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Sword & Sworcery is coming to Nintendo Switch

Seven years on, the lyrical Scythian is on the march once more

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, the lavish and lyrical adventure game, is coming to the Nintendo Switch. First released for iOS in 2011, the port is being handled by the developers’ original collaborators at Capybara Games.

Sword & Sworcery was a seminal work among indie games, blending 8-bit inspired graphics with a novel rhythm-based combat system backstopped by a stirring soundtrack from musician and composer Jim Guthrie. It tells the story of the Scythian, an ancient warrior on a quest to retrieve the Trigon. Along the way, the story is told through an elaborate internal monologue, rewarding the player with new soundscapes and insights into its mysterious world.

Craig Adams, founder of the Superbrothers team and co-creator of Sword & Sworcery, told Polygon the newest version of the now classic game will make use of many of the Switch’s unique features. That includes the touchscreen, which will allow players to move the main character around the game and interact with puzzles, just as in the original mobile version.

“Switch allows us multi-touch and all the different things that people were used to the first time they played Sworcery, so it can be played that way again,” Adams said. “There’s also other alternative controls that are new to Sworcery that are unexpectedly kinda cool.”

One of those surprises, Adams said, is the ability to use one of the Nintendo Joy-Cons as a pointer. By zeroing its internal motion sensor, it becomes a wand-like interface device that will allow players to play the game on a big screen in their living room. Combat can, of course, be handled by pressing buttons to activate the Scythian’s shield and sword.

“I’m super excited,” composer Jim Guthrie told Polygon. “[Nintendo] has done such a good job supporting indies. It’s a cool platform to be on for that reason alone.”

So long after the game’s initial release, Guthrie told Polygon that he feels more like a fanboy of Sworcery than a partner in its creation.

“It’s always been a weird game for me,” Guthrie said. “We all made the game, but at the same time it sort of led us in its creation. […] I’ve always felt it’s a big part of me, but I’ve always been separate from it. It feels like a dream, in a way.”

The team tells Polygon that one notable feature from the original was dropped from the Switch port. When Sworcery was first released, fans may remember seeing cryptic passages from it scattered throughout their friends’ Twitter feeds. In the original, players could connect their Twitter accounts and manually push updates on their in-game progress to their feed. It was a novel feature, and one that contributed to its viral success. But it eventually proved controversial as it created spam on the social media platform and, at times, spoiled some later elements of the game.

“There hasn’t been any cause to add or subtract anything. It’s the same heartfelt patchwork that it always was back in the day,” Adams said. “But it is the year 2018, and Twitter is a different place than it was ... the Switch isn’t as online as the initial platforms for Sword & Sworcery were, so the Switch version of Sworcery does not support Twitter nor does it highlight that aspect of the initial release that Sworcery did.”

Adams said that his small team at Superbrothers is still toiling away at their next game, but was unable to add any details on it at this time.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is expected to arrive on Nintendo Switch this October.