Several impressive PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports have been released on Nintendo Switch the past years, and behind some of the best of them, like Dark Souls Remastered and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, was QLOC. In a recent interview with Slovakian website Sector, QLOC's head of communications Milosz Bialas talked about the developer's history, the porting process and the biggest limitations of the Nintendo Switch when developing ports.
The Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Nintendo Switch port is definitely among the most impressive work done by the developer. The console's handheld screen allowed the developer to scale back resolution, details, and effects that wouldn't be noticeable on the screen. The developer also had to work around the Nintendo Switch's lower power, compared to the other console's, to get the game running properly. Bialas specifically talked about cutscenes, which are pre-rendered on Switch, as real-time cutscenes ran badly, managing to achieve only a 10 FPS frame rate only showing Senua's face.
Speaking about the Nintendo Switch hardware limitations, Milosz Bialas highlighted how the lack of RAM, slow GPU and storage speed are the worst limitations of the hardware. Usually, the developer prefers to use smaller textures to work around the limitations. For open-world and semi open-world games like Hellblade, storage and GPU low speeds are hard to deal with. These limitations, however, are only bad when porting from other platforms, as developing directly for the Nintendo Switch obviously allows developers to create assets with the console's specifications in mind.
Despite porting difficulties, working with Nintendo is an extremely smooth experience. The Japanese company is extremely supportive, provides detailed documentation as well as clear requirements that make the developing process smooth.
QLOC isn't the only developer that had to find a way to work around the Nintendo Switch's limitations. Saber Interactive, developer of The Witcher 3 on Nintendo Switch, revealed last year that the initial port ran at 10 FPS.