E3 2018 wasn’t a spectacular showcase like it was during the beginning of the eighth generation of consoles, but there were still fun surprises at some of the briefings. One notable – and unexpected – surprise was the spontaneous release of Coldwood Interactive’s Unravel Two; the puzzle-platformer made its way to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on June 9, 2018, the same day as EA’s E3 2018 presser. Unfortunately, the game didn’t see a Nintendo Switch port, which is puzzling considering the two Yarnies are basically the red and blue Joy-Cons. It seems that a Nintendo Switch port, however, would’ve delayed the game’s release by another half a year or so, according to its developers.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, producer Michael Gill said, “We run at 60 frames per second, that’s really important for us and we want to keep that framerate. To keep that on Switch, and to keep the graphical quality [would have been difficult].” Similarly, lead programmer and co-founder of Coldwood Interactive Jacob Marklund echoed Gill’s statement, saying, “Although it may look like a [simple] platformer, some locations have around four million triangles on screen,”
Marklund continued, “There are a lot of details, complex landscapes, all the vegetation and stuff. We can do it, but it will take some time. We’re also using a heavily extended version of [Sony’s] PhyreEngine, and we had to port it to Xbox One ourselves. It doesn’t have support for Switch yet, so we would have to do that port and the engine work ourselves, and we’re a really small team. We only have two engine programmers across the whole team, and they mostly work on updates for the game so we just didn’t have time. We really wanted to be able to release this week, but if we had to do a Switch port it would have taken another half a year or so.”
Because Coldwood Interactive – and the games industry at large – wants everything to run at 60fps, we may never see Unravel Two on the Nintendo Switch. While Nintendo’s console-handheld hybrid is capable – at least capable enough to run both Doom and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in a playable state – it certainly isn’t powerful enough to keep and maintain consistent frame rates across all its games (especially ports). Games like Fire Emblem Warriors and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild experience both chugging and frame rate drops, so it’s not particularly surprising we don’t see Unravel Two on the Switch.
In our review of the game, we gave it an 8.5/10, saying, “It somewhat goes without saying, but Unravel Two feels like the organic evolution of the franchise. If you can set aside the odd storytelling decisions and the occasional platforming quirk, Yarny’s newest quest is one you won’t want to miss.”
Unravel Two is available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.