— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) April 27, 2016
It has finally happened. In an investor briefing this morning in Japan, Nintendo confirmed that the launch window for the Nintendo NX (still just a code name) will be March 2017, and they’re still referring to it as having a “brand new concept.” Then, they sent out a few tweets to confirm it to the public and confirm the Twilight Princess-style dual release of the upcoming Zelda game across NX and Wii U.
This news is no surprise at an investor meeting shortly after the release of the last big Wii U game on Nintendo’s calendar (though there is still Paper Mario: Color Splash on the way), but it likely comes as a blow to faithful Wii U owners and hardcore Zelda fans, as the Wii U won’t ever have its own exclusive Zelda title. The GameCube saw a similar split release at the end of its lifespan, but it had already gotten The Wind Waker; if anyone bought a Wii U mostly in anticipation of Zelda, it seems they could’ve just skipped it.
Also of note in Nintendo’s investor meeting was the fact that they won’t be showing the NX at E3 this year, instead focusing entirely on the new Zelda game (to be their only playable game at the show), which is a bit strange considering that game will be playable on the NX. It’s also strange considering that Nintendo said at last year’s E3 that the NX would be detailed at this one, but it makes sense in that that they likely planned for NX to hit stores before the holiday season in 2016 and then had to adjust plans as it became clear that wouldn’t happen.
After all, the Big N has to have known for a while that Zelda would come to both consoles, and they hadn’t officially pushed its release back to 2017 until just now, so they were probably trying to hit a 2016 release window for the NX and just couldn’t pull it off. (Their last three consoles launched in the holiday window.) Now that it seems the console, for whatever practical reasons—be it waiting on stronger software support, finalizing hardware, or anything else—won’t make it into stores in that timeframe, there’s no rush to show it off at E3.
So, it looks like all the prediction that the new Zelda would come to both consoles after all its delays was spot-on. Prediction that the console would be in stores by holiday 2016 was off by about four months, but that’s probably as disappointing to Nintendo as it is to the rest of us. Still, the NX is coming to cut the Wii U’s lifespan short, even if it’s a few months later than expected. Goodbye, Wii U. We hardly knew ye.
(via Nintendo of America on Twitter, featured image via Nintendo)
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