When The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was delayed from Fall 2016 to a nebulous 2017 date, many speculated that the game would launch alongside the Nintendo Switch (called the NX back then). There had been precedent for this with Twilight Princess hitting the Wii at launch and the GameCube just a few weeks later. It also didn’t hurt that for a brief moment in time the official Nintendo press site listed the Wii U version as coming out in March of 2017. So, when Nintendo announced that Switch wouldn’t release until March of 2017 because of lack of software readiness, many people (including myself) figured it had to be Zelda that was holding it up. While this could very well have been Nintendo’s plan, it appears that difficulties in development may push it further into 2017, missing the Nintendo Switch launch.
These rumblings of a Zelda “delay” (keep in mind the game has never publicly been announced for a March 2017 date) had been building over the past few weeks, and now Emily Rogers and Eurogamer are pretty confident that the game won’t hit until summer at the earliest. According to Emily:
More sources have now come forward and corroborated my information. They’ve told me that localization for Breath of the Wild might not be finished until the end of December. After localization is completed, this game will require between (at least) four-to-six months of testing. As I mentioned earlier, this is one of Nintendo’s largest and most ambitious games ever. The amount of testing required for a huge open-world game like this is enormous. Nintendo’s intention is to have the game as bug free as possible.
Based on what I’ve heard, I have no reason to believe that Breath of the Wild will be a March title. There’s a much higher chance of Breath of the Wild being a summer 2017 game.
She also goes on to state that she has heard that the Switch version of the game is running more smoothly than the Wii U build. She’s also heard that the game’s difficulty is higher than what was shown at this year’s E3.
Eurogamer has heard that the new 3D Mario game that was briefly shown in the Nintendo Switch preview trailer may make the launch now instead. While this will definitely help soften the blow of Zelda missing the launch, it will still be disappointing if Zelda is missing. It’s been my most anticipated game for two years now and I was so looking forward to playing it in just a few short months. I’m afraid that even if it’s ready to go by summer that Nintendo could shift it to become their major holiday game, meaning that we may not even be playing Breath of the Wild until a year from now. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that!
Of course, it’s important to remember that these are just rumors. We should know much more on January 12, 2017 when Nintendo has its live conference showcasing the Switch and its upcoming launch lineup of games.