Nintendo Explains Why Zelda Games Rarely Come Out on Time
"Every time we make a Zelda, we want to make something new."
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Some of the key designers behind Nintendo's famous Legend of Zelda series have spoken up to explain why new installments in the iconic RPG franchise have a history of being delayed.
Veteran producer Eiji Aounma told Kotaku that it's been his intention with every Zelda game to release it as soon as possible. However, Nintendo's creative ambitions often lead to delays.
"Every time we make a Zelda, we want to make something new," he explained. "It's hard to gauge how long that's going to take. And it's also hard to gauge at what point whatever we consider to be new is done."
The latest Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, was originally expected to come out in 2015. However, it was delayed to 2016 after Nintendo discovered "several new possibilities" for the project. In April this year, the release date moved back again, this time to 2017. When that delay was announced, Nintendo also confirmed the game was coming to the company's upcoming console, codenamed NX.
As Kotaku points out, Ocarina of Time was originally pegged for 1997 but came out in 1998; Wind Waker launched in 2003, having been previously expected the year prior. Twilight Princess, meanwhile, moved from 2005 to 2006. That game ended up coming out for GameCube and Wii.
Zelda series creator Shigeru Miyamoto also chimed in on the subject of Zelda delays.
"I think there's different reasons for delays," he explained. "One could be that the direction just hasn't been decided, which is probably the worst kind of delay. And the other is that the direction has been decided but putting that into reality--implementing that--is taking time. So it might have taken us six months to do this much. It'll take us a year to do that much."
For Breath of the Wild specifically, Miyamoto said Nintendo needed to make sure it had enough time to work on its new physics engine and AI behavior, as well as refine the graphics.
"We had to make sure that design has enough time to create that. It just dawned on us that we're not able to do that in this schedule," he said. "That's what we realized about two years ago. In this instance, we never really experienced this, so that's why we had to delay it."
"First of all, it would be great if I didn't have to put a release date out at all," he added. "But I have to."
One of Miyamoto's most famous quotes is related to delays. "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad," the veteran designer said about pushing the Nintendo 64's release date out by three months, according to The Guardian.
For more on Breath of the Wild, which is the largest game Nintendo has ever made, check out GameSpot's roundup of everything we learned about the game at E3.