Let’s Talk About potential Wii U to Switch Ports

It's raining ports, hallelujah! It's raining ports, amen!

Mock up box art credit: Peterisbetter & SSBfangamer

The Nintendo Switch is Nintendo's most successful console in years. After the commercial flop of the Wii U and the time it took for the 3DS to properly get off the ground, it's refreshing to see one of their consoles do so well right out the gate. We're currently in the consoles fourth year on the market and there are no signs of its momentum slowing down. Even with the current situation and the hardware shortages it has caused, Switch software sales are still thriving. While there are plenty of new titles the console has also become known as a bit of a port machine. This trend was started pretty early in in the console's lifespan with the release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe only a few weeks after launch. The game sold exceptionally well, become the Switch's top-selling game boasting an attach rate of close to 50% with 24.77 million copies sold. One could even argue that the consoles big launch title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

It was originally developed for the Wii U after all. That's a legit argument but since it released on both consoles the same day and the Switch outsold the Wii U one by a huge margin I, along with many other, feel that's Breath of the Wild is more a Switch than a Wii U title. There have been many older games brought over the system since those early days, the second year on the market especially saw many Wii U ports, but there are still some games left untouched. 

I know that there have been many lists like these before, but I still wanted to make my own. These are some of the last few Nintendo's very own Wii U titles that I will, should or I just simply want to get a re-release, either through a straight-up port or through a remaster, on the Switch, listed in no particular order.

Let's dive in. 

Super Mario 3D World

Let's get into the swing of things by starting off with an easy pick: Super Mario 3D World. Most of the ports/remasters of first-party games that have made their way to the Switch are Wii U titles which makes a lot of sense. The system was, if you get down to it, a failure. It barely made a dent in the industry and as such, the games for it didn't really get time to shine either. It's what makes porting them to the Switch so appealing: they're given a second chance on a console with a larger install base. Most of the Wii U heavy hitters have gotten a port or a continuation on the Switch already, except one: Super Mario 3D World. The game is the second most popular game on the platform, right after Mario Kart 8, and has gotten widespread critical acclaim from both fans and critics alike.

Other Wii U Mario games, either in the form of ports or sequels, that have been brought over the system have all performed very well already. Those are some very compelling reasons and a Switch version could also give the game some improvements. 3D World features co-op and the Joycons of the Switch are perfect for this. I think it's only a matter of time before we see this game land on the Switch. After all, there have already been plenty of rumours going around that this game will be included in the upcoming Mario 35th anniversary celebration.

Verdict: Extremely Likely

Update (05-09-2020)
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury has been confirmed to be coming to Switch on February 12th, 2021. It got confirmed during the Mario 35th anniversary Direct this week and true to form for Nintendo, includes some extra content (the Bowser's Fury part). That's the 2nd game on this list that gets a Switch port, wonder if any more will come?

The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker HD & The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

Grouping these two games together here because they're very similar to each other. They're two older 3D Zelda games that were remastered for the Wii U. The Wind Waker HD was released after the development team were struck with the game after experimenting with it for the next line Zelda, Breath of the Wild. When they determined it wouldn't take them that long to remaster it, they did so out of love for the game and so that fans had something to play while waiting on Breath of the Wild. It became quite a success, the game sold better then they anticipated so when Breath of the Wild was once again delayed they decided to give Twilight Princess the same treatment. Both games are superb and if Nintendo would port them over to the Switch they would no doubt sell well for a third time in a row, especially with Breath of the Wild still in people's minds.

However, I think that's the exact reason why we won't see these game come to Switch even with the demand for them to do so. They've already been released twice over, would they really re-release them for a third time so soon? I think it, sadly, is. Nintendo has already released a new remake for the Switch: Link's Awakening DX and that game did well. I think it's a better strategy for Nintendo to focus on the future, focus on that Breath of the Wild sequel they're developing first. Maybe release another new remaster after that or in between if that game's development is as long as the originals. I think that will be better for the franchise. It's a bummer for the fans, Wind Waker is especially hard to get your hands on, but it is what it is.

Verdict: Unlikely at this time.

Xenoblade Chronicles X

The Xenoblade Chronicles series has done quite well for its self as of late. A side-series of the larger Xeno-series, the first game was released way back on the Wii back in 2010. It was well-received but didn't see many sales, here in the West especially. It wasn't until Xenoblade Chronicles 2 that the series really took off, selling over a million copies worldwide within its first month. Monolift Soft, the game's developer, has recognized the series increased popularity and have stated their intent to keep building on the brand. They've already released an expansion for 2 (Torna: the Golden Country) and a remaster from the original game, including content scrapped from the original due to hardware limitations, was released only a few months ago. Xenoblade Chronicles X is the only game of the Xenoblade series left that isn't on the Switch, so why not? Well, a few factors are working against it.

Unlike its compatriots, X isn't a JRPG as much as it's a straight-up action game which (might) limit its appeal with fans. Comments made by the people behind the series also suggest that a re-release is unlikely to happen. The head of Monolith Soft, Tetsuya Takahashi, did state that he had a desire to bring Xenoblade Chronicles X to the Nintendo Switch, he also said that "money" is an issue and that reconfiguring it to the Switch would be difficult due to the game's massive size. The director of Xenoblade series, Koh Kojima, has also said that he would rather develop a sequel to X rather than working on a port of the game.

