Top 10 ports I want on Switch

The Nintendo Switch seems to be a hit. With just over a year under its belt, it has sold just under 20 million units – already over 6 million more than the poor Wii U ever sold in its entire lifespan. While the Switch has some impressive original software, the main drive behind its success appears to be its play potential. Gamers finally have a modern portable that feels amazing (and can double as a home console).

I own a Switch and I love it. I take it with me on the T and hook it up to my TV when I’m home. I have no doubt that Nintendo will continue to bring original quality content to their platform for the foreseeable future. So today, let’s not talk original content – let’s talk ports. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a video game port is simply a game that was originally made for another system before being “ported” over to a new one. For example – Bethesda’s DOOM originally came out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC before being released – or ported over – to the Switch.

All right, now that we have the terminology out of the way – let’s talk ports!

Child of Light

Ubisoft appears to have a weird relationship with Nintendo at the moment. Over the past two console generations, the companies have presented together as friends, but the Ubisoft library on Nintendo consoles has been…lacking. One of the first third parties to endorse the Wii U – the company quickly backtracked, cancelling a project and moving exclusives Rayman Legends and Zombiu to wider markets.

One game that the Wii U did receive was Child of Light. An indie-style 2D adventure RPG that was quaint and charming, Child of Light isn’t a classic by any stretch – but I remember enjoying my playthrough. It is a light-hearted, simple game that would feel right at home alongside many of the indie darlings already on Switch.

I feel like Ubisoft has some really low hanging fruit here when it comes to increasing their revenue on Switch. I could see this game selling really well if priced between $15 and $20.

Assassin’s Creed IV

And speaking of Ubisoft, let’s give another of their recent classics some new life. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has already sold over 5 million units – on PS4 and Xbox One. That’s right, just the remastered editions. Clearly this is a game that fans love and are willing to double-dip for.

If we’re all honest, Assassin’s Creed seems like a series suffering from fatigue. Few intellectual properties successfully transition from generation to generation (remember Prince of Persia?) and, until they add significant gameplay adjustments or just set a game in Japan, I personally feel like the future of the franchise is less than exciting.

So why not relive the glory days? Having a pirate adventure on-the-go sounds pretty great! If Ubisoft is feeling bold, they can even throw in an Assassin’s Creed Classic Trilogy collection as well.

The Mass Effect Trilogy

Hey remember that time EA released Mass Effect 3 (and only Mass Effect 3 – minus DLC) on Wii U? Me neither. Let’s all join in not remembering that event by enjoying the full trilogy on Switch. Mass Effect is in a bad spot right now. The once A-list series suffered a less than stellar ending in Mass Effect 3 before releasing the equivalent of a Disney direct-to-DVD sequel in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

The brand needs to rebound and EA has already released a trilogy package for 360 and PS3. The Switch can handle it, and the move would remind gamers of all the fun they had with the first three games…while not talking about the 4th.

I know I would buy it, but I’m also a huge fan. I mean – I did write a fan screenplay.

Soul Calibur II HD Edition

So, some time ago Namco re-released Soul Calibur II  for both Microsoft and Sony. This version was dubbed Soul Calibur II HD Online and featured both previous console exclusives Spawn and Heihachi. That’s great and all, but they missed the best exclusive.

Despite having a much small install base, Soul Calibur II for the Gamecube nearly outsold its PS2 rival. Why? One word: Link. Link fit into Soul Calibur II like Kratos fit into Mortal Kombat. Given that Nintendo is trying to bolster its presence in online gaming, getting a remastered port (with all three exclusive characters) would be a boom. Not to mention Nintendo seems to have a good relationship with Namco – working with the company on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS.

Red Dead Redemption: Definitive Edition

Let’s be real for a second. We all know that Red Dead Redemption II will never come to the Switch. I love that little system but it is nowhere near powerful enough. So, while Nintendo owners nurse the pain of not being able to take the latest Rockstar adventure portable, why not toss them a bone from memory lane?

The first Red Dead Redemption is an amazing game. In my opinion, it is the best experience that Rockstar Studios has created so far. And, since it never got a PC port, people don’t have an easy way to play it right now.

Taking Red Dead Redemption – along with all of its amazing DLC – on-to-go sounds fantastic and a profitable fit for both Nintendo and Rockstar. With Bethesda reporting solid sales numbers from its early Switch endeavors, there appears to be a market for mature gaming on Switch. Adding the original Red Dead Redemption would go a long way to bolster said offerings.

