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5 third-party developers responsible for some of the best ports on Nintendo Switch

These teams have managed to make the impossible, possible (Images via Saber Interactive/Blizzard/Bethesda)
These teams have managed to make the impossible, possible (Images via Saber Interactive/Blizzard/Bethesda)

Ever since its release, the Nintendo Switch has managed to turn heads of both fans and naysayers. The Wii U's failure was enough of a reason for both third-party developers and fans to be vary of 2017's portable/home console hybrid. But since then, the platform's wide appeal and success has managed to attract reluctant studios who are now more than happy to bring their games over.

These studios have also poured in immense efforts to port over some of the more technically impressive titles of the past few years. Despite Nintendo Switch's portable tech, its expertise has resulted in admirable renditions of the aforementioned games.


Top 5 developers like Virtuos and Rebellion Developments who have pushed Nintendo Switch to its limits

5) Virtuos

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While it doesn't make its own games, the Singapore-based Virtuos has played a silent role in helping some of the biggest names in the industry. It has co-developed multiple major games across various platforms. These include first-party projects like Sony's The Last of Us: Part 2 (facial and body animations) and Demon's Souls remake (cinematics) and Microsoft's Grounded (quest design).

On the Nintendo Switch, it lent a hand with great ports like Dark Souls Remastered and BioShock: The Collection. Sure, some of its Switch conversions didn't really turn out to be exceptional - The Outer Worlds was a mess at launch, for example. But it perservered and managed to iron out most kinks and improve the experience.

In fact, it even expressed the stance that any modern title can be ported to Nintendo Switch - bold words for sure. But its comeback with The Outer Worlds enhancements might just prove it right.


4) Iron Galaxy

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Iron Galaxy is no stranger to game development. Its major works include content for the second and third seasons for the acclaimed Xbox One fighting game, Killer Instinct (2013). But besides the handful of self-made games, the American studio is primarily known for its port-jobs.

It's known for making a conversion of Gearbox's Borderlands: The Handsome Collection for PS4/XB1. Also, the PC versions of Crash N Sane Trilogy and Spyro Reignited Trilogy, which were developed by Vicarous Visions and Toys for Bob, respectively.

It has made impressive Nintendo Switch ports of games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and even Blizzrad's iconic hero-shooter Overwatch. The latter was deemed impossible due to it being a current-gen title, however Iron Galaxy managed to make it work. The end result was a dynamic 900p/720p image at a mostly stable 30 FPS - but for what's basically a mobile chipset, it's a miracle.


3) Rebellion Developments

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The British developer is known for making shooters, particularly Sniper Elite and Zombie Army. It also has some underrated gems under its belt, like Rogue Trooper. Rebellion Developments' modern games have generally been fairly complex in terms of scope, like Sniper Elite 4 with its open maps, dense environments, and complex mechanics.

And yet, Rebellion has managed to bring over all of its current catalog to Nintendo Switch, including Sniper Elite 1-4, Strange Brigade, and Zombie Army Trilogy. What's surprising is that these games look pretty clean from a visual standpoint, which is especially surprising for Sniper Elite 4 - with barely any of the blur some other ports tend to have. Plus, the performance is rock solid as well.

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Zombie Army 4: Dead War is its latest Nintendo Switch outing which will launch later this month. If its previous ports are to go by, fans do not need to worry about this one.


2) Panic Button

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Panic Button is a name that Nintendo Switch fans are all too familiar with. It has been on board since the start and has dedicated itself to the portable console, having started with the Warframe port.

Over time, it has made a name for itself with renditions that are nothing short of a technical marvel. These include Subnautica, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and last but not the least, 2019's amazing DOOM Eternal. All of these caught fans by surprise, each time making one ponder if they were Cloud renditions. But each time, fans were proven wrong as they all perform natively on the portable console.

Seeing Panic Button at number 2 might come as a surprise to many, and frankly it would have been at the top if this next studio didn't stand toe-to-toe with it.


1) Saber Interactive

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While Panic Button's ports are iconic, Saber Interactive arguably goes a step further. These guys have been responsible for making The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt possible on the Nintendo Switch - something not even CD Projekt RED considered doable. It also answered the all-important question of "can it run Crysis?" by bringing over Crysis Trilogy to the tiny handheld.

Most impressively though, the developer also ported its own game, World War Z. In addition to a reasonably decent picture quality, the game manages to hold its own despite the high number of zombies on-screen, even in handheld mode.

It arguably trumps most other ports of this caliber on Nintendo Switch. As far as future projects go, Saber's next "impossible port" target is Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which is another demanding open-world RPG. Will it manage to outdo itself once again? Only time will tell.

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Edited by Abu Amjad Khan
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