What’s Left to Port?
If you’ve read my last blog, you know that I am troubled by third parties porting old games/pushing late releases of current titles to the Nintendo Switch while still expecting top dollar. You also know that I have a ridiculous double standard when it comes to Nintendo republishing their own content and will gladly purchase the same game twice (or three times) for that sweet $60 and not bat an eye.
Throughout 2017 and 2018, we’ve seen Nintendo do this with a multitude of Wii U titles, which isn’t a huge shock since (as of this writing) the Wii U lifetime console sales were ~13.5 million, and the Nintendo Switch has already sold over 17 million units in the 14 months since launch. [Fun fact, the GameCube only had ~22 million units sold, so that’s going to be eclipsed soon, as well.] Most of these games have been enhanced slightly for better resolution or frame rate, added in some new content, included previous DLC, or at the very least were modified to not require the 'dual screen' experience. These titles include Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Bayonetta 2, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, Pokken Tournament DX, and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, to name a few. There’s also a grey area such as Splatoon 2, which is seen as more of an expansion to the first installment of the series than an entirely new game, and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (though it won multiple Game of the Year awards for 2017) was originally in development for Wii U and had a dual release on both systems.
Before getting into what’s left to port, let’s take a quick look at some of the numbers behind these ports. As of February 1st, Breath of the Wild had sold ~7 million copies on the Nintendo Switch versus the ~1 million on the Wii U (granted, this is the weakest comparison, as they shared a release date). Bayonetta 2 sold more copies in 9 weeks on Nintendo Switch (~400,000) than in the entirety of the Wii U’s lifespan (<300,000). Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has sold 9.22 million copies for Nintendo Switch in the last 12 months, while lifetime Wii U sales were roughly 8 million. Splatoon 2 has sold over 6 million copies worldwide, while the original Splatoon is just shy of 5 million.
Given this download of information, it’s clear that porting these lesser-adopted Wii U titles has been extremely lucrative for Nintendo on their highly successful new system. Most of the best that the Wii U had to offer has already found a home on the Switch, but there’s still a few titles left in the vault that I’d like to see make their way to my Joy Con while I’m waiting for a proper sequel.
Super Mario Maker
If you’ve played this game for more than a minute, you already agree with me. I’d love to think that Nintendo is working on Super Mario Maker 2 (possibly even for a reveal at E3 2018), but I would be perfectly happy with a port in the mean time. With all the portability benefits of the 3DS version, and the power of the more featureful Wii U version, this game, in any form, would be a smash hit. It reviewed well, sold well (comparatively), and provides limitless gameplay and customization. This game, in any form, is a day 1 purchase for me.
Star Fox: Zero
For a game that didn’t review poorly (coming in ~7/10 across most sources), this game didn’t sell at all, as it came out at the end of the dying Wii U’s life cycle and had a horrible adoption rate. This was the worst selling game of Star Fox’s franchise history, coming in at around 350,000 units sold worldwide. The worst part about all of this is that it wasn’t a bad game. Critics knocked it for trying something new and a learning curve on the controls and, while it’s no Star Fox 64 by any means, it took me back to the good old days of flying the Arwing all over again. I haven’t beat the title, but would gladly take another spin (or barrel roll) at it, given the opportunity. The Switch doesn’t have anything like Star Fox: Zero in its library yet, and the game deserves another chance.
Super Smash Brothers (4)
Just kidding. I’ll wait until the proper sequel drops later this year.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
I had not played a Xenoblade title until Xenoblade Chronicles 2 came out and I fell in love. The charm, the challenge, the gameplay; it was all such a wonderful JRPG wrapped up in anime tropes and excessive cleavage. I would enjoy digging deeper into this franchise, and X seems like a great place to continue my journey. It reviewed well for Wii U and seems to be a little bit darker than XC2. I haven’t so much as watched someone play XCX, so I’d be going in blind, but Nintendo would have their money from me once again.
Wind Waker HD/Twilight Princess HD/Skyward Sword HD (AKA: Ugh, just give me more Zelda)
I’ve gone on the record saying that Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was my favorite Zelda, and even with the accolades given to, and my personal enjoyment of Breath of the Wild, Wind Waker is still my favorite. We saw the GameCube original get an HD upgrade to Wii U, adding great dual-screen support with the gamepad and a sail that made you not have to play Wind’s Requiem every 9 seconds (#blessed). I would love to journey back to the islands of a drowned Hyrule and experience this adventure all over again in a beautiful, portable, HD port.
Twilight Princess HD is another title I personally own on Wii U, but never finished. I completed the title with full motion controls on the Wii but got distracted when I went to play through it a second time in HD. I only ever beat the game once, though I greatly enjoyed the darker theme of the entire game giving eerie Majora Mask-ish vibes. It ran and looked great on the Wii U, and I’d have to imagine that it would run and look great on the Switch, while giving new Nintendo fans a shot at arguably the darkest of the modern Zelda games. Also, before I get anyone saying, 'but the Wii sold over 100 million consoles and everyone who’d want to play it already has,' just remember: this is my blog, not yours.
Skyward Sword HD isn’t actually a title, and would be a Wii port, so it’s an outlier from this list. Nintendo would have their work cut out for them, as they would either have to remove the required motion controls, or greatly restrict the game to only being playable with split joy con. I can’t see them doing the latter, as that kills the entire Switch value proposition, but the game was *made* for motion controls, so I don’t see a complete controller substitution either. I’m guessing this is exactly why we haven’t seen a remastered Skyward Sword yet. This title is one of the highest rated Zelda titles, it kicks off the story from a timeline perspective (the 'origin story,' so to speak), and is generally loved by all who have played it. Based on Nintendo’s typical releases it would seem like this is right around the corner, but only time will tell.
Did I miss anything? Are there other Wii U titles you wish you could play, but you’re not one of the 13 million who bought this glory of a console? Are you like me and even though you did have a system, it was mostly just a Super Smash Brothers machine? Let me know in the comments below, hit me up in the discord, and as always – Game On.