Nintendo and third party support haven’t gone together that much in recent years. But EA is willing to port “a game or two” to the upcoming Switch. Here’s EA’s Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen talking about Nintendo Switch at the UBS Global Technology Conference (via DualShockers).
“In terms of Nintendo, in their announcement they announced that we’ll be supporting with a game or two on that platform,” says Jorgensen. “We haven’t yet announced what game, but you should assume that it’s one of our bigger games we’ve been involved with.”
Jorgensen also said it’s too early for the mega-publisher to predict if Nintendo Switch will be a hit or not.
“We’re excited for Nintendo, it’s an interesting device, but I can’t yet predict how broad it’s going to be, and will people be interested in a portable device alongside their regular portable device that they have.”
It feels like EA is taking a wait and see approach to Nintendo Switch. Let’s speculate about which game Jorgensen is talking about here (cough, FIFA).
This shouldn’t be too surprising. Andromeda has been in development for years, while Switch dev units haven’t been out in the wild for that long. If Switch does take off, you can bet EA will look into porting Andromeda quick, fast and in a hurry.
Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2
I’m leaning towards no with these two as well. I just don’t believe EA sees any value in porting these two games over at or near the Switch’s launch. You’re not playing Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 multiplayer on the bus or train. Single player? Sure. That’s why Skyrim’s appearance drew a ‘holy shit’ from me. But I just don’t see EA fronting the money or time in getting these two games ready quick. If Switch is a hit, sure. But not right now.
FIFA and Madden
Which leads us to the obvious choices. Both are perfect fits. Both, in theory, should be easy ports. And both complement Switch’s local multiplayer push perfectly. We saw two Switch’s being used for four-player multiplayer. Madden and FIFA fit Switch’s marketing.
If I had to pick one, it would be FIFA. Much more global appeal compared to Madden. And there’s a technical side to porting FIFA over Madden. Madden NFL 17 is still sitting on the old Ignite engine, while FIFA is on Frostbite (which powers games like SW: Battlefront, Battlefield 1 and Mass Effect: Andromeda). I imagine Madden is the last holdover to move over to Frostbite and EA won’t want to keep working with an engine they are phasing out.
FIFA is the most obvious choice from a financial and development point of view.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
This is my dark horse pick. While FIFA makes sense from a financial and development perspective, PvZ nails the audience. I know my nephew would instantly want one if PvZ were on it. I can see him now blasting away at Plants and Zombies going down the road.
What holds Garden Warfare 2 back is its heavy reliance on online play, but the franchise meshes great with the audience Nintendo is going for.
To sum up, EA plans to bring one of its “bigger games” to Nintendo Switch. Odds are, it’s FIFA. In a perfect world, it would be Mass Effect: Andromeda. And it might happen. But don’t expect to be tackling a new universe on your way to work on Andromeda’s release date. It probably isn’t happening.