The Legend of Zelda has been delayed until 2017 to allow it to be launched alongside the Nintendo NX, but is this such a bad thing? March is only three months after the holiday season, when Zelda was originally slated to launch. While the game is being launched with the NX, much like Twilight Princess was with the Wii, fans won’t have to wait for the original version: it is releasing simultaneously with the Wii U version. The Legend of Zelda will be Nintendo’s prime focus at E3 2016, which is a bold move, so they are putting most of their stock in one game. This is not a bad thing though. In 2006, Nintendo launched the Wii with Twilight Princess. The result? A 75% attach rate to the console initially and over 7 million units sold. If you combine the GameCube sales and the Wii sales, it is the highest selling Zelda game of all time. Could The Legend of Zelda for the Wii U/NX do the same?
Twilight Princess was by no means a perfect game, but The Legend of Zelda for the NX/Wii U has the chance to be. After much feedback from fans following the series’ last two console incarnations, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma have had the chance to build the ultimate Zelda experience. A seemingly open world, this Hyrule’s landscape is breathtaking, and any place you can visually see, you can actually visit, which is astonishing on the Wii U’s hardware. It is unknown how long the game has been in development for the NX, but considering earlier this year Nintendo was lamenting that the game would be coming in 2016, I can’t imagine it being that long. That means that while portions of the game may be optimized for the NX, the ultimate playing experience will probably be on the Wii U.
When Miyamoto and Aonuma showcased the game on The Game Awards in 2014, they introduced players to a beautiful, open-world Hyrule full of plains of grass and treacherous mountains. Anywhere you can see, you can traverse. Many Zelda fans love the original above all else, and have been lamenting about the opportunity to be able to travel wherever you want without roadblocks or having to achieve x, y, and z step in order to access a certain area. They crave a game like the original Legend of Zelda, where you can explore wherever you want, complete any dungeon in almost any order, and have a level of combat difficulty that is not found in later Zelda games. While the recent Zelda games were a lot of fun and featured some amazing puzzles, the lack of combat difficulty and pure exploration plagued them, as well as too much handholding. The first few Zelda games had almost none of this. It seems that older Zelda players prefer more freedom and combat difficulty, whereas newer Zelda players prefer the story aspect of the games, which has been a more prominent feature in the latest installment. The Legend of Zelda for Wii U/NX has the chance to find a perfect balance between both.
The Legend of Zelda for Wii U/NX will be perfection because it will find this balance. With a breathtaking landscape, endless exploration, dungeons, (hopefully) improved combat difficulty, and no hand holding (hopefully), this really looks like it could be the ultimate Zelda game. Link is even shown wearing clothes from a number of different tribes, including the Gerudo and Sheikah, indicating he may be a scavenger of some sort. The story has the chance to be the best in the series and possibly a follow-up to Skyward Sword, if the state of the land is any indication. Zelda has always been about puzzles, exploration, and unique gameplay mechanics. The Legend of Zelda for Wii U/NX will put all of these together and create a perfect Zelda game and the ultimate single player experience because Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto know this is what the fans want and are going back to the series’ roots. They started this with A Link Between Worlds and are finishing this journey by going all-out with The Legend of Zelda for Wii U/NX.
The Legend of Zelda is a timeless franchise. It is a shame that the newest installment for the franchise couldn’t come out this year to commemorate the series’ 30th anniversary, but polishing the game further for its simultaneous launch on the Nintendo Wii U and the Nintendo NX is more important than rushing it out, and most importantly, it is an incredibly sound business decision. A few months isn’t going to kill anyone. It has been in development for so long, and The Legend of Zelda for Wii U/NX will be perfect because it will find the balance between the early games and the later games, bringing together old fans and new ones alike, finally uniting the Zelda Universe into one and creating an experience that all can enjoy.