The Monkey Island Classic Trilogy

Once upon a time, LucasArts existed. Not only that – they made games! Even more unbelievably, most of those games were gems; classics of timeless quality and appeal. With the news that one such product, Grim Fandango, is coming to the Switch, we can only hope that LucasArts’ other classic adventure game series isn’t far behind.

Playing as a pirate is fun, Guybrush Threepwood taught me that. The Monkey Island series had three stellar entries before falling off into obscurity. These share would fit in well alongside other quirky games like Night in the Woods and Golf Story. I don’t know who owns the rights to these three games – but given that two have already been remastered (and the third is available on Steam), I can’t imagine it would be too difficult to get them working on Nintendo’s newest hardware.

Fallout: New Vegas

While rumors of Fallout 3 on the Switch have existed for some time, I haven’t heard as much talk about the other, arguably better Fallout game of the 7th generation. This is likely due to Fallout: New Vegas having a more complex ownership. Developer Obsidian Entertainment partnered with Bethesda to create the post-apocalyptic romp through the wasteland, and getting both publishers to sign off on a remastered version may take some doing.

Regardless, New Vegas is a gem among modern RPG games. Bethesda has already enjoyed success with Skyrim on Switch, so bringing in its old Fallout library makes sense. If we do see Fallout 3, I can only hope that a New Vegas announcement is soon to follow.

Alpha Protocol: Remastered Edition

So far, I don’t think my list has been unique. Most of these potential ports have been discussed on other sites at some point in time. But now, here is one that I am almost certain no one else will have talked about – because most people don’t remember it…because it wasn’t super great when it first came out.

Alpha Protocol was an attempt by Obsidian Entertainment to launch its own IP – back before the days of Pillars of Eternity. It was a spy RPG in the vein of Mass Effect, where the player took on the persona of a secret agent, and every choice impacted story progression. And, in terms of story – it was fantastic! I remember playing it and being really absorbed, loving how I was always a jerk…but I could decide exactly what kind of jerk I wanted to be. To offer a modern comparison: It is like how CD Project Red handled Geralt in The Witcher 3.

The problem was the combat. Released close to Mass Effect 2, Alpha Protocol felt slightly worse than Mass Effect 1. The skill tree felt unbalanced, with certain abilities like hand-to-hand combat feeling under-powered and useless in boss fights. The resulting gameplay issues turned critics off, and the game sold less than 1 million units.

BUT – I maintain that it is still mostly a good game. One that could be fixed with less than a year of work. It might not become a classic, but Alpha Protocol could enjoy a second life on Switch. Several other games have already seen similar revivals on Nintendo’s new system, so – if I worked at Obsidian – I would at least consider it. Great stories are timeless – and Alpha Protocol had an immersive plot.

Star Wars: Rogue Leaders HD

Once upon a time, a company called Factor 5 made some great Star Wars games on Nintendo systems. If you’ve ever played Rogue Squadron or Rogue Leader, you’ve sampled their work. Then, as with many game companies, they hit bad luck and, ultimately, went bankrupt.

What makes this story worse is they had a completed game set for launch on the Wii that just didn’t happen. LucasArts was notorious for cancelling promising projects in development at the time (never forget Battlefront III) and Rogue Leaders became just another casualty.

Which is a darn shame because those old games are great and, since Disney took over the franchise, there has been a shortage of quality Star Wars video game content. How amazing would it be to throw the fans a bone by releasing an HD version of a game that was already intended to be a remaster of a classic Gamecube title? Talk about minimal work for maximum gain.

There is money to be made here – Disney just needs to move on it:

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

I’ve tried to leave Nintendo games off this list. For one thing, I firmly believe that every Wii U classic will be on the Switch at some point because, you know, money. For another, I wanted to be more creative. That said, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker remains my personal favorite Zelda game.

The treatment that Nintendo gave it for the Wii U was superb so, I simply ask – bring to the Switch man…come on. I can only put so many hundreds of hours into Breath of the the Wild. The work is done – the game looks amazing – let’s just get a move on.

And that’s it for my list. If you’ve made it this far – thanks for reading. If you were expecting something more literary from me – sorry for this offshoot but I’m a gamer as well as an author. Don’t worry, I’ll have something book-related for you soon!

