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In the mid-2000s, Sports Wii was the greatest game on the planet. If Activision, EA, or Ubisoft had released the collection of minigames, we’d have a dozen sequels and a reboot at this point — maybe an animated show on Nickelodeon, too. For better or worse, Wii Sports is a Nintendo franchise, so instead we got a sequel, a remake, and a decade of radio silence.
As a fan of the title, I was disappointed every time Nintendo ended a press conference or Nintendo Direct without mentioning motion-controlled bowling. But as an editor who’s covered this beat since the days of the Wii, I understood the business logic of it all. Nintendo has so many beloved studios that they could cannibalize each other if every series got the sequels fans felt they deserved.
So I waited. And I waited. And I waited.
When the publisher announced Nintendo Switch Sports last year, I had almost given up hope. I had assumed that if Nintendo wanted to take advantage of the Wii Sports formula, they would have produced another pack-in for the Switch. I was wrong in every way.
As the sales numbers (and empty shelves at my local Target) show, Nintendo didn’t need a pack-in game to sell the Switch. And or Sports Wii helped sell the Nintendo Wiis, the success of the Switch has the potential to make Nintendo Switch Sports a colossal blow. This year alone, the Switch has overtaken the Wii in terms of total sales, surpassing 100 million units sold. In other words, the potential audience for Nintendo Switch Sports is gargantuan. And should Nintendo Switch Sports do the classic Nintendo game, amassing huge multi-year sales figures, then the game will keep the Switch relevant as it moves through the golden years of its hardware lifecycle.
Once again, Nintendo has proven that patience is a virtue. We saw a similar situation last year with Metroid Dreada project that had been bouncing in and out of development since 2005. Whether the publisher is waiting for the right moment to relaunch a series, or keeping a project in development hell, the end result is the same: sustained quality than its peers do not have. t matches (and probably never will).
Until recently, the quote “a delayed game is ultimately good, but a rushed game is always bad” was incorrectly attributed to Nintendo icon and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto. It’s far more likely, however, that the quote was just a common phrase in the gaming industry, the kind of aphorism that helps creatives put off the accounting team for another month or two. I’d rather think that Miyamoto didn’t coin the phrase, because that would mean every major publisher in the gaming industry knows that mantra to be true. Only Nintendo has always experienced it.
This week on YouTube | Why has the recent crop of sci-fi video games all felt so… rustic? Do they have more in common than just a country soundtrack? Clayton Ashley investigates in this Polygon classic!
Five stories to read
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is at its best when it steps away from the movies | “Do I need another Death Star trench?” East this really pod racing? I know the Gungan side of the battle against the droid army is important, but is it a fun level to play? The answer to all these questions is no, and Lego Star Wars is at its best when it deviates significantly from the cinematic source material.
The MCU Isn’t Built For A Show Like Moon Knight | Marvel’s house style limits emotion and drama, holding back what should be a bold story for Oscar Isaac.
Unionization continues to gain ground in game studios | This week, BioWare QA workers took steps to unionize, potentially organizing contractors from the Dragon Age and Mass Effect teams. And Activision QA workers at Raven Software won an NLRB ruling, paving the way for a union vote in April.
Rogue Legacy 2 Easter Egg Is A Generous Nod To An Overlooked Gem | “FMF Fan” gives players free gold. But what does that mean?
Netflix’s controversial Eurotrash sex franchise softens in 365 Days: This Day | Is this the first movie to feature “sex golf”?
Five things to watch out for
Bubble on Netflix | One day you wake up and there’s a post-apocalyptic sci-fi parkour riff on The little Mermaid of a director of The attack of the Titans waiting to be watched.
10 recent Nicolas Cage films to watch | The star of The unbearable weight of Massive Talent has put together one of the weirdest and most enjoyable filmographies of the past decade.
Fact on Amazon Prime | Season 2 of this incredible animated show asks the question: is time travel the best therapy of all?
barry on HBO Max | The HBO comedy is back to make you laugh — but not too hard.
The 13 Batman Movies, Ranked | We apologize in advance for the placement of batman and robin, an underrated disaster of garish commercialism. Signed, management.
Plus, everything new in streaming: The Godfather trilogy returns! And 12 great movies coming out for streaming at the end of April.
Three games to play
Sephony | This 3D platformer was inspired by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Spyro the Dragon… and Tetris! Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Linux and Mac OS.
The iron oath | Polygon recommends | A mix of Darkest Dungeon, XCOM, and Divinity: Original Sin, this could be the next big turn-based tactics game. Available on Windows PC.
Warframe | Many years into the shooter’s life, its new updates still remain bizarre, fun, and compelling. Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows PC.
Free Game of the Week
The Elder Scrolls 1 & 2 | Bethesda closes the Bethesda.net launcher and moves its catalog to Steam. To mark the occasion, the publisher has made the first two entries in the Elder Scrolls series free. Now you can play the classic games that paved the way for Morrowwind and Skyrim without having to wonder if it’s a good use of your money when you could just buy Skyrim For the umpteenth time. Available on Steam for Windows computer.