It basically comes down to the fact that Red Dead Redemption 2 has been in development since before the Nintendo Switch was even a thing.
This year’s biggest release without a doubt was Rockstar’s eagerly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2, a game that blew everyone away, and ended up being adored critically and commercially. And yet, the game launched on only two platforms—PS4 and Xbox One. It skipped PC, and it skipped out the Nintendo Switch.
Why did it skip out the Switch? Especially given that the Switch’s third party situation has gotten better than previous Nintendo systems, why did this all important game not come to the platform? Speaking to Hollywood Reporter, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime noted that the game had been in development far before the Switch was even a thing, and that expecting Rockstar to alter their development schedule to accommodate the Switch after so much time had passed would have been unreasonable.
“We’d love for [Red Dead] to be there,” he said. “But again — and this is where there needs to be an understanding of just the development process — Red Dead has been in development for years, time that predated any communication of Nintendo Switch.
“So, from the developer’s mentality, they need to move forward and finish the game they’ve been working on and then be in a position to look at other opportunities. Any game from a key third-party that’s coming out now, typically that development started well before any conversations about Nintendo Switch.
“What happens moving forward? We’ll see. But that’s how you wind up with a situation with Red Dead not being available on our platform.”
I like the note he signs off on, because it seems to suggest third party games will begin treating the Switch a bit more seriously going forward. And certainly, with games like Mortal Kombat 11 and Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled all having announced day and date Switch versions, it looks like things are about to improve on this front.