Nintendo delays the release of the Wii U’s ‘Zelda’ game

March 27, 2015 | 4:26 p.m.
Nintendo's Wii U take on "The Legend of Zelda" is due in 2015. (Nintendo)

Nintendo’s Wii U take on “The Legend of Zelda” is no longer due this year. (Nintendo)

Early footage of the Wii U’s take on “The Legend of Zelda” franchise has wowed fans, showing the game’s hero, Link, riding off into the wilderness on a horse and then soaring into the air to fire a magical bow. Fans, however, are going to have to wait a while to go adventuring with Link.

Nintendo of America late Friday revealed that the game is no longer on target for a 2015 release. After stating in December that the game was to be available this year, Nintendo reversed course and said the title needs more development time.

“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,” said the project’s leader, Eiji Aonuma, in a video posted to Nintendo’s social networks.

“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.”

Aonuma boasted that the next “Zelda” title will come with a “freedom of exploration that hasn’t existed in any ‘Zelda’ game to date,” and he added that the development team is continuing to bring new ideas into the mix.

“It now feels like we have the potential to create something that exceeds even my own expectations,” Aonuma  said. “As I have watched our development progress, I have come to think that rather than work with meeting a spastic 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.”

Nintendo did not give an updated release window, but early indications are that it’s going to be a bit of a wait. The video game industry will descend upon Los Angeles in June for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), and Nintendo said on Twitter that it won’t be bringing “Zelda” to the conference.

Earlier, Aonuma told Hero Complex that he wished to drastically re-imagine the series in bringing it to the Wii U. “It’s not that anyone is telling me we have to change the formula,” Aonuma said. “I want to change it. I’m kind of getting tired of it.”

Nintendo in recent years has focused on reissuing past “Zelda” games, most recently “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask” for its handheld system the 3DS. “Majora’s Mask” is heralded as one of the more experimental titles in the franchise’s nearly 30-year history as it broke from the dungeon-exploration formula.

Aonuma has hinted that any new “Zelda” game for the Wii U would as well. In introducing footage from the game at last year’s E3, Aonuma spoke of a more “open” “Zelda” game, one in which the player is relatively free to explore the universe outside of a linear path.

“As soon as those boundaries are removed it means you can enter any area from any direction,” Aonuma said in a promotional film. “So the puzzle-solving in this game begins the moment the player starts to think about where they want to go, how they will get there and what they will do when they arrive. This is a clean break from the conventions of past games in the ‘Zelda’ series, where you had to follow a set path and play the scenario in a right order.”

– Todd Martens | @Toddmartens | @LATherocomplex


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8 Responses to Nintendo delays the release of the Wii U’s ‘Zelda’ game

  1. Karen says:

    My two cents (or so),

    The first Zelda game, Legend of Zelda, for the first Nintendo console was, and still IS the best, most “enjoyable” game I have ever played. Period!

    Forget the “incredible” graphics, new ideas, etc ad infinitum. All the improvements to the game have only decreased the plain old “playability” of the game for me. I loved the feel of hitting that button and seeing the strike register as a strike immediately. Instant gratification! I would love a new release with just the old map of Hyrule with new treasures to find that are hidden more creatively.

    When I have to sit there pressing buttons to watch videos or messages flash away, it stalls the game. It may be pretty, but it is boring.

    Now we pretty much depend on the walk throughs and guide books from the experts because the games have become more complicated. It was so much better when we had to make our own maps and figure out where we would end up if we went through this or that door.

    I recently bought my nephew an old console & the original cartridge (the battery still works!), and though he bragged about being able to beat any game in a week or two, he has still not gotten very far after months of trying because I forbade him to get help from the internet. All his experience at the “shoot ’em up” games has been useless to him, because with Legend of Zelda, he has to use his brain and LEARN.

    I wish the developers would realize this. I am not the only player who feels this way either!

    Bring back the classic game with new options! It would take less effort to do too!

    • Jacob says:

      Christmas morning 1986. That game wasted so many hours of my life, because back then there werent big releases all year long. We had our hidden gems that we found through referral or the guy behind the counter at the used game store. Though games back then were so difficult to squeeze more time and effort out of them to keep us playing til next holiday season.

      I agree that Zelda is very special to me because of when it came into my life, but the best LoZ ever? Not for me.

      Im not going to call nostalgia blindness because one of my all time favorites is legend of dragoon and I know that game is still good today cause I dust off my PS1 and play through it every once in awhile.

      Just saying in my opinion. Bells and whistles and a fancy coat of paint do matter to me now. Gaming has come so far that I love to see what a developer can create over the course of so many years. Heres hoping it stands the test of time like the first generation did for you, too.

      • @camoguard says:

        I agree with Jacob. There is nothing wrong with the first Zelda for its time. But there are several reasons to prefer most newer Zelda titles, especially the most loved Zelda titles in particular: Ocarina of Time and Link to the past. Only one console Zelda was a disappointment to me and that is the second oldest Zelda. Every other one has had its own magic.

  2. Deku says:

    Sounds like Nintendo is slowly, sadly, falling apart.

    • Matt says:

      I don't know that that's true. If I were a cynic, I'd say simply that development for the WiiU isn't their top priority because the installed userbase is so much smaller than the 3DS…so they probably don't have all their resources working on the title. Additionally, Zelda is a flagship title, so even though they might not expect it to sell the millions of discs that past iterations have, they still need to get it right.

  3. Dan says:

    I agree. The old game is magic. Took me 4 days nonstop (only bathroom breaks) to finish it.

  4. Damon Hastings says:

    I completely agree with Aonuma. Everyone whined and b*$%^# and moaned when Twilight Princess was repeatedly delayed by "irrational perfectionists". But when it did finally come out, it was the best game ever made. Literally. According to nearly all gaming charts. If you're looking for a nonstop flood of quickly and cheaply made games, you should look into owning a Playstation.

    And I'm all for a more "open exploration" style universe, too. One of the best things about Ocarina of Time was that it had a somewhat revolutionary (for its time) open universe. When I first broke out onto Hyrule Field and realized I could go *anywhere*, it was like someone had taken chains off me that I hadn't even realized were there. Subsequent titles went back to a more linear gameplay, which I guess is better for kids, but I found it disappointing. I'd love to see an even more open universe than Ocarina of Time.

  5. Ryan says:

    And there goes the 30 dedicated WII U owners, switching to a different platform. Nintendo has become the red headed stepchild of next gen systems. They need to just drop the console division and focus on handhelds. And maybe cheese. I bet they could make good cheese too.

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