Nintendo is no stranger to game delays. Big titles have been getting pushed back since the NES was king of the hill. There are always reasons to delay a game’s release. In the ‘80s it was chip shortages. In Star Fox Zero’s case, it’s quality control.
Scheduled for release this November, Star Fox Zero was Wii U’s highest profile game this holiday season. It was the main feature of Nintendo’s booth at this year’s E3 and had plenty of hands-on demos on Treehouse Live and multiple gaming sites. Some noticed that the game’s graphics looked a bit early while others took issue with the game’s unique dual screen controls. Mixed previews may have led Nintendo to rethink some of its decisions and the enhancements are simply taking longer than anticipated.
Luckily the game isn’t pushed back too far. Right now it looks like it’s on track for a Quarter 1 release, which means you can probably look for it on store shelves by the end of March 2016. Companies never like to delay games, especially ones that are vital to a holiday lineup. For the remainder of the year, the lineup of Nintendo published titles is as follows:
- Yoshi’s Woolly World – October 16
- New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U combo pack – October 16
- Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (digital only) – October 22
- Xenoblade Chronicles X – December 4
- Devil’s Third – December 11
- Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival – Holiday
- Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash – Holiday
Expect Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash to launch in November to help fill the gap left by Star Fox Zero. No matter which way you slice it, Nintendo appears to be missing the blockbuster must-have game for this holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, Xenoblade Chronicles X is my most anticipated game of the year across any platform, but it’s not a game that will sell Wii U systems and doesn’t have the broad appeal of a game like Zelda or Star Fox.
This type of scenario has happened before. In 1997 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was delayed until 1998, and Nintendo had to scramble to fill the all-important holiday slot. Diddy Kong Racing appeared out of nowhere to save the day, and releasing GoldenEye 007 a few months prior certainly didn’t hurt matters. With just two months to go until Star Fox Zero’s original release date, it seems unlikely Nintendo will have an ace up its sleeve this time around.
Mr. Miyamoto broke the delay to fans via Facebook. Here’s what he had to say:
“I made a big decision last week.
We have been developing Star Fox Zero for Wii U with the aim of releasing it this year. Although we felt that the development had been progressing well, we now believe that we will need a little more time to work on areas such as the unprecedented discovery that we want players to experience in the game by using two screens, and further polishing the level designs and perfecting the tone of the cut scenes. While we have already reached the stage where it would be technically possible to release the title in time for the year-end holiday season, we want to polish the game a bit more so that players will be able to more smoothly grasp the new style of play that we are proposing.
To the people looking forward to the launch of the game this holiday season, I am very sorry.
Star Fox Zero is going to bring new game play and experiences that take it far beyond the framework established by Star Fox 64. All the members of the development team are doing our best so that the final product will not betray your expectations. And the game will not be delayed for a very long time – we’re aiming to launch the game in Q1 2016. Please stay tuned for further announcements.”
If anyone gets a pass for delaying a game, it’s Mr. Miyamoto. He has proven time and again that the games he has a hand in are worth waiting for. I have faith that this delay will make Star Fox Zero a better and more polished gaming experience. It’s just too bad that both The Legend of Zelda for Wii U and Star Fox Zero were both originally announced as 2015 games and now neither will make it out on time. At least we now have two great games to look forward to next year.
Source: Nintendo’s Facebook Page