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DF Direct: Nintendo’s games showcase impressed – even without Switch 2

Despite an early warning that no Switch 2 news would be forthcoming in their June briefing, Nintendo Direct was still a satisfying summer showcase with plenty of exciting titles. We ran our own Digital Foundry Direct special looking at the announcements, with John Linneman and Oliver Mackenzie highlighting some of the most anticipated games – including new Metroid, Zelda and Lego titles.

While the video version of that Direct is available to watch below, I thought it might be interesting to talk about my personal highlight from the show, and perhaps more critically, how the announcements we’ve seen today might factor into an eventual Switch 2 launch line-up.

Starting off then, I was blown away by the Lego game: Lego Horizon Adventures. The original Horizon games – Zero Dawn and Forbidden West – have an unimpeachable setting, and it’s fascinating to see this translated into a world of coloured bricks. Most importantly, there’s been surprisingly little lost compared to the full-fat Unreal Engine 5 version of the game for PS5 and PC. High-quality Lumen RT reflections become SSR and pristine virtual shadow maps become traditional shadow maps, but the visual character of the game remains – despite the cutbacks necessary to get to even 30fps on Switch versus 60fps elsewhere.

DF Direct. Nintendo Direct. A match made in heaven, and you can watch the full video-taped proceedings right here. Watch on YouTube

Lego games have traditionally been some of the most faithful and fun franchise adapations, and it’s clear that this title has a ton of promise as well – especially on Switch where the visuals and gameplay are a perfect fit for handheld play. I’m looking forward to seeing how this lands later this year, and perhaps in 2025 we’ll see a visually upgraded version of the Switch’s successor.

Speaking of which, one big advantage that Nintendo has benefitted from with the Switch has been a huge back catalogue of Wii U titles following that system’s relatively poor console sales. That meant a lot of genuinely good games that didn’t find a huge audience, so Nintendo has been able to pull from that well and do (relatively) straightforward remakes and remasters to create profitable Switch releases. Going forward into the Switch 2, that well is starting to run dry, as John mentions during the Direct, with relatively few big or notable Wii U titles that haven’t yet been remastered.

With the Switch set to be around eight years old by the time the Switch 2 arrives – rumours place it near March 2025 – it’s clear that Nintendo didn’t feel obligated to push out a successor console in the same cadence as rivals Sony and Microsoft. That patience does have an impact on the games lineup though, as titles that could have theoretically launched alongside a 2024 Switch 2 will now arrive for the original Switch only instead or face substantial delays to wait for the new console.

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It’ll be interesting to see if any games that arrive over the next year bear any hallmarks of development targeting Switch 2 – for example, 30fps games from series that tend to stick to 60fps, or ones that run at surprisingly low resolutions but come with quite advanced graphical features. These sorts of compromises can be common to cross-generation titles, and as Oliver points out in the Direct, this could be one of the longest cross-generation periods for a Nintendo console ever.

We’ll stay tuned for potential Switch 2 titles then, and hopefully Nintendo will provide more information about the successor console, its capabilities and its software lineup as we close out 2024 and enter 2025. I’m cautiously optimistic that Nintendo’s strategy here is a wise one, and there’s always the possibility for both a faster-than-expected Switch 2 and a stacked launch line-up given the extra time they’ve given themselves to get the new console ready, even if there are relatively few wholly new Wii U titles waiting in the wings for their moment to shine.

That’ll do it for this one, but as always if you want to support the work we do, you can visit our Patreon. As a supporter, you’ll be able to ask questions for DF Direct Weekly episodes, get early access to non-embargoed content, see what we’re working on each week and of course join our friendly and insightful Discord community.


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