Nintendo fans, myself included, gasped in disbelief yesterday as Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma announced that the next installment in the series in no longer slated for a 2015 release. While many took this delay personally, shouting across the internet, claiming Nintendo to be “incompetent” and “unfaithful”, this may in fact be the best thing to happen to this game.
The Legend of Zelda series has always been held in high regard across the video gaming scene, heralding new gameplay mechanics, creating exotic, fantastical worlds to explore, and giving the player a story and character to believe in. Similarly, the Legend of Zelda series has almost always been, you guessed it, delayed. Even as far back as Ocarina of Time, Zelda titles have been delayed and polished, becoming even better on release. And if that is the case here, then I am all for it. In fact, I am stoked. I remember seeing the previous visuals of the new overworld and thinking how open it looked, and also thinking how barren it felt. It was as if the landscape was alive, but with no one inhabited it. With Aonuma’s announcement, he gave details of how there are new ideas and concepts that he and his team want to explore, possible expanding upon those concerns. Imagine what new ideas he may be thinking of and how it could forever change the series. New dungeons mechanics or enemy types? New story ideas or heck, maybe even adding voices to characters. Add any of that to the gorgeous open world and there is a recipe for pure excitement, entertainment and adventure. Who wouldn’t want that? I know it’s been repeated time and time again, especially in this day of game development but as Miyamaoto once stated, “A delayed game is eventually good. A bad game is bad forever.”
What is more concerning is the current lack of a holiday game for Nintendo. There have always been huge releases based on staple franchise released in the fall, and with Zelda now missing the mark, what will fill it’s place? Many have speculated that somehow Nintendo just won’t release anything this fall. Nintendo has surprised us in the past, but they would NEVER be that thick. They could always shift a currently announced game to a later date, but then it runs the risk of thinning out the release calendar too much. Nintendo has some great titles and DLC in the form of Splatoon and Mario Kart coming as soon as May. Not to forget that both Next Level and Retro both has games in the development pipe line for years and we still don’t know anything about either of them. I’m sure Nintendo knows what they are doing and still have a card or two left in their hand for this year and come E3, we will all feel much better, with to without Zelda.
Nintendo never ceases to amaze me. They always are willing to risk something for the sake of the integrity of their hardware and franchises and this delay is just another confirmation of that. I think what bothers people the most is the uncertainty of it all. I myself haven’t really had a new Wii U title to play lately and potentially losing another one is definitely heart-breaking. But once we finally get our hands on it, it will be all that much sweeter. Joe