A couple of honorable mentions real quick: Can we get the original two (or three) DOOM games on Switch…and where is Resident Evil 4? I thought Capcom had a quest to put that game on every system.

Ubisoft's Plan to Fail on Wii U

Ubisoft wants to make money. I think everyone can understand that. After all, it is hard to run a business when you’re not making money. Recently, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot declared that Watch Dogs would be the last mature game released for the Wii U. His reasoning is that Wii U owners don’t buy “mature” games. Sounds like a reasonable statement. I haven’t seen the charts on Wii U sales for games like Assassin’s Creed IV, but I bet they’re not good. Unfortunately, Yves Guillemot’s reasoning isn’t as sound as he would like. There is another reason why Nintendo fans don’t buy “mature” games on the Wii U, and it has more to do with Ubisoft than anything else.

Ubisoft has released a lot of poor, sub-quality ports of “mature” games for the Wii U. Indeed, the company is playing the part of the sad friend while acting like a disinterested party. In examining the history of Ubisoft releases on the newest Nintendo platform, shocking similarities begin to emerge. Let’s take a look at some of the big “mature” releases, starting with the Assassin’s Creed series. Assassin’s Creed III and IV were released for the Wii U. Assassin’s Creed III was actually a launch game. Let’s look at how well Ubisoft handled the marketing:

Hmmm, there is one console missing there. I wonder how come no one would buy it for Wii U, looking at this billboard?
Hmmm, there is one console missing there. I wonder how come no one would buy it for Wii U, looking at this billboard?

Wow, way to showcase the release on a new console, Ubisoft! Fun fact: I could not find a single billboard or poster that advertised the Wii U version. All I could find were media-created mockups like this below:

AssassinsCreed3_WiiUWell, that was Assassin’s Creed III. I’m sure when it did not sell well on the Wii U, Ubisoft’s marketing department re-evaluated their strategy and bolstered Assassin’s Creed IV sales!

There's the special PS4 edition, did the Wii U get a special edition?
There’s the special PS4 edition, did the Wii U get a special edition?

It did not. Not only that, before the game was released – Ubisoft revealed that the Wii U edition would receive no dlc. That’s right. Hypothetical question: why would any gamer buy for that system, knowing that their purchase will not be supported? Ubisoft, I think I’m starting to see more clearly why people aren’t buying your games on Wii U.

But wait, there’s so much more! Let’s talk about Splinter Cell: Blacklist!

If only there were two screens!
If only there were two screens!

Again, before the game was released – Ubisoft declared that there would be no offline co-op available for the Wii U version. Strangely, online co-op was included. Well, I guess that makes sense. I mean, it’s not like the Wii U has two screens by default – making it a great system to explore co-op on. It’s not like that’s the case at all. Starting to see a pattern, Yves Guillemot? Good, cause I’m about to predict the future:

Watch Dogs will not sell well on the Wii U.

The Wii U is not even getting Watch Dogs until November, months after it’s been available on other platforms – but that’s not all! Loyal Nintendo gamers will be rewarded for the patience with – wait for it – NO DLC for the Wii U version! It is so staggering to understand why people would not line up to buy a crappy, incomplete port of a six-month old mediocre game. Man, I guess mature gamers just don’t like Wii U! Or wait – that’s not it at all, is it?

The real question is: if you're going to do such a poor job, why bother?
The real question is: if you’re going to do such a poor job, why bother?

Well, Yves Guillemot might counter that not enough Wii Us have been sold! Ubisoft has stated that they will release more Wii U games when more systems are sold. Well, so far over 7 million Wii Us have been sold. That’s millions more than Xbox Ones – yet Ubisoft isn’t threatening to cut off support to Microsoft. So much for that being a valid reason.

At least Ubisoft is not being foolish enough to sit on completed Wii U games, instead of releasing them to make a profit. Wait – they are? Not really seeing the logic in that one, what with this being the year of Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. It would be like if they said that animating female characters was substantially harder and less important than animating male ones. Wait they did say that – oh fantastic!

Ubisoft, if you don’t like working with Nintendo – just say so. It’s not like they are a perfect company, everyone knows they have serious handicaps when dealing with online infrastructure. Just stop all this “we’re trying to help” attitude and making outrageous statements like Wii U owners don’t buy mature games. Smart gamers don’t buy your mature Wii U games – cause they’re kinda sh*t.