Verdict: Unlikely. For now, at least.

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Blackwater

Didn't expect to see a game like this on here did ya? Thought it would just be all the Mario's and Zelda's and the like ey? OK, to be completely honest here with you, I thought so too. However, when I did my research for this piece I came across this game I saw an opportunity for Nintendo forming. Fatal Frame: Maiden of Blackwater, released as Project Zero: Maiden of Blackwater in Europe, is a survival horror developed by Koei Tecmo and the latest (and quite possibly final) entry in the Fatal Frame series. What sets the game apart from other titles in its genre, aside from being a Nintendo exclusive, is its gameplay. Fatal Frame is, essentially, a photography game. Instead of fighting the monsters, in this case, with weapons you 'defeat' them by taking pictures of them using the magic camera known as the 'Camera Obscura'. The better the pictures of the ghost you make (if they're in frame for example) the more damage you do to them.

Fatal Frame isn't a game you'd expect from Nintendo and that's also why I think it has been mostly forgotten. It's an atypical Nintendo published game released on the Wii U, to middling reviews no less. Yeah, it never really had much of a chance. Why do I think then that it should get a new lease on life on the Switch? One word: Halloween. This is what I think they should do: release the game digitally for around 20-30,- bucks on the Eshop around Halloween. Get a good campaign going for the game and highlight its unique camera gameplay. With a little luck, Nintendo will have a good Halloween hit on their hands, one which will be boosted by good word of mouth and social media buzz. It can become a 'must-play game' in a similar way Five Nights of Freddy did years ago.

Fatal Frame unique camera premise is one that would also translate wonderfully to Mobile. I don't like Mobile games myself, but from a business standpoint, they're very appealing. If they play their card right, Nintendo could have another strong, quite unique, IP on their hands. They have to put in the effort.

Verdict: Unlikely (but it really should)

Update June 2021
An unlikely game indeed, which is exactly why Nintendo has decided to port it to the Switch (and other consoles surprisingly) later this year! Xenoblade Chronicles X really is the only Nintendo 1st party/published game that is NOT getting a port or sequel on the Switch, uh?

Pikmin 3

Making a hard turn straight back to the colourful and fun we have Pikmin 3. The Pikmin franchise has always been a bit of weird one in the way Nintendo handles it. It hasn't had many games in its name, only four, with a fifth confirmed to be in development but they haven't spoken about that project in years. Yet, Nintendo seems intent on promoting the franchise. It has consistent representation in games like Super Smash Bros, multiple Amiibo, has a spin-off game and appears regularly in all kinds of promotional material. Fun fact: when you transfer over your profile from a Wii to a Wii U console, the screen will show Pikmin literally grabbing the data from the Wii and carry them over to the Wii U. Pretty neat, right?

Aside from that, the Pikmin series just is a set of good games and once that fit the Nintendo brand quite nicely. They're fun, imaginative, colourful, have a unique premise to them and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Pikmin 3 did quite well and the series hasn't seen the main series entry since. Pikmin 4 is in development, as I said, but we haven't heard anything about that game for so long that I'm not counting on it seeing the light of day any time soon. Porting Pikmon 3 over to the Switch would open the franchise up to a larger audience and boost its popularity like the Switch has done for many other, smaller, Nintendo IP's.

Verdict: LIKELY

Update (05-08-2020)
Pikmin 3 Deluxe has been confirmed to be coming to Switch on October 30th. That's the first game on this list that is getting the port and enhancement treatment. Let's see if my other predictions will also end up becoming true!

Star Fox Zero

At last, rounding out the list is Star Fox Zero. Star Fox fit into a similar category as Pikmin I feel. It's older than Pikmin, dating all the way back to the SNES, but it's beloved regardless. The IP is beloved boy fans, has become ingrained with Nintendo and they still regularly use it in promotional material and the like. Also like Pikmin, it doesn't have that many games to its name in comparison to other Nintendo properties and hasn't seen a new release in some time. It got Zero on the Wii U and there was also that remaster of 64 on the 3DS but has kind of been it. It's beloved, but it hasn't been able to generate a big splash for quite a few years now.

This is why a re-release on the Switch would be such a good idea. Star Fox currently stands to gain a lot from the aforementioned 'Switch-effect'. Star Fox Zero wasn't received as well as many had hoped, the controls were especially critiqued for being not fun at all. It has its problems, but many can be easily remedied with just a little bit of reworking. It also has seen something of a boost lately. The release of Star Fox 2, a game that was cancelled at the very last minute, on the SNES mini and later Nintendo Switch online generated a decent amount of buzz. This shows that they're still enough Star Fox fans that I think Nintendo will get the development cost of the game back, regardless if it manages to attract a newer crowd. The Nintendo Switch version of Starlink is also the most bought version of that game due to the added Star Fox content it had on the platform. Another sign that the series still has some gas left in the tank.

Verdict: Somewhat Likely


That's the end of the list. There is, of course, no way to tell if these games will or won't make their way to the Switch. Nintendo is Nintendo and Nintendo does what Nintendo does best is being unpredictable. But, considering their track record I'm certain that at least some of these games will get Switch releases. Even if none of them will, which I would find really weird, making this list was still fun for me and I hope you found it fun as well.