Why Red Dead Redemption 2 must be on Nintendo Switch

Chris Stead 19 October 2016


The Red Dead Redemption 2 announcement puts the Nintendo NX in a critical position where it must be seen to be part of the the popular gaming zeitgeist.

It has finally happened. Rockstar has set a release date for Red Dead Redemption 2 and it immediately puts the Nintendo NX in a critical position.

Tomorrow, Rockstar Games will release the first trailer for its next opus, Red Dead Redemption 2. Seven massive years in the making, and four years since the release of GTA V (the last game from the acclaimed developer), it’s fair to say anticipation is off the Richter scale. With Metacritic ratings of 95 on both PS3 and Xbox 360 and around 15 million sales, the 2010 blockbuster is rightfully considered one of the greatest games of all time, and fans have long been screaming for a sequel.

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But which consoles will it release on? The Xbox One and PS4 are a given, but what about the Nintendo NX?

The Nintendo NX will be out by the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 in “fall 2017,” which here in Australia is spring. That September to November window is the busiest of the year for game releases and the most pivotal in driving up install bases on consoles. Microsoft has managed to turn around flagging Xbox One sales this spring with a new model and some big releases.

A lot a mystery still clouds Nintendo’s next console, but what we do know is that the system is being built to break down the barriers between the Switch and existing consoles. A key requirement is to improve third-party support (which was pathetic for the Wii U, suffering a 90% drop) and to make porting a console title to the Switch as easy as possible.

With Red Dead Redemption 2 instantly becoming the most anticipated game of 2017, its planned launch six months after the Nintendo Switch's March appearance is a challenge to the Mushroom Kingdom. If Nintendo expects its console to be taken seriously by gamers – especially those that have signed up for the Xbox One and PS4 to the tune of 70-odd million users and rising – it needs to have Red Dead Redemption 2. It needs to have it day and date with its rivals.

It’s a test, and Nintendo dare not fail it.

History is on Nintendo’s side. Rockstar Games loves to get its titles out in every viable channel it can. It made games for the PSP when nobody else could be bothered. You can even play most of the GTA games on an iPad now, too. And the company has gone to the effort of porting across lower-selling games (relative to its own library, at least) like Bully to Nintendo platforms in the past.

Plus, Rockstar will take cash. Who could forget the $50 million it snared from Microsoft for two DLC packs? So worst case, Nintendo can lay a bridge in dollar bills to get Rockstar across the line and supporting the Nintendo Switch. It would be money well spent.

Screenshot 2016-10-19 00.15.37

Now ask yourself in all seriousness: if Red Dead Redemption 2 is revealed tomorrow and there is no Nintendo logo to be seen, how will it impact your opinion of the Switch? Will it feel like a serious contender in your mind? For me, if it doesn’t play Red Dead Redemption 2, then it’s at risk of being another Wii U. If it does, well hey, maybe it’s worth getting excited about its launch (in only five months!!).

As someone who would love to see Nintendo throw down with its rivals with the Switch, I sure hope to see its name appear next to Microsoft and Sony on that trailer tomorrow.

Currently we have 34 games earmarked for the Switch; view the list here. Will we add to it tomorrow? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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