The Nintendo NX, the next home console and/or handheld from the 100 year old Japanese company, has had a ton of rumors swirling about it ever since it was announced last year. Nintendo itself has been quiet on the console, simply saying that more would be revealed some time this year. That reveal, as all new Nintendo console reveals have, is expected to tout the third party support that will come to the system. However, a post from the developer of indie favorite Ori and the Blind Forest seems to indicate that that support won’t be there.
In a response to a NeoGaf thread about the developers of Unravel having trouble securing a Nintendo NX dev kit Ori developer Thomas Mahler replied “This is actually THE singlest most annoying thing for every dev out there. We also talked to Nintendo and got absolutely nothing – I’ll never understand that. And just to be clear, it’s not just Nintendo, every hardware manufacturer is treating their devkits and their unreleased consoles like they’re the second coming and are insanely secretive about it to a stupid degree in todays time. It’s not even that the hardware isn’t finished (duh), but you could at least give me the goddamn specs, so we’d know what to build shit for!”
He went on to say that this secretive behavior will only hurt the system, causing smaller developers to miss out on the critical launch window, and deliver broken or unfinished games. “What’s needed to sell hardware is goddamn good software. With Nintendo not having any devkits out there at this point and probably even wanting to sell it in 2016, I can already guarantee that they’ll just not have any software support, since nobody can just jumble games together in less than a year. I mean, you can, but it’ll be garbage.”
We’ve sort of seen this before with the Gamecube, Wii, and Wii U. Nintendo has routinely had trouble with third party support for their last few consoles, relying instead on first and second party titles to deliver on fan expectations. Usually they promise more support for the next console, with a couple of releases hitting around launch, such as ZombiU and Red Steel. However, after these hit the third party support dried up. This likely is due to multiple factors, but a lack of dev kits could be one of the bigger ones.
Mahler concludes by listing off a few things that should happen for the Nintendo NX or any new console, like game engine support being secured, specs being given out and updated constantly, and the manufacturer offering a place for developers to discuss the system. “None of that’s happening anywhere and it’s just braindamaged,” says Mahler.