does it provide some exceptional and unique features that Nintendo pride’s itself on with its consoles, it has taken consumers by storm by already totaling a near 20 million in sales. The Switch has become the must-have video game item, and developers have finally begun to take notice. For Nintendo, this marks an important change in how developers viewed creating games for Nintendo’s consoles, especially after the unique issues that were faced with the Wii U, Wii, Gamecube, and even the N64. Finally, after many consoles and years later, developers are starting to swarm to the Switch at a record pace.
One of the ways this has taken shape is by porting over older titles that previously were not played, or in the case of Nintendo, porting Wii U titles that most had missed. While the next new exclusive is on the horizon, these entries have served to fill the gaps in the Switch’s release schedule. However, there is one notable difference between these ports that has created an unintended side effect, they all include something a little extra. For someone who is trying to collect, or is waiting for the version before they take the plunge, these types of ports can be frustrating.
Nintendo is certainly not the only one following this trend, but it is without a doubt the one who is abusing it the most by including it in nearly every port. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was the first port to be brought to the Switch and added additional content compared to the Wii U version, mainly, a new battle mode (the one everyone wanted) and additional characters. The change’s made weren’t massive, but they were a big enough difference when coupled with the Switch’s portability to implore some to double dip. This continued with other ports by Nintendo, notably Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker including a Funky Kong mode and Super Mario Odyssey levels respectively. Even the upcoming port of New Super Mario Bros. U to the Switch, titled New Super Marios Bros. U Deluxe, is including a few extra characters and combining the DLC of the original to set it apart from its Wii U counterpart.
While all these additions are great, as a collector or someone who is waiting for the right version, this can also be a problem. It is reassuring when purchasing a product if you know that it is the final version of that product. This is especially important in a medium that is currently predicated on the idea that games continue to evolve as time goes on. You want to be able to say “this has everything” and “this is the one that I want to purchase” to be assured in the decision that your purchase is the correct one. And when you find the version of that title that checks all the boxes, you finally purchase it. But when you find out later that a new or further updated version has come out, that can leave a sour taste in one’s mouth and now creates a new question of should you double dip? Have that happen multiple times and wondering to double dip won’t be the only question; should you even buy that particular version of the game if its highly likely another more improved version will be made shortly afterward?
Take for example Hyrule Warriors, a game that has now received two ports since its original release on the Wii U. It has received an enhanced port for the 3DS that included additional characters and levels, followed by another port to the Switch that also contained a few more minor changes and additional outfits. When it first released, there was no hint of an additional version coming down the pipeline, so you would have bought with confidence in believing it was the one and only version. However the 3DS eventually received a port that built off the original, which then begged the question, is this newer version worth the purchase? Eventually, a Switch version would be announced, and now not only the question of buying it again exists, but should you even buy it, to begin with as there is now a pattern of the game being released. For both a collector and someone who waits for a final version to release, it can be troublesome trying to figure out just when the right time is. Worst of all, it’s not just Nintendo doing this, it’s everybody.
Several titles, either already released or upcoming, are all following this trend of releasing a little bit of extra content for their Switch Versions. World of Final Fantasy, a title that has been out for a few years already, announced it would have an enhanced version with new features in its Switch debut. Fate/Extella is another game that released originally on both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Vita, but when ported over to the Switch, came as a definitive version that included all the DLC sold individually on the other platforms. Fallen Legion, a title whose premise was based around having different stories separated by platform, combined both stories into one game when the title was moved to the Switch. These are just a small sample of the games that upon coming to the Switch, have opted to have an enhanced version of themselves be brought over, no matter how minor.
For those who are strictly Switch owners or haven’t had a chance to play the original, these are fantastic additions. But for those who already have or are concerned about which versions are the best versions to settle one, this trend is more frustration than benefit and can potentially lead to purchasing the wrong one. Leaving those who fall into that category constantly left wondering when they should purchase and potentially never doing so. New additions are great, but leaving a segment of potential customers left asking “when do I buy?” isn’t a great precedent to set. So developers, the next time you port a game over, I realize you may feel tempted to add a bunch of features for your latest version, but consider adding it to all versions in the future so some of us aren’t left asking which will be the one we should buy.