Musings on Ports and Remasters on the Switch

At the time of this writing, Pikmin 3 Deluxe has recently been announced. And, I for one am excited about this. When the first two Pikmin games came out, I could count on one hand the number of people I knew who actually owned a Gamecube. As a result of this, I never really actually experienced Pikmin until I watched a ‘Let’s Play’ of the second game well into my twenties. I thoroughly enjoyed the Let’s Play, and the game definitely looked quirky, offbeat, and something that I would enjoy. It definitely captured the weirdness that makes me love Nintendo. So that definitely is a game that is high on my radar in the upcoming months.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe Cover Art (source)

Of course, at the time of this writing, there have also been a lot of rumors swirling around the 35th Anniversary of the original Super Mario Bros. These rumors have been bouncing around the internet for months now and have taken a couple of different forms. The basic core of these rumors has been “some sort of remasted compilation pack of Mario games.” 

The selection of games changes with each reiteration of the rumor. Is it a remake of the Galaxy series? It is Mario 64, or is it every Mario Game ever? But at the heart of it is “whole buncha Mario games, remade for the Switch.” I have mixed feelings about this. Some of the classic Mario Games we already have ready access to through Switch online. Others already have ports to Switch. And some I think should be apart of the Nintendo Switch online service. Still, I haven’t played all of them (notably Sunshine and Galaxy) and I know I’m not the only one. Except, there are several people who love a whole pile of these games. So if Nintendo remastered them, it would be a good way to celebrate gaming’s most famous mascot.

At the time of writing this, another rumour has popped up. Nintendo has been renewing the trademarks for Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Now, I know almost nothing about the intricacies of copyright law. Not remotely anywhere near my field. But, this copyright renewal has sparked the rumours for a remasted Ocarina for the Switch. And, again, this is a thing that makes me go, “Well, couldn’t we just get it for Switch Online in the near future?” Still, Ocarina is a classic and a new generation of people getting to play it is a good thing. But all these remakes, remasters, and rumours have got me wondering one thing:

Where Are All The New Games?

Now, ports and rereleases are nothing new in the gaming industry. This is especially true of Nintendo, as backwards compatibility has long been an issue with their hardware. Even back in the days of the SNES, we got Super Mario All-Stars, a dolled-up rerelease of several classic NES Mario games. When the Game Boy Advance came out, one of the big selling points was the several SNES ports that you could now play on the go. I remember my mind being blown seeing Super Mario 64 on the DS, and then later Ocarina of Time on the 3DS. Even things like the Wii and Wii U have gotten remasters of various Zelda games. None of this is entirely new territory.

Super Mario All-Stars (Source)

Except, It Sort Of Feels Like It.

I’ve heard my generation described as the “Nostalgia Generation.” In the course of my lifetime, technology seems to have advanced at a pace that really hasn’t been seen before. We see forms of media changing on a regular basis and have wider access to information than any other time in the past. We’ve seen all this stuff come and go and we remember it. To us, some of it doesn’t feel that long ago. And this is definitely true of video games. There are games that feel like the new kids on the block to me that have been around for twenty years at this point. There are a lot of games out there that we remember and that we adore, that we desperately want to re-experience or share with friends. The industry has definitely cottoned on to that. 

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most of the games that are getting rereleased are quite good. They are beloved classics for a reason. There are entire generations of gamers that haven’t experienced them. So, it’s good that they’re getting a new lease on life. In the case of Nintendo, several of the ports we’re getting are actually Wii U games. The Wii U was not Nintendo’s biggest seller, despite having some amazing games. Giving these games a second chance on a console that has sold almost 5 times its predecessor, is good for those franchises. Heck, I just read today that Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition has sold more than a million units worldwide in just about a month. Obviously, porting things to the Switch, given the increased player base, is good for business.

But Still, I Hear The Grumblings:  Where Are The NEW Games?

So many games on the Switch have been ports, remaster, or reimaginings of old games. As good as it is getting more games at all, sometimes we get tired of buying the same thing on repeat. With the relative dearth of first-party Nintendo news and titles from 2020, it definitely makes one wonder. Instead of listening to the fans and releasing Pikmin 4, Nintendo are remastering the third Pikman. What’s the deal? I know I’ve been waiting on news of Metroid Prime 4 since pretty much the release of the Switch. Ports and remasters take fewer resources than building a new game, but this is starting to make me wonder if Nintendo is sticking all of its ‘new game’ eggs in the Breath of the Wild 2 basket.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Cover Art (Source)

The chaos that is 2020 has shaken up the rules for how and when things are announced and released. We are already in Q3 and haven’t heard any news on something that feels like a hardware-selling big holiday release. For all I know, we could be hearing announcements about a new entry in fan-favorite franchise tomorrow. Wouldn’t be the first time they’ve done that.

Ultimately, all we can do is keep an eye on things and go for the games that interest us. Hopefully, you get the time to enjoy them, whether an old classic or something brand spanking new.