Over the holidays, we’ll be re-publishing some of our best features, interviews, opinions and views from 12 months ago. from employees and contributors alike – articles that we feel represent the best of the year 2021. In them you’ll find our usual blend of thoughtfulness, vanity, nostalgia specialize, nostalgia for gaming, and – of course – enthusiasm for all things Nintendo. Interesting!
Any longtime Nintendo fan knows that the company’s third-party publishing partners can be good weather buddies. Many of the biggest franchises in the industry have been absent from Nintendo hardware for quite a long time. In some cases, Nintendo’s bold decisions towards cartridges and standard-definition gaming have cost them major entries in the series once synonymous with their brand.
However, thanks to the popularity of the Switch, some of the most notorious games that can’t be ignored by Nintendo hardware have returned home. Square’s Ambition Final Fantasy VII was once too big to fit on an N64 trolley, a factor that pushed longtime Nintendo partners to opt for optical disc media on Sony’s PlayStation. This move seems to have been told by Nintendo to Square “never come back.”
And yet, in 2019, Final Fantasy VII has arrived on Nintendo hardware — and on a cartridge, nothing less! Early enough, Grand Theft Auto III and Heart Kingdom will also be there; the second one is not on the cartridge, but it is one article in another time.
Many popular games have omitted Nintendo hardware entirely, but here are eight of the most conspicuous absences in history—games we should be playing on Switch right now.
Nights Into Dreams (1996) • Saturn Sega
If the Sega Saturn were only remembered in one game, it would Night into a dream. Nights is a blow to a short-lived 32-bit console, a colorful hovering game with dynamic music and even an artificial live system, all built around around a fancy new analog bar by Sega.
Nights is a lofty achievement for Sonic creators Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima, a first look at the remarkable range and skill set at Sonic Team that will blossom on the Dreamcast. It was so impressive that Shigeru Miyamoto said he wished he could.
When Sega became third-party in 2001, its IPs went in all directions, with Nights getting a port for the PS2 and a remaster for the HD console. Nintendo fans already have a Wii-exclusive sequel Nights: Journey of Dreams, but the original high-flying action never landed on Nintendo hardware.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997) • Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn
Castlevania’s roots are tied to Nintendo. While the original 1986 NES game was ported to other 8-bit platforms at the time, the next three numbered entries were Nintendo exclusives. Count Dracula and the Belmonts is well represented on Nintendo’s home and handheld consoles, let’s avoid one major omission: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
Originally inspired by The Legend of Zelda-Not Metroid, as you might think — Konami and designer Koji Igarashi soon brought their budding “Metroidvania” recipe to the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. But Alucard’s big foray on the PlayStation and Saturn bypassed Nintendo—even as the game was remade for the PSP, Xbox 360, PS4, and even smartphones.
Mega Man Legends 2 (2000) (and The Misadventures of Tron Bonne) • Sony PlayStation
Everyone was using 3D in the late 90s, and Mega Man was no different. After six spin-offs on the NES and the revamped Mega Man X series on the SNES, Capcom packaged Blue Bomber for port to the PlayStation. In 1997, they developed polygons with Mega Man Legends. While Legends has fans, it’s clear that Capcom and producer Keiji Inafune had to go far beyond the series’ origins to adapt the classic run and gun game into 3D.
However, Legends was successful enough to create a sequel, Mega Man Legends 2and a prequel, The Wrong Inventions of Tron Bonne. Nintendo saw a version of Mega Man Legends, renamed Mega Man 64, in 2000, although it was not as well received as the PlayStation original. At that point, Capcom gave up on porting the other two games.
Strangely, it was canceled Mega Man Legends 3 was originally developed for the Nintendo 3DS in 2010.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001) • PlayStation 2
Metal Gear is often thought of as a Sony line, even if the franchise hasn’t been exclusive to Sony hardware for many years. But Konami’s tactical espionage has also come to Nintendo in a few odd circumstances.
The NES has a weird port of the 1987 original Metal gears swapped the standard mech with a supercomputer, followed by a non-canon sequel Snake’s Revenge. There are two versions of Metal Gear Solid on the Nintendo console: a completely unique version Game Boy Color set in an alternate timeline (titled Metal Gear: Ghost Babel in Japan) and a GameCube exclusive remake voiced by Silicon Knights Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.
Twin Snakes runs on a similar engine to Metal Gear Solid 2, but Konami will completely skip that game in favor of Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D to the 3DS.
Mario Kart Arcade GP (2005) • Arcade
Technically, this to be released on Nintendo hardware — specifically, the Triforce arcade board co-developed by Nintendo, Sega, and Namco. But unlike other Nintendo arcade titles, Mario Kart Arcade GP never seen a publisher.
This series of arcade racing games is actually a unique spin-off of the Mario Kart series, featuring tracks, items, and even crossover characters from the Pac-Man and Tamagotchi series. The cabinet also includes a camera so players can snap themselves with Mario’s hat and mustache.
Nintendo isn’t afraid to bring their arcade games home. F-Zero AX, which also runs on the Triforce board, is a sister game to the GameCube called F-Zero GX (and can even be found in that game if you have Action Replay). And of course, games like Pokken Tournament and Cruise’n Blast continues to bring the arcade experience to traditional consoles.
Come on, Nintendo, at least let us race through Diamond City in Mario Kart 9.
Vanquish (2010) • Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
PlatinumGames was only three years old in 2010, but Capcom’s ex-developers supergroup studio is off to a great start with wild and powerful action titles like Hideki Kamiya. Bayonetta and Shinji Mikami’s Vanquish.
Sega was Platinum’s original partner, and they published the studio’s first four games, including Crazy world for Wii, Endless space for DS. Vanquish is Mikami’s only game for Platinum — a non-stop third-person shooter that has helped define the studio’s signature style. Mikami left to found Tango GameWorks shortly after.
Vanquish and Bayonetta were re-released in their 10th anniversary bundle in 2020, but oddly enough it missed the Switch. Hopefully Nintendo’s close relationship with Platinum will change that.
Dark Souls II (2014) • Xbox 360, PS3, PC (and Dark Souls III)
It’s highly unlikely that Bandai Namco will bring FromSoftware’s popular Souls games to the much less popular Wii U, but that only makes up for 2018. Dark Souls: Remastered Turn on the Switch a pleasant surprise.
Honestly, it’s not a remake here, as the Nintendo version resembles the original 2011 release in some areas. Still, it’s a great way to play a chilling classic on the go. So why is Bandai-Namco silent in the sequels?
It could simply be a matter of chance. Remastered released at the same time as versions on other platforms; Extending these 5- and 7-year-old sequels to the Switch doesn’t seem worth it at this point. However, we needed something else to do with our Solaire amiibo!
Persona 5 (2016) • PS3, PS4
Persona 5 possibly the most requested Switch port ever. Protagonist P5 Joker included as first third-party DLC character for Super Smash Bros. There have been plenty of fans speculating whether Atlus’s dating crawler will be coming to the Switch. Two years later and nothing has happened, let’s save the side story Persona 5 strikers.
Sega may or may not have some kind of exclusivity agreement signed with Sony for the Persona line. Although Persona’s parent series, Megami Tensei has had a much heavier presence on Nintendo hardware since the Famicom, in 1996. Disclosure: Persona is another example of a third-party franchise opening stores with Sony in the N64 era.
Sega recently broke Persona’s PlayStation exclusivity by releasing Persona 4: Gold on Steam without showing up, so it’s possible they’re testing the waters for wider releases in the future.
Any other great games that haven’t popped up around these parts? Let us know what games you’d like to see coming to Nintendo consoles below.