You’d think that the appearance of Skyrim in the trailer for Nintendo’s next gaming machine today would confirm that, oh, perhaps, Skyrim is coming to Nintendo’s next gaming machine. Not necessarily.
The great open-world role-playing game Skyrim is not confirmed for the Switch.
Maybe it’s coming. Maybe not.
A rep for Bethesda Softworks, publisher of Skyrim, told Games Industry today that “[w]hile we are not confirming any specific titles at this time, we are pleased to announce our partnership with Nintendo and support of the Switch.”
This leads to one of two possibilities:
- Skyrim is coming to the Switch, which is why it was featured in a 30-second chunk of a 240-second trailer. But this is the gaming industry in which game creators will not announce a game, regardless of leaks or appearances in trailers, until they are damn well ready to announce it. You saw nothing. You assumed too much. You should feel bad.
- Skyrim is not coming to the Switch, and the trailer was performing an egregious...bait and switch.
Would a Nintendo trailer really lie or over-promise like that?
It seems unlikely, but here’s some context:
In 2005, Nintendo first showed off the Wii, then code-named the Revolution. The trailer didn’t show any games but implied the existence of a bunch by showing people using the Wii Remote to swing swords, fish and even make Mario jump. All of the concepts in the video eventually showed up in Wii games, except for one involving a dentist’s drill.
In 2011, Nintendo showed off its then-upcoming Wii U console. Nintendo wanted people to know that the Wii U, unlike the Wii, would be getting a batch of games for hardcore gamers. You know, games with guns and blood and such.
Really, that’s what you’re about to see here, despite the groovy, abstract thumbnail image:
In the video, top men from EA, Ubisoft, Activision and other game studios rave about the Wii U. Included among them is BioShock lead designer Ken Levine, who doesn’t promise any games, so don’t go blaming him for subsequently never making a game for Wii U.
The reel shows footage of several third-party games, including Ninja Gaiden 3 and Darksiders II, which came out for Wii U. It also shows Ghost Recon Online, Aliens Colonial Marines and Metro Last Light, all of which never came out for Wii U. Footage for some of the games in the trailer wasn’t even from the Wii U. It was from PC, Xbox 360 or PS3 versions of the games.
As far as Skyrim goes, it’s really unlikely that Nintendo and Bethesda would tease a game so prominently that isn’t really slated for the system.
The two companies seem excited to be working with each other. The only thing the Nintendo of America Twitter account even retweeted today was this:
Bethesda has been huge on PC, Xbox One and PS4, but nowhere on Nintendo this past generation. It hasn’t published any games on the Wii U, which means Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 have all been absent from Nintendo systems. Nintendo and Bethesda now working together is an important development, especially if Bethesda bring its beloved RPGs that can allow them to be played on the go. Battery life willing, a portable Skyrim on Switch would be cool.
It’s not just Bethesda that isn’t clarifying what it is doing on the Switch. Representatives from announced Switch partners Capcom, Take Two, Activision and Warner Bros. all told Kotaku today that they aren’t confirming any game details yet. We’re still waiting on word from EA, Square, Sega and Atlus, but expect the same. A Ubisoft blog post reiterated the old news that Just Dance 2017 is coming to Switch but made no new announcements about other games. (Update - 7:26pm: Reps for EA and Square also said they weren’t making announcements today.)
On the day of the Switch’s reveal, game publishers just aren’t saying which games they’re bringing out. For now, you’ll just have to make educated guesses about what the Switch will actually play when it’s out in March.