In an interview with Trusted Reviews, For Honor Director Jason Vandenberghe spoke a great deal about the melee multiplayer currently in beta. The game has thus far gained quite positive reviews, though everyone seems to be more cautiously excited than truly hyped for the actual release on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. When Trusted Reviews inquired if For Honor would reach the Nintendo Switch as well, especially in light of Ubisoft’s extremely enthusiastic comments about the console, Vandenberghe’s response was just as cautious.
The Director admitted that the thought hadn’t even been considered, as studio has been more focused on whether or not the game will work on existing platforms in the first place, in terms of gameplay and popularity. Vandenberghe said he wanted For Honor to come out on the core platforms and see who plays it. Once Ubisoft has established how successful the game is, then the studio will take a look at going to other consoles.
It’s a shame, certainly, but understandable, given Nintendo‘s rocky reputation with handling online multiplayer. However, given Ubisoft’s sheer insistence that the Switch is the best console ever made, it’s a little hypocritical to find the company suddenly so hesitant to put one of its most popular, new IPs on it.
Thus far, the confirmed Ubisoft games for the Switch are Rayman Legends, Steep, and Just Dance 2017. The line-up is laughable compared to the Wii U, which at least had Assassin's Creed III at launch. That aside, it's even worse in light of Ubisoft's obvious enthusiasm about the Switch. The company had essentially claimed the Switch would be the best console ever, like a gift from the gaming gods themselves. To not donate even one Far Cry or Assassin's Creed seems extremely odd after such high praise.
It could be, of course, be because of technical issues. Nintendo has a disreputable reputation when it comes to giving out developer kits in time for the launch of a console. A huge mistake, as the Switch pre-orders were filled mostly by those who were willing to shell out the money for the Mario and Zelda games. If receiving the dev kits too late isn't the issue, then perhaps it is Nintendo's continued failure to properly support online multiplayer. Especially for a game like For Honor, which is based entirely online and relies heavily on at least a local network of gamers. However, the Switch does seem support this. I think the technology needed could be there, Perhaps Ubisoft is just being extremely cautious after the disaster that was the Wii U.
Still, this sudden surge of caution right before the Switch's launch says a lot more than Ubisoft's original prodigal son speech. In addition to EA's bored presentation of FIFA 18 for the Switch, publishers are clearly taking a giant step back and waiting for Switch to actually succeed before making promises. I don't know if Ubisoft will put its money where its mouth is, but I certainly hope so. The Switch has a lot of potential, and there is not doubt that it will be the games that sell it. There needs to be more than Zelda and Mario to reach out to a wider range of gamers, and those games need to be from third parties.
Perhaps Ubisoft is backing off because of technical issues. Maybe the company doesn't actually plan on supporting the Switch as it does the PS4 and Xbox. Whatever the case, the Switch needs support from huge publishers like Ubisoft. Backing off like this isn't a good sign. Especially when Ubisoft was hyping up the console months before its launch.