Nintendo of Canada’s Andrew Collins on the ever-growing Canadian indie Switch scene

Screenshot of Celeste for the Nintendo Switch

It’s no secret that the Nintendo Switch has become a haven for independent games.

Since the console-handheld hybrid launched in March 2017, many indie developers have noted that their games have sold better on the Switch than they have on other platforms.

Games like Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted SeasDeath Squared and Wonder Boy have all sold better on Switch, according to the studios that made them.

In particular, Canadian indie developers have demonstrated a keen interest in the Switch.

Some of the most notable homegrown indie titles brought to Switch include the Toronto-developed Severed, Quebec-made The Messenger and the Vancouver-born Celeste. In fact, Celeste actually became the most successful digital indie title on the Switch when it launched on the platform in March.

With that in mind, MobileSyrup spoke with Nintendo of Canada communications manager Andrew Collins at a recent Super Smash Bros. Ultimate media event in Toronto to learn more about Canadian indies taking interest in the Switch.

According to Collins, it’s important to not reach out to Canadian developers but to also help promote their titles as well.

Andrew Collins: Myself and the team, we want to help these [Canadian] developers. In many cases, they’re not big. Take Towerfall Ascension and Celeste — they’re made by a company called Matt Makes Games, that’s just [Matt Thorson] and one of his friends. So if we can help them by doing things like getting the word out then it’s great. We’re able to strengthen the Canadian games industry.

We’re fortunate in Canada that there’s a lot of great big companies here, like Ubisoft, Warner Bros., Square Enix and Electronic Arts. But what you tend to find is that people work for those companies and learn the bones of development, and then they branch out and become indies themselves. That’s why there’s this strong current of indie developers.

Then you get others where the last thing they ever want to do is work for a company like Warner Bros. or EA or Ubisoft, who said they’ll go immediately and start small. Any way we can help and promote Canadian developers we will do. As Canadians ourselves, it’s important that we can help push and elevate them. Those guys make good games.

Matt should call his company ‘Matt Makes Good Games’ because I really enjoy Celeste. That’s a great example of something which a big company probably wouldn’t take the risk on, but an indie developer, because they can do it in a smaller time frame and they don’t have the huge budget span, they can do it. That’s where we come in to try to help these guys and it’s always a pleasure to do that.

Of course, the Switch has other games to offer outside of indies, with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate set to be the system’s biggest game of 2018. With that in mind, MobileSyrup also asked Collins about his favourite fighter from the game, as well as what he’s most excited for Canadians to get to experience in it.

Andrew Collins: I’ve not found a favourite yet. I play as random because I figure that’s a way to learn every style of fighter. But I don’t actually like fighting as the heavies. I like playing as Mario [but] I want to get good with all of them. In terms of the fan experience, I think Ridley’s an interesting one. When he was announced, I was watching reaction videos from our New York store — those guys are huge fans. The crowd just erupted into a chant of ‘not too big! not too big!’ because that’s what we’d said before, Ridley’s is too big for Smash, we can’t get him in the game.

I also just think it’s that moment that people can get at home when they sit on the couch and play with friends and family. When December 7th comes by and people just get to experience the whole game. It’s really about being able to start learning everything about it and getting better.”

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launches exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on December 7th.