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.”
RECENT AND RELATED