So back in March we received the sad news that the massively anticipated open-world game The Legend of Zelda Wii U was to be pushed back from the original end-of-2015 release date into an unspecified time in 2016. This meant that we wouldn't get to see any footage screened at E3 as had been expected, which dealt a blow to many a Nintendo fan's hopes and dreams. Last year's game announcement trailer is below, in case you somehow missed it or just want to relive the glory of the teaser footage:
Why Was It Delayed?
In a development update video Legend of Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma addressed fans directly and explained why the game would not be released in 2015 as originally planned:
"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 first-hand the freedom of exploration that hasn't existed in any Zelda game to date, we have discovered several new possibilities for this game."
These new possibilities arising during development for the game, Aonuma explains, gave birth to new ideas and concepts to work into the most ambitious instalment in the Legend of Zelda series, allowing the potential to create something to exceed even his own expectations. Exciting stuff.
"I feel strongly that our focus should be to bring all these ideas to life in a way that will make Zelda on Wii U the best game it can possibly be. So, I must apologise 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."
Fair enough, honestly it's quite refreshing to see a company take this attitude in a climate of release day download patches (and the video was a nice touch too). Though it is undoubtably a shame that we're having to wait a little longer to see The Legend of Zelda come to Wii U it's better to wait for the devs to take their time with it rather than having an incomplete or imperfect game rushed through to meet release dates (are you listening Ubisoft? You lot could take a leaf from Nintendo's book here).
Where's The Dev Team At Now?
Since then we haven't heard a whole lot more about the development, that is until last week when Aonuma spoke to Japanese game magazine Famitsu regarding the game's process:
"We're doing our best. Every day we improve it bit by bit. It is something that requires plenty of time however, so please believe in us and wait."
Slow and steady wins the race after all.
And then a few days later Aonuma spoke to IGN in another Zelda related interview and revealed that The Legend of Zelda is going to have a "surprise" twist, one which will address criticisms received by the earlier Wii platform game in the series, Skyward Sword. Interesting.
"We actually had some feedback from Skyward Sword, where people were saying, 'This is not exactly the Zelda game I was looking for, I was looking for a bigger open world'. Unfortunately, I can’t go into details but I’m hoping to put a surprise, or kind of a twist, on my view of an open world game. I hope that you’ll look forward to it."
Glossing over how great it is that the story rich The Legend of Zelda series is finally getting an open-world game, and how amazing what we've seen so far looks, what could this promised twist be?
Open world games tend to feature much of the same elements; a marked location map, the ability to fast travel between unlocked locations, a navigation system/compass, freedom of non-linear narrative movement, etc etc. It's hard to imagine a game that could come along with a twist to shake up the established format, but it's certainly making the upcoming Legend of Zelda sound even more intriguing (and I didn't think that was possible).
Whatever it is, Aonuma certainly plans to keep us getting right up until the final release date next year:
"If there’s a comment and [fans are] asking for certain element, I would think, 'Oh, why not interpret this in a different way that you wouldn’t expect?' That’s how we create a new element in a Zelda game. I always want to implement something new and surprising into every game."
The Legend of Zelda open world game for Wii U is expected to be released sometime in 2016, but work is currently ongoing on the exciting new project. In the meanwhile The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes has just released for the 3DS system, so check that out!