Nintendo revealed today that it’s delaying the most anticipated Wii U game of the year.
Zelda Wii U is no longer a 2015 release, according to producer Eiji Aonuma. The director explained that he has ideas that he wants to explore how to make the game better than first anticipated, but this will require more time. Not only is the game getting delayed, the company also said on its Miiverse social network that The Legend of Zelda will not make an appearance at the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo tradeshow in June. This is disappointing news for Wii U owners, but Nintendo has delayed Zelda games numerous times before — most notably when it held off on releasing The Twilight Princess on GameCube so that it could simultaneously hit the Wii in 2005.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) March 27, 2015
Nintendo trotted out Aonuma in a video on its Facebook page to detail all the bad news:
Here’s the full text of Aonuma’s statement:
“I’d like to share with you an update on our development progress on The Legend of Zelda for Wii U,” Aonuma said in a Facebook video. “Since I declared at The Game Awards in December that the game would launch in 2015, the directors and the many members of the development team have been working hard developing the game to make it the best it can be.
In these last three months, as the team has experienced firsthand the freedom of exploration that hasn’t existed in any Zelda game to date, we have discovered several new possibilities for this game. As we have worked to turn these possibilities into reality, new ideas have continued to spring forth, and it now feels like we have the potential to create something that exceeds even my own expectations.
As I have watched our development progress, I have come to think that rather than work with meeting a specific schedule as our main objective, and releasing a game that reflects only what we can create within that scheduled time, I feel strongly that our focus should be to bring all these ideas to life in a way that will make The Legend of Zelda on Wii U the best game it can possibly be.
So, I must apologize to you all that were expecting the game by year’s end, but we are no longer making a 2015 release our number one priority.
Instead, our priority is to make it the most complete and ultimate Zelda game. I hope to use the added time to make The Legend of Zelda for Wii U into a game that will reward you for your patience, so thank you for your continued support.”
This puts a gaping hole right in the heart of the Wii U’s release schedule for the rest of 2015. The Nintendo console now only has games like Yoshi’s Wooly World, Splatoon, Mario Marker, and Star Fox Wii U still coming this year. Maybe the publisher will announce more games at the upcoming E3 show in June, but the company will likely have nothing with the selling power of Zelda.
It’s an interesting time for Nintendo. It just announced earlier this month that it will start making mobile games with Japanese publisher DeNA. It coupled that revelation with the news that it is working on its next gaming-dedicated hardware codenamed “NX.” Nintendo president Satoru Iwata promised investors and gamers that it would talk more about that system in 2016.
Now, with Zelda Wii U slipping further away from today and closer to the possible launch of a Wii U successor, Nintendo could repeat a move it last did with the launch of the Wii. In 2005, the publisher announced it would delay the release of the GameCube’s last major game, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, so that it could debut simultaneously on both the older console and the brand new motion-controlled hardware. Nintendo did not say that’s what is happening here, but many gamers have already speculated that it is a possibility.