Despite the dirty, dirty PR lies, Diablo III is coming to the Nintendo Switch. While that’s really cool in and of itself, what’s more notable is that this marks the first time a Blizzard game has appeared on a Nintendo console since the Game Boy Advance. The question is, now that Nintendo hardware is hot again, could we see more? Have the Activision Blizzard floodgates opened for the Nintendo Switch?
Obviously, the golden ticket is Overwatch. Previously, Blizzard representation had been quoted as saying Overwatch wouldn’t be possible on the Switch, back when the fever was just getting started. But now, that tune is changing. Now that Blizzard has really messed with the Switch, and spent the past several months getting Diablo up and running, that tune has changed. The earlier comments were from Jeff Kaplan, who used phrases like “min spec” to sort of imply the Switch wasn’t powerful enough. But recent comments from Blizzard’s Pete Stilwell confirmed it’s technically possible, but would need to be justified. It would be an effort, not a flip of a switch.
But while something like Overwatch would be possible, don’t start asking Blizzard for everything in its recent catalogue, particularly StarCraft 2. Stilwell spoke to the surprising port of StarCraft to the Nintendo 64, noting that the game had to undergo significant changes in order to work well on that platform. We’re several generations later, and StarCraft 2 is on another level in terms of needed dexterity and precision. Basically, the point here is that in order to make StarCraft 2 playable on any console, much less the Switch, fundamental changes would have to be made. That ain’t happening.
But what if we go further back? I mentioned at the top of the article that Blizzard had some old games published on the Game Boy Advance. Why not take many of Blizzard’s classic games and port them over to the Switch? Could a touch-based control option work for the likes of the original StarCraft, or the old WarCraft games? Could The Lost Vikings or Blackthorne get high-res ports? Why not? Slap the Blizzard logo on something for the Nintendo Switch and the fanbase on its own would lose its mind, and immediately throw money at it. That’s what Blizzard fans do, they don’t like to hold on to their dollars.
Personally, I’m happy with Diablo III. That’s my only real experience with Blizzard’s library outside of Overwatch, and you don’t really need to go backwards with Diablo. People love their Diablo II, but it’s pretty obsolete in 2018. People who want to play it are just hanging out on PC, which is totally fine and cool. But what about the future of Diablo? Maybe Blizzard is talented enough to pull a Panic Button and DOOM Eternal-like day and date release of the next game in the series on Switch, along with the more powerful hardware.
If Overwatch lands on the Switch, though, that would be a game-changer. Hi-Rez Studios and Epic already beat Blizzard to the punch by getting Paladins and Fortnite on the Switch respectively, but there’s always room for an IP as huge as Overwatch. All it needs to do is drop, and function well, and people will lose their minds over it. It won’t be cross-play, so drop some fancy Nintendo-flavored exclusives in there, and the fandom will lose its collective sanity. Just imagine Reaper dressed as Luigi, or D.va in a Daisy dress. The mad dash for fanart alone would cause an earthquake.