I have had a love-hate relationship with Nintendo for a good few years now. I unashamedly advocate their colourful, creative first-party games, that brim with Nintendo’s wonderful brand of whimsy. On the other hand, they can be incredibly frustrating at times. The naming of the Wii U was an embarrassment, the non-existing marketing was baffling, and their relationship with third-party developers desperately poor. The Nintendo 3DS (and equally stupidly-named New Nintendo 3DS) are fantastic handheld consoles, but for me it’s all about the home console. It feels like Nintendo oscillate between the sublime and the ridiculous on a weekly basis.
Let’s be clear here, the Wii U boasts some genuinely fantastic titles. Games like Splatoon, Xenonblade Chronicles X, Bayonetta 2 and Mario Kart 8 should by all means be system sellers. But there is something missing, and that something is The Legend of Zelda. Yes, the HD update of Wind Waker was superb, and the forthcoming HD version of Twilight Princess will be welcomed by Zelda fans, but Nintendo and the Wii U desperately need a brand new title.
Nintendo have repeatedly confirmed that the next Zelda will indeed be released on the Wii U, and why shouldn’t we believe them? Skyward Sword proved to be the perfect swansong for the original Wii, so why shouldn’t Zelda Wii U be the same for Nintendo’s current home console?
But then a gaming friend of mine decided to wind me up. His theory is that every day Zelda Wii U goes without a firm release date and indeed a proper title, it becomes increasingly probable that it will become a launch title for Nintendo’s forthcoming NX console. It frustrates me to admit it, but I can see his point. Although Nintendo protest to the contrary, it does feel somewhat like they’ve given up on the Wii U now. Upgrading development of the in-development Zelda title and releasing the gorgeous adventure on the NX would give the new console one hell of a push. In many ways, it would seem like a logical decision. Fortunately, Nintendo don’t seem to follow logic as we understand it!
The third possibility is of course that the next Zelda title will follow the route that Twilight Princess took. Released on both the Gamecube as its final first-party game, and as a release title for the Wii, Twilight Princess was met with critical acclaim and the decision proved to be a canny one. Even so, it feels unlikely that Nintendo will take this course of action. The Wii U has struggled so much that it would be little more than an empty gesture to release on both the Wii U and the NX, since the vast majority of fans would simply wait for the NX version to release.
In short, although delaying the next Legend of Zelda title to release on the NX may be a logical decision, it would further irritate disillusioned former Nintendo fans such as myself. Those of us who have purchased the Wii U may well have done so in part on the back of the promise of a brand new Zelda title. I know I did. If the renowned Legend of Zelda series skipped a console generation, it would be a further insult to Wii U adopters, that arguably Nintendo can ill afford at the moment.
So whatever you do, Nintendo, please don’t push the forthcoming The Legend of Zelda title on to the NX, forsaking the Wii U.