Bandai Namco’s Making a Bigger Switch

Yesterday, I posted about the Nintendo Switch’s Japanese third-party support thus far, where software support has been underwhelming despite a slight improvement in recent months. Koei Tecmo, for instance, came through with a series of Warriors ports, albeit later than they did on Wii U. While Square Enix announced some good software support early on through ports and a new exclusive RPG, others like Bandai Namco and Capcom were mostly absent.

This happened because Japanese publishers didn’t have much faith for the system early on, according to Gzbrain president Hirokazu Hamamura, and were afraid of supporting a system that could repeat Wii U’s performance. Now that it’s a proven success, he noted that many of the mostly-absent publishers were working on several games for it, though most of them won’t arrive until 2019.

One announcement today shows how his insider info was legitimate. Bandai Namco president Mitsuaki Taguchi confirmed during a financial briefing that the company is adding more resources to Switch development, with the intent of quickly increasing their support for the next fiscal year (which starts on April 1st). He confirmed they’re working on three big Switch-exclusive titles that will start releasing between spring and summer of 2018. They’ve released three games on the system thus far, and Taguchi claimed all of them have done well. He also admitted that they didn’t think the system would be accepted this quickly.

The three games Bandai Namco has released on the system thus far are ports: Namco Museum, One Piece Unlimited World Red: Deluxe Edition, and recent arrival Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2. But their lack of upcoming games for the system was noticeable, as they only have One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 Deluxe Edition, which will release in Japan in December. This news means that situation’s about to change quickly, and that Switch owners and potential owners who enjoy their games don’t need to worry about their future support.

But what could those games be? They previously announced plans to release some kind of “Tales of” game for the system by the end of this fiscal year. Since that will conclude on March 31st, it seems this will either be a port or a spinoff — and given how all the spinoffs are made for mobile platforms these days, there’s a better chance of the former. It could also be a new game, and perhaps one of the three titles due for release, which could be delayed. Also, Dragon Ball FighterZ’s producer Tomoko Hiroki previously mentioned that a Switch port would depend on Xenoverse 2’s sales, and there’s a chance it could come now given Taguchi’s comments. Beyond those, ports of titles released on Vita like the Sword Art Online and God Eater games could make the trip to the system.

Beyond Bandai Namco increasing their support, this news means no one should underestimate Hamamura’s sources. We could hear more plans from other big companies soon for ports and brand-new games, especially Capcom. If this keep up, the Switch’s third-party support could resemble a Nintendo handheld’s more than a console.

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