Astral Chain now has details on its multiplayer mode, or what may be considered a multiplayer mode. While one of the appeals of the Nintendo Switch is the claim to play anywhere with anyone, Astral Chain doesn’t seem to follow suit.
Now, generally speaking, a gamer’s interest in a Nintendo console boils down to their interest in Nintendo's library of games. In comparison to considering purchasing consoles from competitors, the games are much more of a factor where Nintendo is concerned. Historically, first-party titles have really been the only draws of their systems, as third-party support has seemingly been a lesser concern to Nintendo, traditionally.
It’s tough to survive that way, which is partially why the Wii U performed poorly. It did have an audience to its small library of games. However, the ports of Wii U titles to the Switch represent the 2012 console's lack of popularity and Nintendo's attempt at revitalizing, in reality, well-received games.
Regardless, the more popular and commercially successful Nintendo Switch is getting support from celebrated developer Platinum Games, who is the developer behind the Bayonetta series. While Bayonetta 3 is an upcoming Switch title, next month's Astral Chain has been a topic of discussion for its seemingly unique gameplay and for curiosity over existing multiplayer modes.
Many onlookers have surely seen this high-octane and action-packed title in motion by now in trailers and the extended Nintendo Treehouse gameplay showcase at E3 2019. Likely, one of the most frequent concerns has been with regards to co-operative play.
The player controls two separate characters: a police officer and a Legion, which is a ‘tamed’ version of the Chimeras that are the game’s main enemies. The two are both linked by a chain. As such, co-op may seem inevitable, but there’s information likely to receive a mixed reaction on that score.
The good news is, co-op is a possibility in a roundabout way. The bad news is that it’s going to be very difficult to play that way. As Kotaku reports, at E3, the game’s director, Takahisa Taura, stated the following:
“I thought as I was developing the game that, of course, it could be made into that kind of system where it could be split up, but generally what I wanted to do is have one player control two characters at the same time… the Switch actually has this great feature where, obviously, you can detach the Joy-Con and share play. We wanted to take advantage of that as well.”
In this way, each character will be controlled by one of the Joy-Cons. Be warned, though: playing this way will be tough. Taura went on to explain that going for a high score will be "challenging... playing in two-player." Taura added that "there are several synchronous moments where you're doing attacks with Legion at the same time," so if co-op is being played, "it's almost like you would actually have to be of the same mind."
In conclusion, co-operative play seems to be difficult to play. As such, it will be necessary to have a friend or someone who thinks and implements strategies identically to your own.
Astral Chain releases August 30th on the Nintendo Switch.