A couple of days ago, Nintendo finally set a launch date for their next console along with the next entry in the Legend of Zelda franchise.
The NX (codename) and The Legend of Zelda will launch in March of 2017.
Obviously, the WiiU is finished, though Zelda will reportedly be launching on it as well as the NX. The same tactic was used with Twilight Princess on the Gamecube and Wii, so this isn’t exactly new territory.
Firstly, I’m quite sad to see the end of the WiiU so soon. It was handled so very poorly, but the system itself is not a bad system. There are quite a few very enjoyable games that can be found only on it – Super Mario 3D World, The Wonderful 101, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Super Mario Maker, Splatoon, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze to name just a few.
There was a time that the system still had some promise. It actually did outsell the PS4 a couple of times. It received sales boosts when Mario Kart 8 and Smash Brothers launched, but in the end, it never really had a shot. It was launched against far more powerful systems, and was therefore going to miss out on the big AAA third party games that would help sell it. It also had a gimmick that was much more difficult to sell people on than the Wii Remote. You almost feel like Nintendo should have made the WiiU and launched it when the Wii was launched (instead of the Wii, I mean, but with the same input options), but that didn’t happen. Now, as a result of some very bad calculations, the WiiU will slowly disappear. It just didn’t stand a chance.
The positive here is that we’re getting a new Nintendo console. Currently code named the NX, it will be launching in March of 2017. It is being billed as a brand new platform, showcasing a new concept. This scares me just a bit, as Nintendo seems to be too worried about changing how we play instead of just focusing on great games, which Nintendo makes consistently. Still, that said, I try to continue to have faith in Nintendo. I believe there was some arrogance after the phenomenal success of the Wii, so they felt they could make the rules of the market, but you can’t catch lightning in a bottle, and there was virtually no chance of recreating the Wii’s success. My sincere hope is that Nintendo has learned from this mistake and the NX will not suffer a similar fate as that of the WiiU.
Still, you have to wonder if this is all that wise of a move. They are, again, launching a console mid-cycle. It can’t be that much more powerful than the PS4/Xbox One because Nintendo MUST have third party support. They simply can’t be the only game maker for their own systems, no matter how good those games may be. That said, if the NX has comparable specs to the current consoles, then it is already behind the curve. Honestly, even as an admitted Nintendo fanboy, it’s hard to see how this can be a win for Nintendo.
There’s also the fact that Zelda is a launch title for the system. No, having Zelda at launch isn’t a bad thing, but it’s a WiiU game being launched to showcase a new system that is replacing the WiiU. What will be a last-gen game immediately at launch is not a great way to herald your new system, even if it is Zelda. Now, I could be very off base here. We know very little of the next Zelda, and frankly, Zelda is going to sell regardless of system.
I do truly believe that if any company can pull this off, it’s Nintendo, but I am truthfully a bit skeptical at the moment. They’ve made some very questionable moves since the Wii, and have come to a point where they need to prove themselves again, which seems unfair, but is the nature of the beast. I’m an extremely optimistic guy, but I’m still in “wait and see” mode on this one. I hope they prove my skepticism wrong.
Now, all of the above being said, if the official name of the NX is revealed as the Wii3 or some variation thereof, I think we can safely start carving the tombstone.
Brandon Nicholson is a blogger for TMRzoo.com and the founder of Just Another Video Game Blog and covers all gaming consoles and platforms including Sony Playstation 3 and PS4, Microsoft XBOX One and XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and computer games designed for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Brandon provides his readers with reviews, previews, release dates and up to date gaming industry news, trailers and rumors.