Remember that Nindies Direct? What's the status on those games?
Right before the Switch launched in March, Nintendo released a Nindie-focused video that revealed a lot of neat games from independent publishers and developers that were all set for a 2017 launch. Now, we’re four months out from that video. Let’s see if the games featured lived up to their release dates and promise.
The presentation kicked out with a money shot: SteamWorld Dig 2. The sequel to the beloved platformer was purported to release first on Switch in the summer. Now, we’re in the middle of the summer and according to a recent update from developer Image & Form, Dig 2 is looking like more of a late summer/early fall release and it will come out to PlayStation 4 and Steam shortly after the Switch release. A slight delay, but odds are it might still hit the loose window of “summer.”
The next games were a trio of titles published by Team17. Yooka-Laylee, which had a checkered past of being a cancelled Wii U game, was announced for Switch with a release of “very soon.” While Team17 offered no update when we contacted them, back in early June, Playtonic Games detailed some of the changes and updates to the Switch version. “Very soon” is a loose definition, but it seems like “more than four months later” isn’t it. Given the mixed reaction to the original release on other platforms, that might be for the best.
The other two Team17 games, Overcooked: Special Edition and The Escapists 2, were both announced as being available later in 2017. As of now, all seems on track. Team17 also provided no update on the releases, but The Escapists 2 was playable at E3 2017 on Switch, so if I were a betting man, I’d put some money on that being out sooner.
Raw Fury was the next publisher in the video, and so far, they have already delivered on one of their announced titles. Gonner came out on Switch on June 29, definitely living up to the “later this year” designation. The other two games, Dandara and Kingdom: Two Crowns, have no firm windows now and Raw Fury didn’t offer any concrete update when contacted. Dandara was initially mentioned as a summer release, while it seems like Kingdom: Two Crowns was always intended for a launch closer to the end of the year.
One of the other big reveals from this old video was the announcement of Runner3 being a Switch exclusive. Turns out the anticipated sequel is also coming to PC and seems poised to be out in the fall as was announced back in February. We saw this at E3 2017 and - boy oh boy - it looks like some more wonderful Runner goodness.
A group of games in the video all had planned release windows and hit almost all of them. Blaster Master Zero came out on March 9, Graceful Explosion Machine on April 6, Mr. Shifty on April 13, and Tumbleseed on May 2. The two holdouts from this batch were Flipping Death, which developer Zoink Games hopes “to decide [on a release date] this coming fall” and Shakedown Hawaii, which was first mentioned as an April release but has since had no formal release window. The latter was at E3 2017 as well and it seems likely that it will be out in 2017.
The final trio of games in the video might be the ones shrouded in the most mystery. Dating back to Pocket Rumble’s initial delay out of its March release window, I’ve tried reaching out to publisher Chucklefish Games several times for comment. The only way I was able to piece together any info on Pocket Rumble was from Chucklefish and developer Cardboard Robot Games’ Twitters. As of late June, Pocket Rumble was in development hell because of issues with online multiplayer performance.
As for their other games, Stardew Valley was listed as a summer release back in February and seems like it should hit that window. The Advance Wars-like Wargroove should be out later in the year.
So there you have it. That’s a rough overview of the state of each game mentioned in Nintendo’s Switch Nindie video from February. A good chunk of them are out (and mostly really cool) and a lot of them should maybe be out later this year. The uncertainty is a little concerning, especially as reports of Gonner’s last-minute delays and Pocket Rumble’s online multiplayer troubles crop up. Hopefully the development of each of these games are going smoothly and if they do wind up delayed, it’s because they wound up adding a whole lot more stuff and not because like some middleware is tough to get to work on Switch.