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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Sportsmates are customisable, but Nintendo wants to remind you Miis are available in Nintendo Switch Sports

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Miixed messaging.

Last month (April), Nintendo Switch Sports released for the console in its title, and according to Nintendo, sales are off to a very good start. In Europe and North America, a big purchasing group are 20 or 30-somethings with Wii nostalgia. That's important to note.

When we first saw Nintendo Switch Sports in the February 2022 Nintendo Direct, I did notice that the avatars, the Sportsmates, aren't Miis. But that was far from the first thing I noted. I mean, yeah, it's on the Nintendo Switch, which has definitely deprioritised Miis. But Miis are still an option for Nintendo Switch Sports, though some people still don't know that. But Nintendo really wants you to know that right now, very recently releasing articles about how you can use your Mii characters in several Nintendo Switch games, top of all Nintendo Switch Sports. They're even making themselves look goofy by opening themselves up to embarrassment with polls with results like these, all for the sake of letting you know that you can use Miis:

Nintendo has recently released a four-part “Ask the Developer” series on Nintendo Switch Sports. We learn a lot there about their philosophies when developing the game, including the difficulty of developing with a motion controls game when you have a controller shaped like a Wii Remote versus a Nintendo Switch Joy-Con, which was a difficulty I noted (and included a picture of) around the time on the Online Play Test. The weights of the controllers when holding them, including where one thinks the centre is, is drastically different.

But we also learn that the developers, headed by people who worked on Wii Sports (though the lower-level members of the team haven't), spent years making drafts of the game that were thrown out in their effort to try to make Nintendo Switch Sports very different than Wii Sports. This included having your player character inside of a robot, and the robot makes the action upon a motion. ...But that was deemed too complicated and detracting from the no-skill-floor pick-up-and-play nature of the game. Still, they did make Sportsmates because having your only option be Miis—which do not have arms—would be weird in high definition graphics. Animating Sportsmates took the team considerably more effort than the Miis.

Additionally, the development team is supporting the game as a sort of live service title for the first year, beyond making Golf available as a free update later in 2022. They are releasing weekly collections of outfits, accessories, stamps, and titles that allow you to greatly customise your look in a sort of Fortnite effect. (Except it's free and they're not asking for your money.)

This definitely helps counter my initial opinion of the Sportsmates (from the Online Play Test) that they are “ugly non-Miis.” In that test, you couldn't customise your Sportsmates, similar to starting out in Fortnite. But in the final product plus the collections, you don't even have to play as an ugly human anymore. For example, the Relaxation Collection features a much more visually appealing Squirrel Body.

Nintendo Switch Sports Squirrel Body Sportsmate cute outfit sweater relaxation collection
For now, you can switch between a Human Body (or a Mii) and the Squirrel Body.
The Squirrel Body's fur colour can't be customised here, but outfits and glasses, yeah. No hats or face/hairstyle changes.
Screengrab from GameXplain's Squirrel Gameplay video.

I think this is way better, and from what people are rumouring (and it makes intuitive sense), there will be more customisable non-human body types coming in the future. Miis could never do that and still cannot. (You cannot have a Squirrel Body Mii.) I think the criticism doesn't come from an objective comparison between Miis and Sportsmates, but from what I said at the beginning: People are nostalgic for Miis and Wii Sports, and so even though the developers explicitly came into development wanting to do something new with Nintendo Switch Sports, people are still going for the Miis even if they might not fully remember their details. (Yoshikazu Yamashita, the game's director, believes people don't actually remember that Miis in Wii Sports lacked arms. Did YOU?) But... look at it factually. Sportsmates can go into squirrel suits. Miis can't do something like that unless they're in Super Smash Bros....which this isn't.

Well? Do you see any merits to Sportsmates? How about Sportsmates with a Squirrel Body? Do you really think that Miis are all that? Hopefully you knew that Miis were playable prior to this article releasing. If you didn't... then you've probably fallen victim to the disinformation campaign surrounding Nintendo Switch Sports. Not that Ludwig or KoopaTV in general is here to promote that.


  1. Firstly, the squirrel is even worse. Secondly, I thought Nintendo was trying to move away from the Mii. Mii symbolizing the Wii era naturally. What’s the point of developing these sports mates when people’ll just wanna use what their familiar with and can customize more, the miis. I wonder if this game would have the love that Wii sports got if it had been released along with the switch instead of the dreaded “1 2 Switch”.

    1. Well, going back to the Miyamoto vs. Reggie article on Wii Sports, it could depend on if it's bundled or not. 1-2 Switch wasn't.

      Squirrel is great. :(

      Miis are less customisable than the Sportsmates in this game, though.

    2. We are too far from the switch’s launch to mirror the impact of Wii sports regardless of how well the switch is doing. 1 2 Switch wasn’t bundled initially but I think I’ve seen some new bundling packages at the store, gotta get rid of those unsold copies somehow.

      Thinking of sales and the future, I wonder if PlayStation and Xbox would reign over Nintendo if they had portable consoles like the switch. The PS Vita is more aligned with the DS, which is nice, but not the same console experience.

      Squirrel is the pure definition of Perfunctory.

    3. If the Squirrel Body is perfunctory, wot do you think of the normal Sportsmate designs?

    4. Still horrifying, but more in the uncanny valley so it’s forgivable. Lifeless eyes…

    5. Lifeless is generally how I prefer my humans, anyway. So I'm fine with that!


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