Oxenfree Creator Talks Nintendo Switch Development & Indie Competition

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Oxenfree came to Nintendo Switch in early October, and Night School Studios Co-Founder Sean Krankel is hugely inspired by the console’s growing audience and development ease. In an exclusive chat, he discussed why the new platform is ideal for players and developers alike.

“I'm so excited the launch has gone as well as it has, because I play on [Switch] more than anything right now,” he said. “When we learned what the hardware was and what it was capable of, we were like 'this could potentially be the ultimate version of Oxenfree.' Because it really looks nice on a smaller screen or a larger screen, and we already had implemented some touch controls.”

Though Switch seemed like something to aspire to for Night School’s biggest game, it didn’t take too long to get Oxenfree working on Switch’s mobile hardware. “We had it up and running within two months,” he told Player.One, adding that “I think a lot of that is because Unity is supported really well on Switch as well. They've been really good partners, very easy to work with.”

This creative ease and basic functionality has made the Switch a thriving platform for indie development studios like Night School. Oxenfree had to compete with Switch versions of other popular indies like Stardew Valley, Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime and Axiom Verge during its release week alone.

Even though Krankel felt intimidated by a mighty phenomenon like Stardew launching around the same time as his team’s latest effort, he views such competition as a net positive for game creators on Switch. He’s confident well-made games will find their audience. “I'm not too worried about [the eShop] getting oversaturated. I think it just means people need to do better in their own game design and make something that is special and stands out. I think that competition is good,” he said.

For Oxenfree especially, Krankel hopes Switch gamers are attracted to the title’s toy-like communication mechanics, timeless art and engaging coming-of-age narrative. For more on the creative process behind Oxenfree, check out the first portion of this three-part feature. On Saturday we’ll be posting an in-depth chat about the game’s various endings and the potential for an Oxenfree sequel.

In addition to Nintendo Switch, Oxenfree is also available on Xbox One, PC, PS4 and mobile devices.

Do you think the Switch version of Oxenfree is the ultimate version of the game? Is the eShop getting oversaturated with new releases? Tell us in the comments section!

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