Plus he clarifies, once and for all, the differences between the two versions.
The best, most important title for the Nintendo Switch at launch – and probably for the entire first year, through to the Holiday season, when Super Mario Odyssey will launch – is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But while the game is being promoted heavily by Nintendo as a Switch title, the dirty secret remains that it was always a Wii U game first- it was just ported to the Switch.
So how did that happen? When did that happen? When exactly did Breath of the Wild make the jump to Nintendo’s newest machine? In an interview with Eurogamer, Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma discussed details about the jump to Nintendo’s new system.
“Regarding the Nintendo Switch version, it was spring last year when we made a firm decision to also release on that platform,” Aonuma said. “Obviously that required some adjustments to the development process and changes to be made, and to continue developing the Wii U version alongside Nintendo Switch, that was spring last year.”
Aonuma also confirmed that no matter what you have been hearing, Breath of the Wild has absolutely no differences on the Wii U and Switch- except for one small one. “Actually from a gameplay perspective, it is the same experience on both platforms,” he said. One small difference is that the loading times on Nintendo Switch are slightly faster. That really stems from the media that the game is on – on Wii U it loads from a disc, whereas on Nintendo Switch it’s on a Game Card, so it’s a result from that.”
Was there ever a possibility that the game might launch for the Switch only? Considering how important it appears to be to the Switch’s prospects, also making it available on the Wii U seems to be an almost self defeating prospect. “No, we never considered not releasing the Wii U version, and changing development solely to Nintendo Switch – that was never on the cards. As I mentioned, this title started development as a Wii U title, so first and foremost we started it on Wii U. After we also decided to develop for Nintendo Switch… if we’d gone more in that direction, using Nintendo Switch console’s other features that Wii U doesn’t have, we felt that a gap might have opened up in terms of the experience between both platforms.
“With Nintendo Switch we’re really happy with that functionality of being able to take it wherever you go, but beyond that we really wanted the gameplay experience to be the same, and for Wii U fans to be able to experience the same game people who play it on Switch will be able to experience.”
So, there you have it- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was always going to make Wii U and Switch, and it was the developers’ express intent for it to maintain total parity across both systems. The game launches on Wii U and Switch on March 3.