Let’s Put The Zelda Wii U Delay Into Perspective

If the delay of the Wii U Legend of Zelda game into 2016 has you seriously panicked about the Wii U, Nintendo, or your gaming schedule for the next 12 months, I think you need to chill.

A lot has come forth concerning Nintendo over the last couple weeks, but I think I’m gonna take a minute to go over what we know is still coming this year to the Wii U. Honestly, I think it has another couple significant years left in it despite the system’s commercial performance.

The Zelda delay is unfortunate but expected. Pretty much every major Zelda game of modern times has been hit with significant delays. It’s part of the Zelda Cycle. I’m already banking on late 2016 to be honest, and I don’t even think that’s gonna make it a cross-generation game with Nintendo’s recently announced “NX.” We don’t even know what NX is yet. We don’t know if it’s a console, handheld, or what, and right now I’d bet on that not even being available in 2016. Just push all that stuff to the back of your mind for a while, and let’s focus on what’s coming in the near term.

This delay doesn’t hurt me as much as Zelda delays usually do. I think it’s because Nintendo hadn’t really turned on the hype machine for this one yet. We’ve gotten basically two videos for the game and it hasn’t even received a title, and we know very few hard details. More importantly though, I have a lot else on my plate between now and whenever this game hits. Even if I disregard my backlog I’m awaiting Grand Theft Auto V (I passed up both console releases to wait for the PC version). My most anticipated game right now is The Witcher 3. Each of those games could get triple digit hours out of me. I still think No Man’s Sky is going to deliver, though many players might not “get” it, and I think it will at least make it out on the PS4 this year. My other hot 2015 game is Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. I’m continually impressed with how many different components seem to be coming together on that project, even despite recent happenings regarding Hideo Kojima and Konami.

If you’re one of those people who only owns a Wii U then Good God why?! This is coming from someone who only owned an N64 and a Gamecube during their respective eras. You could at least subsist on a few third party games for those consoles in-between big Nintendo releases. I seriously can’t imagine how someone survives on only a Wii U. That said, the main reason I’m doing this post is to point out that the Zelda delay doesn’t turn the Wii U into a barren wasteland for 2015.

A lot of people have come to agreement that the Wii U actually received a lot of the best console games of the last couple years. The problem is it received ONLY those games practically. It may be a bad choice as a primary console, but the Wii U has become indispensable as a secondary console, and will remain so throughout 2015.

Splatoon comes out in two months. I haven’t been heavily following the game, but it’s a new IP in a popular genre, which is pretty much what people want from Nintendo these days. And in Nintendo fashion it seems to be bringing a freshness to shooters people have similarly yearned for. I don’t have a good idea for how Splatoon will do commercially. I guess it’ll attract the same hardcore Nintendo audience games like Donkey Kong or Kirby do.

Yoshi’s Wolly World I think will do smiilarly to however well Kirby and the Rainbow Curse performed. It’s probably really smart Nintendo keeps putting out these mid-level platformers because when you look at the retail box market, it pretty much has the platforming genre wrapped up. Ubisofts recent Rayman entries are the only non-indie games to challenge Nintendo in what used to be a pillar genre of console games. And Nintendo is still pushing it with Mario Maker this year. Deep analysis of videos of this game suggests it’s gonna give us impressively robust tools to work with. I hope the existing ROM hack community accepts Mario Maker and goes wild with it. The only thing I’m unsure about is the distribution method since online infrastructure isn’t Nintendo’s forte.

I think Xenoblade Chronicles X just got promoted to the Wii U’s main savior of 2015. In every fashion it looks like the kind of game both Nintendo fans and Japanese gaming fans have wanted for a while — a thick, high-production-value role-playing game that actually looks like it utilizes 2015 open-world gaming technology. Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story were probably tests to see if the audience for RPGs hadn’t completely starved to death on Nintendo home consoles, and it hadn’t. I think if Chronicles X does well enough we’ll see Nintendo and Monolith push for something really spectacular on the next round of hardware.

The big X factor though remains Star Fox. Miyamoto said it’s gonna make it inside 2015, and I still believe him even though we’ve seen basically nothing of the game. It might even get promoted to a more central role at E3 with Zelda pushed back. All I can say is this looks like the first Star Fox Miyamoto has had a significant hand in since Star Fox 64, and I’d like to see that as a good thing.

Oh, and Nintendo has a tendency to announce games at E3s that end up coming out only a few months later. I wouldn’t be surprised if it tosses us at least one.

All this looks a lot better for me because I don’t even own a Wii U yet. If and when I do get one this year I will already have two years worth of excellent Wii U games to catch up on. There are also quite a few Virtual Console games I plan to devote significant time to on the Wii U. The console is seriously higher up on my list of priorities than the PS4 (but only because I already have a decent gaming PC).

BULLETS:

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