L.A. Noire has launched on the Nintendo Switch, bringing a Rockstar title to the hybrid console for the first time.
Reviews of the game have thus far been fairly positive, though changes to certain terms used during the game’s interrogations are somewhat divisive.
It isn’t something about the game itself that has gained our attention however, but rather a seemingly useless feature that suggests other games, possibly even Red Dead titles, will eventually come to the Nintendo Switch.
L.A. Noire allows players to link their Nintendo accounts with their Rockstar Social Club accounts. The screens for this also have special graphical elements used specifically for the Switch and include references to the Crews system. Even though L.A. Noire is completely single player with zero Crew functionality.
Crews function in a similar way to guilds or clans in other games, however in the case of Rockstar they are shared across games which include Crew functionality, though so far GTA Online has been the only game to make extensive use of the system. L.A. Noire lacks any kind of multiplayer functionality, and you can’t actually do anything with the Crews once you’ve linked your Rockstar Social Club and Nintendo accounts together.
So why go to all the trouble of developing this system for the Switch when the only game to date on the platform won’t make any use of it?
Simple – L.A. Noire isn’t going to be the only Rockstar game on the Switch.
In the past, ideas that Red Dead Redemption might come to the Switch have been thought impossible due to hardware restrictions, but after L.A. Noire and the even more recently DOOM was ported to the handheld-hybrid, that no longer seems like a problem.
What may be a significant issue in porting Red Dead Redemption is likely the same thing preventing a remaster – reportedly the assets aren’t accessible anymore and the game’s underlying code is a hot mess. However, we’d bet that seeing something on the Switch still isn’t off the table, and there’s always the chance that a platform exclusive spin-off might come in the future.
Take-Two Interactive has been open about supporting the Switch from day one, so much so NBA 2K17 was used in the announcement trailer of the platform.
Rockstar titles have a great amount of brand recognition and draw, making them attractive prospects for Nintendo, even if the ideologies of the two companies don’t line up particularly well. A remaster of one of Rockstar’s less successful and popular titles isn’t going to be the end of this particular relationship for sure.
Rockstar has, in the past, been a strong supporter of mobile games, developing several exclusive GTA titles for the PlayStation Portable system, as well as the Nintendo DS. While they have plenty of popular titles in their backlog to remaster and port to the Switch, it wouldn’t be out of character to develop exclusive spin-off titles for the console.
Based on Rockstar’s past, the Grand Theft Auto series would be the most likely candidate for Switch spin-offs. But with Red Dead taking the helm from next Spring onwards, developing something from that IP might seem more sensible.
Skyrim’s recent launch on the Switch proved that popular old games absolutely have an audience on new platforms, meaning that if Red Dead Redemption does end up getting ported, fans would be all over it.
The Switch has a unique quality of allowing players to take out games that were in the past restricted to PCs or home consoles and the prospect of a portable Red Dead Redemption would get fans buzzing.
While all of this amounts to mere theorycrafting, the one thing we know for sure is that Rockstar is planning something with the multiplayer systems they’ve incorporated into the Nintendo Switch. That prospect alone spells out an interesting future for the developer, and a 2018 landscape that might yield more releases than “just” Red Dead Redemption 2.