Skip to content

ARMS Creators Explain How Nintendo Keep Switch File Sizes So Small

Game Informer caught up with ARMS producer Kosuke Yabuki and art director Masaaki Ishikawa to talk extensively with them about the creation of the game. You can read the full interview here, but one interesting point was how the teams over at Nintendo keep the file sizes of their games so small. For instance ARMS is only 2.2 gigabytes.

This is a broader question I have about Nintendo games in general. Mario Kart is an example of it, Breath of the Wild is an example of it – Arms is only 2.2 gigabytes big and it looks great. How does Nintendo make these games so small?

Yabuki: A lot of effort and technique goes into limiting the size of the games and we really think it improves the user experience by shortening the load times and making it quicker to get into a game. And we take into account the animations as well and make those fit into the smaller size to make it more enjoyable for the user’s experience.

Ishikawa: In development, we discuss all sorts of detailed elements, but we also talk about the first things that the players are gonna notice and we focus our resources there, so I’m really happy when people appreciate that and we create good art as a result.


50 thoughts on “ARMS Creators Explain How Nintendo Keep Switch File Sizes So Small”

    1. It’s not just the code that takes up space though. That’d mean most games waste billions of lines of code, and I doubt Amy games are really billions of lines of code.
      A lot of the data for Xbox, ps4 and pc is from higher resolution textures, high quality music and sounds with multi channel 7.1 uncompressed audio and video.

      1. You’re correct! Breath of the Wild on Wii U is only 21.5 MB of code. The rest is all models, textures, sounds, physics data, fonts, level data, and video.

        1. I really liked min min for the first testpunch but after getting to try twintelle I think I might like her more. Her floating and slowing down time ability is quite dope. Also, her strong build doesn’t hurt things either. 😁

              1. Yea Nintendo and the shit games with the cartoon graphics and the new one named arms is even worse ! (and i m typing this while i am waiting my next match on arms :P )

                1. Cell shaded graphics aren’t weak at all. Lol. But I see your point. It’s not on the ps4 level. But if it can run games that look slightly better than bayonetta 2, then it should suffice. Nintendo fans have learned to place gameplay over visuals

                  1. This is the problem. Nintendo fans need to learn to place gameplay over visuals. And again this is the problem. The rest of the people dont want to do that they want graphics and when they have graphics they think they got also gameplay.

                    Nintendo got the gameplay many years now…why the dont move on with the graphics already?…………Like was on gamecube.

                  2. Something a little better than Batonetta 2 would be perfectly fine by me, but there are already games that aren’t coming to the switch (witcher and destiny 2 to name a few), don’t care much for those games, but Nintendo needs the same support the other consoles have if they want to stay for the long run

                                1. And gorgeous as fuck. It’s easy to see why it takes so much more space. The detail and environments are stunning. One of my favorite games of all time. It is so much fucking fun!!

                                2. I wish I understood how these things worked. So, are games that are larger in file size, but without good reason, only large because there is a lot of unnecessary code typed up in the game which isn’t used?

                                  Is this article implying that Nintendo keeps their development nice and tidy so that file sizes are as small as possible?

                                    1. The programming is a tiny part of it because code in general barely takes up space. What takes up 99percent of the spec will be resources like textures,models,audio. Nintendo makes smart uses of their resources, those resources are also not big since the system they are used on isn’t really strong enough to handle super high quality assets like the ps4 or Xbone

                                      1. It’s a mix of a lot of things but it more so has to do with how they store data. If they can get away with doing cutscenes in-game, than that saves on a bunch of storage. If they can get a similar equivalent effect using smaller or fewer textures, that will save a lot of space. If they can do their animations with as few keyframes as possible and merge different animations to remove redundancy and stuff like that, that will save on a lot of space. All the code for game only a takes up tens of megabytes so it itself doesn’t take up a lot of space, but smart use of code could also have dramatic effects on the things I just mentioned and thus save a lot of space.

                                        While the Switch doesn’t necessary have high specs, higher specs can save on space too. Having more CPU performance could allow a developer to apply further compression to their assets and higher GPU performance could open up the possibilities of using textures or particles that are procedurally generated on-the-fly and saves the need for having to store textures on disk. A more common example would be for lighting. Some games use “baked-in” lighting maps to save on performance but it means the pre-made light maps needs to be stored on-disk, but if a system had more GPU and memory performance, than a dev can use dynamic lighting which not only generated lighting and shadows on-the-fly but allows the lighting in the scene to change.

                                      2. If you look at a game from the mushroom kingdom, and games such as Wolfenstein New Order, DOOM, BattleField 1 Campaign, etc… the difference is obvious. no mystery here folks.

                                    2. Even with the physical copies the 500 GB hard drive on the PS4 is a whole lot of hot air seeing just how much space each game requires, so it’s nice to see that smaller file sizes are from a deliberate effort on Nintendo’s part. At 13 gigs MAX per game it looks like a fairly-priced 128 GB card can get you pretty far.

                                    3. Ah, the wonders of file compression. I’m still amazed by Xenoblade Chronicles X being only 22 gigs despite how massive it is as well.

                                      These guys really are masters of memory management on their end (though I still won’t defend the small HD space on Wii U and Switch being only 32G).

                                      1. This isn’t file compression, This is smart use of files in addition to not having that many and those files not being that big since the system can’t really handle super high quality assets.

                                        1. Xenoblade X was certainly a work of ingenuity. I would have loved to see what the devs could do with XB1 hardware. It would have been even more breathtaking.

                                          Still an amazing feat of coding!

                                      2. Ive already thought about this quite a bit and im certain by now that a partial deterrent for 3rd party companies is that nintendo simply puts much more effort into optimizing their games while ports such as sonic all stars racing transformed sucked huge, massive balls in terms of performance even though they were graphically inferior to the first parties.

                                      3. Pingback: ARMS, ecco perchè occupa poco spazio su Nintendo Switch -

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: