“From the beginning, we were thinking of releasing this title on both platforms.”
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Nintendo announced earlier this year that the then still untitled Wii U Zelda game would be coming to the Nintendo NX alongside the Wii U when it launches next year. This was something that most people had expected- given the game’s suspicious delays, lack of media, and the fact that Nintendo have once before done something exactly like this with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, there were probably very few people who didn’t see this coming.
But the NX port was not a last minute decision- it apparently was something that the development team had had in mind for the game from the outset, when they began development of the game. Speaking to IGN, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, and Eiji Aonuma, who is producer of the Zelda franchise, and is also overseeing the new game, spoke about the NX port, and what led to it.
“It’s complicated because as we’re developing this – obviously development of the NX started a while ago – and unfortunately, I’m sorry, but the development of this game took a lot longer than expected,” Miyamoto said. ” We really felt like we would be able to get it done last year, but there was a lot of struggle with using the physics engine, so that’s why it took a long time. Also, when we thought about developing a Zelda game for the NX, it would have to be way further down the life cycle of the system. And this game, rather than really focusing on the unique features of the Wii U, it’s really a game you sit down and get into. There was a change in direction, so we decided to develop for both consoles a while ago. “
Aonuma was even more candid, admitting that the game had been planned for the NX from very early stages in its development cycle.
“From the beginning, we were thinking of releasing this title on both platforms. With Twilight Princess, I was looking at this new platform called Wii and I had more of an outsider objective view of ‘Oh this is coming out’, but for this one I was slightly more involved with the NX and just judging on the timing of development. When we were going to finish this, we thought it might be fun to have that available for the NX as well. I don’t see it as something too unfortunate. I think it’s nice to have a single title that can be played on two different platforms.”
On the whole, it’s a sensible strategy, and I don’t think it will make too many people angry- but I do wish that Nintendo had been more forthcoming and honest about the entire thing.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will launch on Wii U and Nintendo NX in 2017.