The Zelda Wii U release date is one of, if not THE, most anticipated release date on the calendar for 2014. We can safely say that the game won't be out until 2014 based on comments made by series creator Shigeru Miyamoto. In March, Miyamoto did an interview with Time Magazine and he said that while Nintendo was able to release a Zelda title soon after the launch of the Wii, the scope and scale of the Zelda Wii U title has caused delays in production.
"If you look back at the launch of Wii, we were able to prepare a game like Wii Sports, which at the time was clearly a new game, and launch that alongside a Zelda game. With the Wii U, we took a similar approach by launching Nintendo Land as well as a Mario game - though we're working on Zelda for Wii U, that's going to take us a little bit longer," he said in the interview.
And, if the leaked details surrounding the Zelda Wii U release date are to be belived, then it's easy to understand why it's taking so long. Because, according to an inside source at Nintendo who spoke with Wii U Daily, this is going to be the "biggest, most ambitious Zelda game to date."
According to the blog, their source accurately predicted Wii U achievements in the past, and broke the news Nintendo was working on a Wii U social network, which turned out to be Miiverse. So, apparently, this source is fairly legit. And the details he leaked about the Zelda Wii U game are incredibly exciting. Remember when all those chickens attacked you that first time in A Link To The Past? This is more exciting.
The source told Wii U daily that the development team for the Zelda Wii U game is the largest ever assembled by Nintendo. There are apparently hundreds of people working on the Zelda Wii U project, which got underway back in 2010.
"They targeted a 2013 release, but quickly abandoned that goal. This is the biggest project they've [Nintendo] ever done, no way is it gonna be ready for Q3 2013. At least from where I see it," said the unnamed source.
The reason the Zelda Wii U project requires so much time and manpower is because the dungeons for this game are a scale that is unprecedented for the series. How big can we expect the dungeons to be? How about "as big as a whole friggin' forest" big?
"The first test dungeon they made was a giant forest running on early and buggy Wii U hardware - the dungeon was bigger than the Hyrule field in Ocarina, and the whole thing is one dungeon. You use the gamepad to navigate, avoid traps, follow clues etc. It's dark, lush, with a ton of trees, foliage, some which you have to cut your way through. Its scope and details are unlike anything you've seen in a Zelda game," said the source.
This kind of thinking is in line with what executive producer Eiji Aonuma talked about during a Nintendo Direct broadcast in January. While he couldn't divulge any visuals of the game, he spoke about the themes driving the development of the Zelda Wii U project.
"Our mission for developing this new Zelda game for Wii U is quite plainly to rethink the conventions of Zelda. I'm referring to things such as making the player complete dungeons in a certain order. That you are supposed to play by yourself. We want to set aside these 'conventions,' get back to basics to create a newborn Zelda so players today can enjoy the real essence of the franchise," Aonuma said.
Aonuma said the development team has been converting the art styles of previous Zelda games, like Wind Waker and Skyward Sword, into HD to get a better sense of how the Zelda Wii U title will look. This design process is what led Nintendo to re-release The Wind Waker as an HD title for the Wii U. And, apparently, to help ease the pain as fans wait for them to finish development.
In addition to enormous dungeons and HD graphics, the Zelda Wii U game will feature "hours of music" done with a complete orchestra as well as a variety of gameplay options on the GamePad. Wii U Daily's source told the site that "everything in the game is built around the controller and its unique abilities." So much so, that Nintendo has been showing the Zelda Wii U game to third-party developers to help them realize the potential of the GamePad.
"It has stuff that would never be possible on any other console, and it's not just one cool feature, it's one cool feature after another. Each dungeon will offer a different gameplay experience with the tablet controller. It'll be the most innovative game ever, they got stuff that will be copied by others for years," said the source.
Hopefully Zelda Wii U is the title that can salvage the Wii U. According to the latest reports, sales of the Wii U are far below what retailers and Nintendo want to see. The system sold a middling 64,000 units in February, compared with 304,000 Xbox 360 consoles. So while developers may want to copy the Zelda Wii U project from a design standpoint, they may have trouble convincing their investors otherwise.