We should have seen this coming.
Nintendo producer Eiji Aonuma has announced that the upcoming Legend of Zelda game for Wii U will both miss its planned 2015 release, and will not be showing at the E3 2015 expo this summer.
Aonuma posted a video with the announcement, apologizing to fans for the delay. As development has proceeded over the last few months, the team at Nintendo has found an exciting variety of new ideas for the game, and so Aonuma has opted to extend the process so these ideas can be fully explored.
“As I have watched our development progress, I have come to think that rather than work with meeting a specific schedule as our main objective and releasing a game that reflects only what we can create within that scheduled time, I feel strongly that our focus should be to bring all these ideas to life in a way that will make The Legend of Zelda on Wii U the best game it can possibly be.”
In a clarifying comment on the video’s Miiverse post, Aonuma added that the game will not be shown at E3, so that he and his team can instead keep their head down and focus on development.
Longtime Nintendo fans won’t be surprised by the announcement. The company has a long history of delaying its games, especially in the Zelda franchise. Given the massive ambition of this new entry, set for the first time in a huge, open world, it’s not surprising that it won’t meet its initial deadline. While this is ultimately good news for the game, it bodes poorly for Nintendo’s release schedule in the latter half of Nintendo’s 2015, which may lack a flagship title.