What a difference a few years make. At the beginning of this console generation, the console war was in full swing. Sony and Microsoft were taking swings at each other. Gamers were screaming at each other about their preferred system. Since then, things have cooled down a bit. One of the leading factors in this cooling has been Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer. Not only has he been a breath of fresh air to Xbox but the entire videogames industry. As well as publicly applauding Sony for the release of the PlayStation Pro and certain games, he has worked hard towards cross-platform play. One of the biggest surprises has been the way he has worked together with Nintendo.
When it comes to protecting their platform, Nintendo has arguably been the most aggressive of the console manufacturers. However, in the last year or two, we have seen a surprising level of cooperation between Nintendo and Xbox. Despite starting their own online service (Nintendo Online) the Japanese manufacturer has allowed Xbox Live on to their system. This isn’t just for Microsoft titles like Minecraft either. If you play Warframe on the Switch, you can actually earn Xbox Live achievements. The collaboration hasn’t stopped there either, with Xbox Exclusive, Cuphead, launching on Switch earlier this year.
During the E3 Nintendo Direct this week we found out that Banjo Kazooie was joining the roster of characters for Smash Bros. Ultimate. While Banjo Kazooie may have launched on a Nintendo platform it is now owned and controlled by Microsoft. As an Xbox fan who also owns a Switch (and has Smash Bros. Ultimate), I’m clearly quite happy about this. I would go further than that, though, and say that it is good for gaming in general. I would be happy for more characters to be featured. How about adding Joanna Dark, the Battletoads, or Conker to Smash Bros. Ultimate?
The only concern I have about this collaboration is that it seems very one-sided at the moment. Yes, it’s great that Microsoft is allowing Switch owners to have access to all this great Xbox goodness but how about returning the favour Nintendo? Could we get some Nintendo characters on Xbox One? I’m trying not to be unrealistic here. As much as we would all love it, I don’t see us getting Mario on Xbox or a port of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In the same way, I can’t imagine Master Chief or Marcus Fenix making an appearance in Smash Bros. But like Christoph Waltz says in Django Unchained “Well, you won’t sell your best. You won’t even sell your second best, but your third best?”
How about we start off small and add a character to the multiplayer of a game like Gears 5. That would surely be similar to Xbox allowing Banjo Kazooie to appear in Smash Bros. If it was the right character it would even fit right in. After all, we’re getting an endoskeleton from Terminator, so why not an appropriate Nintendo character. I would suggest Samus Aran from Metroid Prime. In fact, if they used Zero Suit Samus, my fellow Enthusiast, Andrew Gonzalez, would lose his mind! If this is too much, how about starting with something like a Sea of Thieves tie-in. After all, Rare used to be a Nintendo studio. What about including a sail with the Zelda logo.
If that works, could we go further? I’ve already said about how we’re never going to get anything like Super Mario Odyssey or even Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. How about a less iconic Nintendo property, though. Splatoon is Nintendo’s way of doing a family friendly shooter. Could they bring that to Xbox? Nintendo is making a push to bring Splatoon 2 into the esports arena. Bringing it to Xbox One would only help to raise the profile of the franchise. It’s popular enough that it would make a statement but not so iconic that it would feel like Nintendo was selling out.
I welcome these collaborations between game companies. The more that can be done to reduce the idea of a console war has to be a good thing. Anything to help reduce the toxicity between fanboys is nearly always a good idea. It’s not just that, though. Giving consumers choice about how, where, and what they want to play is just common sense. Microsoft has got the ball rolling by allowing Xbox properties, features, and services to work on Switch. Surely, it’s only good manners for Nintendo to return the favour. So, how about it Furukawa-san? Let’s really get this ball rolling and add some Nintendo flavour to Xbox.
What do you think of the Xbox and Nintendo collaboration? Are there Xbox characters you would like to see in a Nintendo game? What Nintendo titles do you think would fit on Xbox? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.