The Legend of Zelda Will Most Likely Be a Nintendo NX Launch Title

Yesterday rumors surfaced that Nintendo was looking to shut down Wii U production by the end of 2016, in order to make room for the company’s upcoming console, tentatively titled the Nintendo NX. This information, reported by trusted Japanese newspaper Nikkei, claimed that Nintendo had already ceased production of several Wii U accessories, with the hardware manufacturer looking to fully conclude the struggling console’s life cycle by the year’s end. 

Nintendo has uncharacteristically responded to this rumor, with an official spokesperson for the company saying (via Kotaku): “This isn’t an announcement from our company, from the next quarter and thereafter as well, production [of the Wii U] is scheduled to continue.” However, despite this statement claiming that Wii U production will continue in the near future, it doesn’t directly contradict Nikkei’s claims that it will be halted before the end of the year, and given Nikkei’s previous history of correct claims regarding Nintendo, many are still inclined to believe that the publication’s initial report is true.

If this is the case, then this inevitably leaves the future of Nintendo’s upcoming The Legend of Zelda Wii U game up in the air. With Nintendo having shown us very little of the title, which is still scheduled for release at some point this year, the company has nonetheless maintained that it will still be released exclusively on the Wii U. This is at odds with Nikkei’s report, with a new Zelda game not likely to pop up as an exclusive for a console that would then go on to be retired within a couple of months.

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So if Nikkei’s report is correct, then it seems more than likely that The Legend of Zelda will be repositioned as an NX launch title. It has already been speculated that this would be the case, but these rumors – and Nintendo’s own tactful approach to responding to them – now strongly indicate that we will see the next The Legend of Zelda game making its way to the company’s next console.

But that isn’t to say that the game won’t appear on the Wii U. Nintendo found themselves in a similar position when approaching the tail-end of the GameCube’s life cycle, with the company releasing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – which had previously been announced as a GC exclusive – as a Wii launch title, too. This means that it’s well within the realms of possibility that Nintendo would opt to release the game on the Wii U, too. 

However, with the NX likely releasing at the tail-end of this year, around the same time that Nikkei suggests the Wii U will be discontinued, it is hugely improbable that Nintendo would release a game for a discontinued console. Twilight Princess launched in November 2006 to coincide with the launch of the Wii, before Nintendo ceased production on the GameCube in Japan in 2007 (it continued to be produced in the EU and US until 2008/09 respectively), but with Nikkei’s report suggesting that the Wii U will breathe its last breaths in 2016, then its unlikely that the new The Legend of Zelda will follow this same path. With that being said, Nintendo would likely raise the ire of quite a few people who have bought a Wii U with the specific intention of getting their hands on the upcoming game, if the company were to cancel their plans for the game to be released on the console. While it is now strongly suggestible that the game will make its way to the NX, there are still plenty of question marks surrounding the fate of its announced Wii U version.