Virtuos discusses challenges of bringing BioShock and XCOM to Switch

Bioshock Virtuos BioShock XCOM Switch

We’ve seen some truly amazing ports to Nintendo Switch hardware over the last few years, including the likes of The Witcher 3 and XCOM 2. One team that has delivered some stellar ports is Virtuos, which brought BioShock: The Collection and XCOM 2 Collection to Switch last year. The team recently spoke with Japanese publication Automaton about the hurdles of developing for Switch, and that discussion has been translated by Nintendo Everything. In short, it takes a ton of effort to bring AAA collections to Nintendo Switch.

Between the two 2K collections, Virtuos explained how XCOM 2 may have provided the biggest obstacle for porting. The game was initially optimized to run using over 7 GB of memory on PC, and Nintendo Switch contains just 3.2 GB. Constant optimization over its 10-month development cycle was needed to get XCOM 2 up and running properly on Switch.

Virtuos BioShock XCOM Switch

Meanwhile, all three BioShock games that form the collection are from the PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 generation. However, they still required substantial work to run well on Nintendo Switch. The games’ age meant there was some source data missing that the team had to account for, and it also took months to get in contact with a vendor and resolve challenges surrounding the fact that the first two games run on an “extremely old version” of Havok.

Both of these collections took about 10 months to port, with XCOM 2 needing around 30 developers and BioShock: The Collection requiring a team of around 40. We’re continually impressed with developers bringing complex games to Nintendo Switch, and Virtuos did a fine job with XCOM and BioShock.

What would you like to see ported to Switch in future?


Ben Kerry
Freelance Writer. Work seen elsewhere at Eurogamer & Gamereactor. Fan of action, racing and straight up walkin' in any video game he can get his hands on. When he's not gaming, Ben spends his time listening to way too much Guns N' Roses, watching football and probably eating somewhere...