Hogwarts Legacy is an action-adventure title developed by Avalanche Software and published by Warner Bros. Games. It was first released last February for the PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC and received much praise and acclaim from players and critics alike. The title currently sits at a very respectable score of 84 out of 100 on Metacritic, along with a user score of 8.7 out of 10.
However, many were left disappointed when the title was delayed for multiple consoles including the Nintendo Switch. In this article, I will explain the reasons as to why the Switch version was delayed and how it may differ from the others as a result before outlining its release date.
Hogwarts Legacy on the Nintendo Switch
It is no secret that Hogwarts Legacy is an ambitious title. It features a huge open-world that you are free to explore at your own will along with high level of environmental detail. Everything from the lightning, to the texture detail, to the special effects during combat make it a visually impressive title taking full advantage of the latest consoles. The PS5 and Xbox Series X versions launched with a resolution and performance mode. The performance mode targeted 60 FPS but ran far below 4K due to this game’s demanding nature.
The game was also very taxing on PC at launch. The system requirements asked for at least 16 GB RAM along with a GTX 1080 Ti for 1080p at ultra settings. Playing the game with less than 16 GB RAM would cause severe stuttering issues on PC. In addition, the game looked very poor on older GPU’s with a lower amount of VRAM such as the GTX 750 Ti. Given that the Nintendo Switch only has 4 GB RAM along with a far less GPU and CPU, some major concessions will have to be made to get it running on the console. It is precisely because of how demanding the game is, that the PS4, Xbox One and Switch versions were all delayed. The PS4 and Xbox One versions launched on 5th May, and largely ran quite well thanks to cut-backs in resolution, frame-rate and texture quality, but whether the same will be the case for the Switch remains a mystery.
For Nintendo’s latest console , the cut-backs will likely be another order of magnitude beyond what was seen on Sony and Microsoft’s last-gen machines. I expect the resolution to be 720p at most when docked for the Switch along with a 30 FPS target. In addition, the level of texture detail will almost definitely be cut-back to accommodate the consoles’ aging hardware. Another notable difference may be the draw-distance. It is likely to be reduced along with more instances of pop-in especially when you on flying quickly on your broomstick. Lastly, the load-times will be quite long when travelling between different parts of the castle and when fast-travelling due to the lack of an SSD.
Overall, many cut-backs will need to be made, and the Switch version will differ a fair bit from the other versions as a result. These concessions could have a considerable impact on the gameplay and experience. With a lower resolution, the title may risk looking rather blurry. The pop-in and load times may also cause the game to feel less smooth and streamlined compared to the current console versions. Nevertheless, for all the likely cut-backs, one major difference in the Switch’s favour is that the game will be portable and playable pretty much wherever you are. In addition, some of the issues with resolution may be less distracting when using the Switch in portable mode due the smaller screen.
Hogwarts Legacy Switch Release Date
The Nintendo Switch version was originally delayed to 25th May due to extra time needed for system optimisation. However, it is now expected to come out on 14th November 2023. At this point, the Switch version has been delayed far beyond even the PS4 and Xbox One ports. Optimising the game for such old hardware has undoubtedly been a challenge for the developers. Releasing the game with good performance, without making too many cut-backs will be challenging for sure, and there will be some major differences. However, the task is not impossible as equally difficult ports such as The Witcher 3 and Dying Light have been done in the past. We can only hope that all this extra time in development will allow the Switch version to launch in an acceptable state itself this coming November.