At Nintendo’s big press conference on Thursday, the company confirmed that its new console, the Nintendo Switch, will receive a decent game ahead of its launch –Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
The Switch event concluded with the most dramatic trailer ever for Breath of the Wild, complete with a sobbing Zelda character hugging Link during the video’s climactic moments. Otherwise, the trailer was ripe with the kind of sweeping, open-world scenery we’ve seen in many previews of the game over the past year – plus.
This news sharpens the messages that have been going back and forth this week about exactly when we could expect the next highly anticipated Zelda adventure to launch. The game suffered a number of delays, and the most recent, in April of last year, brought the game from “vacation 2016” into a vague “2017” window. That bump was very much related to Nintendo’s announcement that it would be launching the game on both the Wii U and Switch; that’s still the case, and Nintendo took the opportunity to confirm that the Wii U version would also be released on the same day in March.
Strangely enough, on the day of Zelda‘s latest delay, Nintendo has also announced the March 2017 release window for the Switch. Nintendo clearly wanted hardware to launch before the end of fiscal 2017, when it made sense that the company wanted buffer space in case development continued. Zelda not synced to that timeline. Aside from the motion-heavy launch game 1 2 SwitchNintendo has not taken the opportunity to announce other first-party games launching alongside the Switch.
This is the second time Nintendo has launched a console with a big Zelda game – and the second time it’s done while simultaneously releasing the same game on an older console. The last title to share that honor was the original Twilight Princess, which launched in November 2006 on both the Gamecube and Wii. (That 2005 game also marked the first 3D Zelda title with a right-handed Link, at least on the Wii; the entire game world was flipped to accommodate this hand-favored trade as well.)
The last time we saw Breath of the Wild running on a Switch looked pretty good. Kyle Orland and Mark Walton of Ars will get the chance to play these and other Switch games at press events Friday in New York and London (respectively).