Nintendo Reveals They're Open to Remaking More Handheld Games on Switch
The Nintendo Switch has opened up a whole lot of new avenues for Nintendo ever since its release, providing a very compelling and convenient means of playing both on the couch and on the go, and offering a huge library to choose from. It's gotten so big that Nintendo even put out the Nintendo Switch Lite model not too long ago, providing a handheld-exclusive alternative to the mainline Switch experience. It seems only fitting, then, that the company would want to explore bringing older handheld games to the system. Just recently, this happened with the release of the Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening remake, a from-the-ground-up modern remake of the 1993 Game Boy classic. The remake has sold exceedingly well, and proved popular with fans, which has influenced Nintendo's decisions going forward. Nintendo held an investor Q&A the other day, in which president Shuntaro Furukawa unveiled some of the company's insights lately with handheld gaming.
"There is a possibility to bring back titles that have previously been developed for handheld consoles," Furukawa stated. "However, within Nintendo, rather than re-releasing past handheld games because of the Nintendo Switch Lite's release, we are discussing more what sorts of new games we can create for the entire Nintendo Switch family. Within that, we are also considering past titles, but regarding what sorts of discussions are being held in detail, there is nothing I can say at present." To break this statement down, it's basically Nintendo's way of saying they don't want to do simple ports of older handheld games. Those are all fine and good, but the company wants to explore new ways to bring those titles forward, such as with Link's Awakening by completely remaking it. This could mean remakes, remasters, special editions, and everything in between, just as long as the experience is new and different in some fashion. Sure enough, Furukawa cited Link's Awakening as a prime example of his point. Considering Nintendo's entire history of handheld games to choose from, there's no end in sight with that treasure trove.
Most importantly, though, all of this news puts the Nintendo 3DS family of systems into a very weird position. They were already in a tight spot following the release of the Nintendo Switch in 2017, but the existence of a new, handheld-only Switch model makes it harder and harder to justify the 3DS' continued support (even considering as quality a handheld as it is). What's more, many are under the belief that Nintendo will unveil a 'Pro' model of the Switch sometime in the near future. Since the Lite focuses exclusively on the Switch's portable half, it would only make sense to have a Pro model dedicated exclusively to docked-mode on TVs, complete with beefier graphical hardware to boot. This is all backed up by Nintendo now continuously referring to the Switch models as the 'Switch family'. No matter what happens to the 3DS going forward, at the very least, it sounds like Nintendo is going to remain focused on bringing older handheld titles to newer platforms. If it means more remakes in the same vein as Link's Awakening, I know I'm all for it.
Since the next console generation is only a year away, remakes are also going to make a generational jump at some point. If you can take anything away from that, it just means that we're all getting older and time is crazy. If Nintendo does decide to put out a Pro model for the Switch, it would be right in time with the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox's 'Project Scarlett'. There have been rumors circulating lately about Nintendo looking to bring canceled 3DS titles to the Switch as well. While these remain nothing but unconfirmed rumors, their timing and background do fit with what Furukawa has said above. Considering the recent bankruptcy of Mario & Luigi RPG studio Alpha Dream, a studio focused exclusively on 3DS games, the decision would make even more sense. For now, all we can do is speculate.