Here’s what it’s like to be a Nintendo Switch game developer in India
Game development in India has seen its fair share of problems, but in recent years many local developers have started bringing games to major platforms with the Nintendo Switch becoming more and more popular as a console. target. Bengaluru-based game developer Holy Cow Productions has delivered four games in collaboration with several other studios on a multitude of platforms ranging from mobile to console and even PC via Steam, with Nintendo’s hybrid console taking hold. recently joined us.
But how is game development on Nintendo Switch beneficial, when Nintendo itself does not have an official presence in India? After all, his console sales here are all thanks to gray market imports with an unofficial retail presence. Holy Cow founder Goutham Dindukurthi told us at length about the studio’s process for developing games and supporting other studios.
“Nintendo has definitely become a huge opportunity for independent developers,” he says. “The process has been quite smooth in terms of development tools and in our limited experience Nintendo support has been amazing.”
While the Nintendo Switch has become the console of choice for small independent studios, the company has no direct contact channel for Indian developers. Networking meetings are proving crucial for independent developers to get in touch with the Japanese giant.
“The team from Japan, whom we had the chance to meet during their visit to India [back in 2018], really supported and helped us with our first game [Mystic Pillars] on the platform, ”he says.“ We were extremely fortunate to have our trailer feature on Nintendo’s YouTube channel and were excited to see Nintendo helping to boost our social media launch. “
Nintendo Switch India game development challenges
To date, Holy Cow has delivered four games, including one for Nintendo Switch in Mystic Pillars, a story-driven puzzle game set in ancient India. The Nintendo Switch has also seen other Indian developers like Nodding Heads Games with Raji: An Ancient Epic release on the platform as well as Krystopia from Godspeed Games, Shaolin vs Wutang, Almightree: The Last Dreamer, Shakes on a Plane and The Innsmouth Case. Of course, porting the game to Nintendo Switch has its own challenges, but the Holy Cow team were up to it.
“The main issue with development for the Nintendo Switch has been the availability of the development kits as they currently have no way of shipping them to India,” Dindukurthi said when asked what the biggest hurdle was. console development.
After acquiring the development kits, the actual development process was quite relaxing, although the release requirements posed new challenges.
“Although we have already worked with consoles [Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite], this is our first experience posting to them, ” he says. “There was a lot to learn and a lot of backlog trying to figure out the tools with all the different regions and guidelines. From creating region-specific trailers to translating store texts, everything was new to us and inspiring. “
Publishing a game on a platform where the country’s official sales statistics are difficult to acquire is risky. While Dindukurthi can’t say for sure what proportion of the developer’s audience is from India due to the hurdles of region foreclosure and account switching, his popularity among niche circles in India is a good sign. . So much so that it is enough for Holy Cow to consider porting its other games on the platform.
“The sales of switching hardware are really promising and we want to continue to develop games for the platform,” he said. “Our experience working on it has been quite good and we will try to put as many of our future games into it as possible. The type of game would dictate the platforms for our future games, but our next games will definitely be on Switch. “
Nintendo Switch is popular with the Holy Cow team
The developer has worked in tandem with studios like Infinigon, The Cirqus and Hobo Interactive. Its upcoming Bot Rods game is an arcade-style racing game currently slated for release on Steam, but release on Nintendo Switch is still possible. However, that decision is up to his publishing partner, although Holy Cow has had a positive working relationship with the other studios he has collaborated with.
“Mystic Pillars, for example, is a game produced entirely in-house, whereas with Zenith we worked on all the programming of the game and some 3D character animations”, he explains. “ With Bot Rods, we take care of the programming, 2D art and user interface. ”
Stating that the team is most familiar with the PC, the studio has also found development for other platforms relatively easily with the new Nintendo Switch gaining popularity within the studio for development.
“The Xbox platform has been the easiest to use so far, but since our recent and first self-published game hit Nintendo Switch, I have to say it’s our current favorite,” he said. he declares.
Nintendo Switch Pro and what the developers want
Finally, we had to ask what Holy Cow would like to get out of a rumor about the Nintendo Switch Pro console. It was speculated that it would be revealed after E3, but instead the company announced an OLED variant that is more of a mid-generation refresh than one with improved internals to compete with other consoles. .
“Much more powerful hardware so that we can deliver the same visuals and performance that we can on other consoles and PC platforms,” he says.
It’s still just the start for Dindukurthi and his team, but it’s fascinating to see how Holy Cow has gone over the years from co-development to self-publishing and it will be interesting to see what he does. then.