‘If we’d built West of Loathing for Switch first, that would have been just as easy’
The wild, wide world of the gaming economy is far too closed off for its own good.
With publishers like Microsoft protecting any sort of hard numbers of hardware sales and many others walling off their proprietary digital gardens from prying eyes, at any given moment it’s tough to really understand what’s happening in the landscape if you’re an outsider. That’s exactly why I like to check in with studios from time to time to hear their stories straight from their mouths,a list that now includes West of Loathing producer Kevin Simmons.
Loathing, one part point-and-click adventure one part RPG, launched last August on PC with a positive reception, and just recently made its way to Switch. I spoke to Simmons about the launch, which he’s seen as a positive so far.
When asked how the Switch version performed comparatively, Simmons explained, “In the first three weeks we’ve sold about a third as many copies on Switch as we did in the first three weeks on Steam (our launch platform), which means we’re thrilled! Those are great numbers for a goofy stick-figure cowboy comedy game.” Alternatively, you can add his studio, Asymmetric, to the laundry list of developers that have no problem developing for the Switch platform.
Trying to get to the bottom of how difficult the porting process can get, Simmons responded: “Because we developed the game in Unity, we haven’t really had any significant technical issues making builds for any specific platform. The easiest platform was Steam (Windows/Mac/Linux), but that’s really only by virtue of it being the first one we did. If we’d built West of Loathing for Switch first, that would have been just as easy, and we’d have had to tweak the UI to better support mouse and keyboard instead of the other way around. Our greatest challenge so far has been trying to get a satisfying experience of the game on a phone-sized screen for our iOS port. Making the text pleasantly legible (there’s so much text!) and tweaking the UI for a tiny screen are ongoing projects.”
Every studio is different, but it’s clear that working with the Switch is leaps and bounds easier than the Wii and Wii U era.