Over the past few years, Microsoft and Nintendo have made it clear that they intend to work more closely with one another. The two corporations now have something akin to a friendship, which has resulted in a few Xbox titles finding their way to Switch. Furthermore, both corporations have been willing to let their mascots appear in each other’s games. The degree to which these two titans of industry have become tight-knit makes us wonder what other possibilities could come of their relationship.
Given that Xbox has shown it is open to any ideas that come across its desk, it’s plausible that Nintendo and Microsoft will have some collaborative projects to share with gamers in the near future. Taking that into account, here are five particularly promising projects that could come of this corporate pairing.
1. Master Chief in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Looking at the DLC fighters for Super Smash Bros Ultimate, it seems that Nintendo and Masahiro Sakurai have set out on a mission to populate this series with characters from all corners of gaming’s storied past. High profile characters such as Steve from Minecraft and Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII now stand toe-to-toe with classic figures like Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard. If this eclectic assortment of new fighters is any indication, there may cease to be a barrier to entry for certain long-rumored additions.
Among the more popular character requests is Halo’s Master Chief, a possibility which grows less outlandish with each passing day. For one, Sakurai’s increasing tendency to select fighters from outside Nintendo’s catalogue might allow Master Chief to make the cut. On top of that, Microsoft allowing Steve and various Cuphead skins to be featured in the game could lead to other Microsoft characters making an appearance. At any rate, the potential is there to fulfill the dreams of countless fans.
2. Nintendo Brings Back Viva Piñata
Historically, Xbox has resisted appealing to children to the same degree as its competitors. It’s clear just at a glance, for example, that most of Nintendo’s game catalogue is targeted towards players of a younger age. Meanwhile, though PlayStation publishes games of a higher rating, they have put out child friendly titles like the LittleBigPlanet games and Astro’s Playroom. The success that Xbox’s rivals have had in captivating younger gamers would suggest there’s merit to revisiting this idea, should Xbox be so inclined.
To help Xbox achieve their goal of being the best place to play for all gamers, it may be time to bring back one of their most child friendly series to date: Viva Piñata. One of several properties developed by Rare, Viva Piñata made a name for itself as a colorful farming simulation franchise that anyone could enjoy. Much as we would want to see Viva Piñata return, though, the situation is complicated by Rare’s busy schedule as of late.
Taking into consideration that Rare may be too preoccupied to handle the revival, the next best option would be to license out the Viva Piñata IP to Nintendo and let them reboot the franchise for a new generation. Nintendo’s experience when it comes to producing games across a variety of genres and catering to different tastes speaks for itself. Whether they make a title akin to Super Mario Party or focus on social aspects as with Animal Crossing, such a revival of Viva Piñata is certain to be compelling.
3. Rare Develops Next Donkey Kong Country
Since the Nintendo Switch launched in 2017, the only Donkey Kong game to come to the console was a port of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. This is a shame, because the Donkey Kong Country games are beloved by players and praised by critics. It’s unknown if a new entry is currently in development, but if the franchise is up in the air, Xbox might be able to lend a hand to make the next Donkey Kong Country game memorable.
We’re of the opinion that Microsoft subsidiary Rare should be the developer of the next Donkey Kong Country title. After all, Rare was the sole developer of Donkey Kong titles from 1994 up until 1999. Furthermore, Nintendo has been more open to lending its legendary IP to outside developers; they permitted Ubisoft to develop Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and allowed the use of Star Fox characters in Starlink: Battle for Atlas. Without a doubt, having Rare come back to develop the next Donkey Kong Country game makes sense and would inspire much excitement from the gaming community.
4. Xbox Assists Nintendo with Online Infrastructure
There’s no question that Xbox has been a leading force in online play on consoles since Xbox Live first launched in 2002. Since then, they have continued to expand the capabilities of the platform, with many feeling that Xbox Live has the best online infrastructure in the gaming industry.
Nintendo, on the other hand, hasn’t had the same success. Nintendo Switch had online play from the start, but the paid subscription service Nintendo Switch Online wasn’t made available until late 2018. Nintendo’s online service features older legacy titles that can now be played online, but when it comes to games that have a large online community, the service doesn’t hold up to the standards established by other companies.
Regardless of the game being played, Switch Online is not up to par. Nintendo’s netcode is so outdated, it’s become a common occurrence for people to experience delayed input responses or outright lose their connection during a game. With the help of Microsoft, the online infrastructure could be improved to match that of Xbox Live.
5. Game Pass on Nintendo Switch
Phil Spencer has stated time and again that he wants Game Pass to be on as many platforms as possible. In light of Microsoft and Nintendo’s cooperation having the potential to benefit gamers across platforms, we’re of the mind that the Nintendo Switch would be a perfect platform for the subscription service.
A version of Game Pass for the Switch wouldn’t be out of left field, considering the system’s established capacity for handling graphics intensive games. The Switch has received a number of games like Control and Hitman 3 by way of cloud gaming, a concept not far removed from what Game Pass offers. Knowing how dedicated Xbox is to bringing its games to players everywhere, the Switch seems uniquely suited to aid in that effort.