A podcast recently talked about how some games, like Contra Operation Galuga are struggling to run on Nintendo Switch, because they developed it for higher end systems(PS5, Xbox series, PC) first then port it to Nintendo Switch. They suggested it should have been done the other way around, so every platform has a version of the game that runs perfectly(barring AAA high quality titles like God of War and Spider-Man). How true is this?

There are always tradeoffs when making decisions like this. It's true that developing with the Switch as the primary platform would make it work well on the Switch and perform well on other platforms. However, the tradeoff is that the game would look like an upscaled version of a Switch game on the higher-end platforms. The source assets like animation rigging and motions, textures, character and environment models, and so on would be built at a lower fidelity. The world created using those assets would be built with those assets in mind, meaning that things would lack the sense of visual cohesion that one would expect, even if they built high resolution textures and ran at 4k instead of the Switch's native 720p.

Consider a game that launched on Switch first and later came to other platforms is Monster Hunter Rise. Take a look at that game and you'll see what I mean. Rise runs at a rock-solid 60 fps on higher end PC, but you can still see the kind of visual style built with lower poly models in place because we just don't have the time to rebuild everything. It really depends on the kind of game and visual fidelity the developer is aiming for - games with highly stylized visuals like Octopath Traveler work out just fine because of the visual expectations set, while MHR's more realistic visual style is what holds it back.

Comparison screenshot taken from [Digital Foundry's excellent comparison video].

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