The writing has been on the wall for a while now, but Nintendo has made it official: the next Zelda game is the final Nintendo-produced title for the Wii U.
Speaking with Polygon after the Nintendo Switch event in New York City last week, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is in fact the Wii U’s swan song. Nintendo is now focusing its console gaming efforts exclusively on the Switch, which is set for a March 3rd launch alongside its own version of the game.
“From a first-party standpoint, there’s no new development coming,” Fils-Aime said. “We really are at the end of life for Wii U.” However, the company plans to continue supporting the console’s online service for the time being, he pointed out.
“The ongoing activity from an online standpoint on [Mario] Kart and Splatoon is significant. We’re going to continue to support that.”
Having Breath of the Wild as a “last hurrah” is an admirable way for the Wii U to ride into the sunset, many would say. The console launched in late 2012 with a fairly decent lineup and has had some gems, but many of those were first-party offerings like Super Mario 3D World or the remasters of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess or The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.
Third-party support was substantial at launch, but developers quickly backed out when the console failed to take off from a sales perspective. The console’s lack of power, when compared to the competing PS4 and Xbox One, was cited as one factor for its failure to gain ground. The other factor was poor marketing, as many consumers – and even some members of the gaming press – were confused as to whether the Wii U was a new console or just another add-on in a long line of Wii products that shared the Wii name.
So far about 13.36 million Wii U consoles have been sold through last September.