Let’s face it–the Nintendo Switch port business is booming. No one knows that better than Ralph Egas, head honcho at Abstraction Games. We caught up with Ralph to ask him a few questions about adapting games for Nintendo Switch and his thoughts on the platform itself.
Abstraction Games > Nintendo Switch
1. You’ve been in the porting business since 2007 when you founded Abstraction. How would you rate the Nintendo Switch in terms of how easy it is to port games to the platform?
Abstraction Games handled the ARK: Survival Evolved port for consoles, including the Nintendo Switch. The team received a bit of a backlash for poor performance on the Switch, but ultimately that’s not their fault. As the studio alluded to in a series of tweets, Studio Wildcard is the ultimate decision maker in regards to that IP.
The fact that Abstraction Games was able to get ARK running on Switch at all is a small miracle. I wanted to ask Egas about the Switch version of the game, but understandably he said he couldn’t answer the question I asked. Unfortunately, that means we’re not going to get a status update for Switch performance of that game.
2. The ARK: Survival Evolved Switch port was a big success for your team, but fans have been less than pleased with performance on the Switch. Are performance issues being addressed by Wildcard Studio for the Switch version?
Moving past the ARK: Survival Evolved port, I wanted to ask Egas about his thoughts on the perceived Switch tax of older games. We’ve seen it time and time again when old indie games get a new Switch release, but at a higher price point. Egas says that’s really up to the publisher who can either choose to eat the costs or pass it on to the customer themselves.
3. In a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz you mention the size of Nintendo Switch carts being a prohibiting factor for development due to cost. Does this extra cost impact the final cost of the game and what gamers have dubbed the Switch tax?
Ralph has some unique insight into the world of porting games, since the studio has worked across so many platforms. I wanted to get a feel for how he felt the Switch compared to some of the previous platforms that Abstraction Games has worked with on porting games.
4. The straightforward phase of porting a game is all about getting it to run on the target platform at all. Did you experience any problems in this phase for any of your upcoming games?
5. What tips for mouse-based UI translation do you have for other developers who are porting PC-focused games to Switch?
6.Your first original IP project was a WiiWare game called Potpourri. Any plans to revisit the puzzle any time soon?
7.What is the most frustrating aspect of porting a game to the Nintendo Switch?
8. Do you have a funny anecdote about a bug that occurred during any of your porting jobs?
9. Any games you’d love to help bring to Nintendo Switch if given the opportunity?
10. What’s your favorite thing about the Shadowgate series and did you have any struggles porting a 30 year-old game to Switch?
I’d like to thank Ralph for taking the time to talk to me about porting games to the Nintendo Switch. You can check out Shadowgate and Pitfall Planet on the Nintendo eShop right now.
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