What just happened today? Considering the previous drought of official NX information from Nintendo, waking up to this chaotic storm felt like a tsunami’s worth of stuff. Most of the industry is rightfully buzzing about these developments, and people are appropriately still digesting this information. At the forefront of my mind, though, are lingering thoughts of dismay about the state of the current consoles, the Wii U and the 3DS.
The Wii U has been getting terrorized for the past year and a half or so, now. It’s been an exceptionally dry console with lackluster sales to boost it. I love the Wii U, don’t get me wrong, but the game drought has been next to torture. We got a few pieces of meat with Twilight Princess HD and Pokken Tournament, but the road has been scarce with quality and lasting titles. Stressing quality and lasting are important points. Of course, people were understandably not happy about the Nintendo E3 presentation last year. Leading through 2015, there were no new Pokemon titles, and no truly (emphasis on truly) significant first party titles save Super Mario Maker. Everyone has been waiting for the new Zelda game, which was supposed to come out in 2016 on the Wii U.
News for this has also been terribly dry, with some information presented at the E3 conference in 2014. Here and in-between, we’ve seen information about potential female Links and voice acting, a first for the franchise. With a dramatic focus and emphasis on a large world, this looked to be the game that everyone wanted in 2016 alongside Star Fox Zero. The only problem was that Star Fox Zero released recently and was critically disdained for its underwhelming game play that fared too much like Star Fox 64, being considered as a title that should have been at the Wii U’s launch, rather than years down the line. Zelda for Wii U could have brought some great sales this year, up until today.
Today, Nintendo released a bevy of news information about the NX, which will be releasing in March 2017. We’re less than a year away from it, and we know next to nothing about it. We’ve seen our fair share of leaks, too. U-shaped controllers, football controllers with built-in screens, concepts, and performance specs are out there as rumors, but nothing as fact. A Nintendo financial briefing took place today at Nintendo of Europe, and the company announced a release for the NX in March 2017, with no unveiling at E3. Furthermore, the briefing also announced that the new Zelda would also be delayed to 2017, to be launched with the NX.
Processing this information has been nothing short of upsetting. My emotions ranged from shocked to the 60 notifications this morning from colleagues and clients in my industry pool to crestfallen. Nintendo has a rough 2016 ahead of them. E3 2016 is going to represent a huge change of pace for Nintendo, who have interestingly decided that they would only have the new Zelda playable. Most of the upcoming Wii U releases are akin to “shovelware” titles that add no significance to the company other than as filler. This decision to postpone Zelda to 2017 means that the NX has to be nothing short of perfection. It also displays incredible confidence that both could potentially rock the industry.
Nintendo cannot afford to make these mistakes right now. With people peeved about Star Fox Zero’s crash landing in critical reception (for a first party title), now is the time to have a perfect hand of cards ready to play. As much as I want Nintendo to succeed, these announcements have only raised more questions rather than answers. What could the NX potentially have on it that could drive sales? In an era that has seen mobile gaming make an entrance in the gaming market, people in the Nintendo family of consoles need this immersion more than ever. I applaud Nintendo for their bold move, but I can see this having serious repercussions if it goes south. Good luck, Nintendo. Your 2016 is going to need it.