It’s been a long time coming for The Legend of Zelda fans, but it seems that the wait for an original Wii U entry is almost over with a new game slated for the platform in 2016. This could be a marketing disaster for the NX, however, which will also be coming in 2016 as soon as July of this year.
The new open-world Zelda game was pushed back to 2016 because the development team had “discovered several new possibilities for the game.” They had also requested an extended development period in order to bring their ideas full circle. There’s usually not an issue with a game being delayed for quality purposes; in fact most gamers prefer it when the game in question is a high profile one. Similar to the Uncharted 4 delays, Zelda fans (although antsy) are willing to wait a bit longer for the next installment if it means getting a more refined game.
Nintendo usually does one of two things when they release a new Console: launch the platform with a brand new Mario game or a brand new Zelda game. Seeing as the latest Zelda game is going to be released on the Wii U, then the only other viable option is a new Mario game. Unless, however, Nintendo throws us all a curveball and launches the system with another classic IP, but that seems unlikely. This really puts Nintendo into a corner and because they are gearing up to lay one of their worst selling systems to rest, what does that mean for Zelda?
It is obvious that practically everyone who owns a Wii U currently is going to buy the newest addition to the franchise, but people who haven’t converted to the Wii U are going to be missing out. Nintendo is going to be launching their most anticipated game on a dead console; the lifespan of Wii U has only a matter of weeks left before its successor takes its stand in the limelight. Right now with the limited information we have on both the NX and the impending Zelda game, it looks as if Nintendo is just tossing a perfectly good Zelda game out the window. Unless they are taking a different approach and the real reason behind the delays is to develop it for not only the Wii U, but also for its successor.
Although it would ideal to release the game on both systems, there’s no telling what issues they might run into when trying to transfer what’s already been created for the game over onto their industry-changing platform. The even bigger issue with releasing a cross-platform game in such a small and rapidly closing window is that Nintendo would be releasing a launch game for their biggest system release yet while the game is also available on a cheaper system. Not to mention the new console will be sacrificing functionality and processing due to the antique hardware the game it was originally designed to run on, and depending on the NX’s gameplay system, the overall game might feel a bit wonky without a Gamepad if it is an integral part to the game.
It is unlikely that Nintendo knowing all of this would release the game cross-platform due to the major gap in hardware they are about to make. The best thing they could have done for the newest Zelda game was to remove it off the Wii U entirely, delay the game as they develop it as an NX exclusive and give Nintendo fans a clear-cut reason to purchase their newest console upon release by pairing it with a must-own Zelda game designed exclusively for it. It is unlikely, however, that this will happen as depending on how far in the development process they currently are it would be to expensive to scratch just about everything and restart their development cycle for an NX release. It would end up being a hot mess and the game would end up being a disaster.