There is plenty of content for King of Fighters fans on Switch, but it’s all in the form of retro releases. It certainly would be nice to get one of the newer King of Fighters installments on Switch, and the dev team agrees. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like something that’s technically feasible.
In an interview with GameReactor, King of Fighters director Yasuyuki Oda spoke out on the team’s efforts to get more recent King of Fighters games to Switch, but it’s something that just didn’t pan out. Unfortunately, it seems like things are going to stay that way going forward.
Yes, obviously if you have a Switch, you have a lot of our retro content, you can play almost all of SNK’s fighting games, and we investigated this issue even with King of Fighters XIV and even XV. One of the biggest problems with KoF is that you have three characters and you have to load all the resources between rounds and so on. It really didn’t go well with the hardware specs and the technical limitations of the Switch. It was something that really bugged us, we would love to do it and we are always thinking about it, but at the moment there are no plans.
I feel like XIV could 100% be done on Switch, but obviously I don't know anything about actual real-game programming. Just saying that Dragon Ball FighterZ could do it and you can actively switch characters in that, and have strikers.
This is one of the reasons I hope we're not far from a new, stronger Switch.
Before any "Switch hardware is too weak!" comments come in, I want to point out this isn't the case that Switch couldn't handle the game design of loading resources for 3 characters, etc.
It's that whatever backbone SNK used for the games is built with the assumption it has resources the Switch does not.
If the game were rebuilt with the Switch in mind, it would not at all be impossible to get the game running acceptably (or even better) on Switch, but for whatever reasons SNK decided that it isn't worth it to go that far.
I should note KoF XIV and XV are playable on the Steam Deck which is not too much more powerful than Switch. If Nintendo is not ready to release the followup to Switch, we're going to see more multiplatform games skipping Switch for Steam Deck at worst or at minimum, be stripped down ports running like at 480p30 or 360p24 instead even docked.
The ROI on Switch optimization of multiplatform games is starting to be not sustainable for 3rd parties. Even considering building a multiplatform game from scratch for Switch may not be feasible anymore (ie Dragon Quest XI S).
If Nintendo doesn't push a new stronger system, it will not be getting games like the next Monster Hunter especially since portable players would be able to get that on Steam Deck whenever that next installment is ready in the future. Capcom absolutely won't be building that MH from scratch on Switch or trying to optimize it for Switch.
SNK, put King of Fighters XI and XIII on Switch instead so that Nintendo players can have the last half of the Ash Crimson saga!
If you didn't notice, this is already the case with Monster Hunter World skipping the Switch. Yes, some games will of course skip the Switch if developers don't have the time or money to make a Switch version.
But Capcom still built another mainline entry in the series ground-up for the Switch, and it paid off for them.
It doesn't matter if Switch's hardware doesn't match PS/Xbox, as long as it is selling and has a good install base, a healthy amount of developers will put out games for it, even if it isn't the shiniest hardware on the market.
Nintendo has no need to push a stronger system at all for the near future. Maybe in another 3 or 4 years or so.
Until the quick fade a la end of Wii (Zelda: Skyward Sword didn't save the Wii).
The AAA Nintendo titles left post-Splatoon 3 and post-Pokemon Violet/Scarlet are...Metroid Prime 4 and BotW 2? Nintendo needs content, but being hamstrung by a now weakest of the current platforms puts Switch on the same parallel that ended the Wii.
A new Nintendo Direct with more AAA Nintendo titles beyond Prime 4 and BotW 2 would restore Switch's momentum somewhat even if 3rd parties start leaving a droves only leaving indies keeping things going a la WIi U if a new, stronger Nintendo platform is impossible right now.
It's funny you mention Wii, as it was the best-selling hardware of it's generation, beating out PS/Xbox by a mile, despite being inferior and having drastically less major third-party support. I'm not sure what you mean by "quick fade," as that wasn't the case, nor was there any need for Skyward Sword to "save the Wii." (Skyward Sword was still a sales success though, even if not reaching the highs of other entries.)
You'd only think Splatoon 3 and Prime 4 are all that's left if you haven't been paying attention for the last 5 years.
Nintendo in general only announces games when they are:
A. Within a year of release
B. After the marketing cycle of their current release ends
Prime 4 and BotW2 are outliers.
Of course there are more major first-party titles coming to Switch, just as there will be more major third-party titles coming to Switch.