The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is poised to be the essential pick for gamers planning to buy a Nintendo Switch on launch day. The game is also set to be released for the Wii U — and, in fact, it will be the system’s final piece of first-party software.
Breath of the Wild was first announced as a Wii U exclusive in January 2013, just a couple of months after the console was released. More than three years later, in April 2016, Nintendo confirmed that the game would be released simultaneously for the Wii U and its successor, the Switch.
This isn’t the first time that Nintendo has implemented this strategy with a new Zelda game. In 2006, Twilight Princess launched for the GameCube as well as the Wii — and it turned out to be Nintendo’s final first-party game released for the GameCube.
Nintendo of America COO Reggie Fils-Aimé confirmed that Breath of the Wild was the Wii U’s final first-party title in an interview conducted after the Switch event that took place January 13. “From a first-party standpoint, there’s no new development coming after the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” he told Polygon. “We really are at the end of life for Wii U.”
This news shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given the middling performance of the Wii U over its life span. The console struggled to compete with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and from here on out, Nintendo will be preoccupied with ensuring that the Switch doesn’t suffer a similar fate.
There is some good news for anyone still using their Wii U on a regular basis. Fils-Aime acknowledged that many owners are still playing titles like Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon, and stated that online functionality isn’t going to be shut down just yet.
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