We hope you weren’t hoping for cooperative Zelda action with anyone further than a few feet away from you.
Nintendo revealed that Hyrule Warriors, the Dynasty Warriors-flavored Legend of Zelda spin-off coming to the Wii U on Sep. 16, won’t feature online play, as IGN originally spotted. Instead, you’ll have to depend on local co-op if you want to play with a friend.
This is a weird move, notably because previous Dynasty Warriors games on non-Nintendo console have featured online support. Of course, let’s be honest, it is 2014. We expect any game with multiplayer to have online support, especially for a franchise that has already had the feature for awhile.
However, Nintendo has always been reluctant to fully jump aboard the online train, largely because it’s a space it can’t fully regulate. Online gaming is often full of cursing, racial slurs, and other ugliness, all of which goes against the publisher’s family-friendly image.
Still, Nintendo had been making progress. The recent Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U features solid online support that allows 12 players to race simultaneously. Of course, you oddly couldn’t voice chat during actual races, presumably to eliminate the urge for trash-talking. Still, it feels like progress.
But leaving online multiplayer completely off the table for Hyrule Warriors is a big step back, and it only further cements Nintendo’s perception as a company that’s slow to get with the times. It’s especially worrying when fans are still wondering about the online support for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. The online modes in the last series entry, Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii, were atrocious. We know a little bit about Nintendo’s plans for Smash on the Wii U (players can choose between competitive and more casual matchmaking systems), but we’re still not sure how well it will all work.
Of course, the important thing to note is that Hyrule Warriors and Super Smash Bros. represent a significant part of the rest of Nintendo’s 2014 software offerings, and now we know only one of them will offer online support. It gives you a decent idea of Nintendo’s priorities.