Too bad it doesn't look like there will be a Zombiu 2. That game was actually pretty good - still could have used some dlc support though.
Too bad it doesn’t look like there will be a Zombiu 2. That game was actually pretty good – still could have used some dlc support though.

The Beginning of the End for Assassin's Creed?

In the last generation of video game consoles, certain series dominated the sales charts. Halo, Call of Duty, Uncharted, Grand Theft Auto: all of these were powerhouse series that continue to push out installments at least every few years. For video game company, Ubisoft; the last generation represented a changing of the guard. Prince of Persia, a video game series once wildly popular, was dying down. Sales had diminished greatly in the last couple of games and even rebooting the series did not prolong its lifespan. For Ubisoft that meant one thing: move on. The outcome was Assassin’s Creed. If you owned an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3, odds are you tried out at least one of the Assassin’s Creed games. They were fun an addictive, with interesting story campaigns and competitive multiplayer experiences. Like any cash-cow: Ubisoft made a lot of them. In total (including the portables), sixteen games have been made in the series. However, as a new generation begins: the changing of the guard may be upon Ubisoft again.

Ubisoft's original wall-climbing, death-defying protagonist.
Ubisoft’s original wall-climbing, death-defying protagonist.

Let’s start with Assassin’s Creed III. Many fans of the series regard this game to be a miss-step in the series. Indeed, reviews were not overly wild when the game was released. This was also the first in the series to be released on a next-gen platform (the Wii U). However, despite the lukewarm critical reception, Assassin’s Creed III did very well for itself. It sold fast and became Ubisoft’s biggest game to date. Financially speaking: nothing to worry about. At least until Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was released.

Assassin's Creed III marked a notable departure in both time period and setting. Ambition was not lacking in this game.
Assassin’s Creed III marked a notable departure in both time period and setting. Ambition was not lacking in this game.

Where Assassin’s Creed III was determined a step back, Black Flag triumphed; being mentioned on multiple lists for “Best Game of the Year“. It was released on two more platforms than its predecessor as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 were released in time to receive ports. Critical reception went up, platform count went up: sales went way down. 60% down according to initial estimates. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag did not have the quick start that Assassin’s Creed III enjoyed. The game has not flopped: selling 10 millions units since its release. That is impressive but down 2 million from what Assassin’s Creed III sold in the same time frame.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag continues to mess with the formula. However, gameplay remains largely unchanged.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag continues to mess with the formula. However, gameplay remains largely unchanged.

What does this mean for the franchise? Nothing… yet. Ubisoft blamed poor sales on the incoming consoles. Ubisoft’s CEO, Yves Guillemot, felt that the initial slow start was caused by people waiting to purchase the game on new consoles. Consoles that, in many homes, likely weren’t entering the picture until Christmas. True, Black Flag was not the only major game to hit this slump. Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 were also affected. However, Call of Duty: Ghosts received less than overwhelming reviews and Battlefield 4 had significant technical issues. This was not the case with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

New consoles: bad for business in the short term, but essential for innovation.
New consoles: bad for business in the short term, but essential for innovation.

Ubisoft may be facing another problem: fans might just not care as much as they once did. Assassin’s Creed III enjoyed quick sales… but those sales came mostly from pre-orders (people feeling confident spending $60 on a game before hearing any critical feedback… you know, morons). How many of those games were sold back in less than a week or only played for a few minutes before being banished to the shelf? Ubisoft doesn’t care about those numbers because they don’t reflect the bottom line. They made their money: the product was profitable.

Sixteen games is a lot for any series. Granted, ten of those are not associated with the major releases so let’s just say six. There have been six major releases for Assassin’s Creed in the past six years: that’s a lot. That is Madden like levels of production. Eventually fans will say: is a new one worth $60? They may have already started. How many unique, worthwhile, assassin adventures are out there? If Ubisoft is producing a title every year (not leaving much time for experimentation) are these games really so different from one another?

Every series can only survive for so long.
Every series can only survive for so long.

Ubisoft has spoken of ending the series, before backtracking on their statements. It is unclear just what higher plans, if any, they have. That must lead one to think that there is only one bottom line: money. For as long as Assassin’s Creed is profitable, there will be new games. That time might just be running out.

Assassin's Creed will expand to the cinema next year.
Assassin’s Creed will expand to the cinema next year.