Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Amie confirms that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be the last game developed by Nintendo for the Wii U.
There has been a lot said about the Wii U and its inability to break into the hyper-competitive console sales market, but Nintendo’s strange system is evidence that the company is, for better or worse, utterly unafraid of taking giant risks. Part of the reason the Wii U has struggled is its fairly weak games lineup, which was too often characterized as skippable outside of Nintendo exclusives.
It’s fitting, then, that as the Wii U begins to fade into the background as Nintendo prepares to launch its new Switch console, the next big game for the Wii U will be The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The newest adventure starring Link looks like it could easily be the best yet, and it will be yet another in a long line of first-party Nintendo exclusives keeping the Wii U afloat a little longer. As it turns out, however, the next first-party game for the Wii U will also be its last, according to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Amie:
“From a first-party standpoint, there’s no new development coming after the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We really are at the end of life for Wii U.”
The statement, which Fils-Amie made to Polygon following the Switch launch event in New York last Friday, confirms what many gamers had already suspected – that Nintendo is already all-in on the Switch following the lackluster life cycle of the Wii U. Despite assurances to the contrary, Nintendo has revealed that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be better on Switch, and the differences in performance are likely part of the reason that Nintendo has been quick to make the switch to, well, the Switch.
Fils-Amie also confirmed that the Wii U would continue to be sold at retail for the foreseeable future, and that the company hasn’t discussed sunsetting Nintendo’s online services for the console, which Fils-Amie said is “quite some time into the future” for the Wii U. Still, it’s hard to believe that the Wii U has that many years of life left, given Fils-Amie’s statement about first-party development and the console’s notoriously poor performance in sales.
If it really is the beginning of the end for Nintendo’s Wii U, there isn’t a better way to go out than on a brand new Legend of Zelda game. Owners of the console will likely be sad to see it go, but at the very least, the Wii U will go out the same way it lived for so many years – on the back of one more high-profile Nintendo first-party exclusive.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will release for Switch and Wii U on March 3, 2017.