Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Why do Zelda Console games take 5 years to develop.... ?

I agree with your sentiment in saying that Zelda should by no means become an annual franchise but should see a release schedule of every three years as opposed to every five.

I understand that Nintendo wants their Zelda titles to be of high quality, they seem to be too careful with this franchise. Each console generation should see something similar to the Nintendo 64 - two Zelda titles using the same engine. This would be far more efficient in releasing more Zelda titles within a consoles life cycle.

Perhaps this way they can release approximately two new Zelda titles and one remake per console.



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animegaming said:
cause outside of Majora's Mask every home console Zelda game was built from scratch 

Twilight Princess used the Windwaker engine as well. But still a lot was changed barely making that matter. 

http://zeldawiki.org/The_Legend_of_Zelda:_The_Wind_Waker

Contrary to popular belief, programming the game with an engine based on this style was more difficult than programming Twilight Princess, after modifying said engine, to favor realistic graphics




Each Zelda is a reinterpretation of the previous instalments, from the artstyle to the mechanics. And of course, franchise fatigue. Zelda is Nintendo's second most popular franchise, I think. So they don't want to rely on it too much because that could potentially hurt the overall positive reception of the franchise.



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Zelda is basically a legendary franchise much like Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart, Sonic(up until the Dreamcast anyway), Street Fighter, Resident Evil, etc. I think Nintendo take their time with it because they want to uphold the quality of the mainline console series and make a mark with every single iteration they do. Sure most of the mainline Zelda games have not deviated significantly since Ocarina of Time in terms of gameplay/controls(other than the Wii's motion controls really) but each has been praised upon released.




Sometimes Nintendo releases games strategically Or I should say delays games strategically- IMO Zelda U was either 1) never going to be ready in 2015 but they said it would and reaffirmed during holiday 2014 to help spur excitement and sales or 2) It was ready for release (or close enough to be released) in 2015 and decided to delay the release to a future date to perhaps fill a gap, co release w the NX or some other reason

I guarantee Zelda U was NOT delayed for the reasons they indicated-

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PieToast said:

Each Zelda is a reinterpretation of the previous instalments, from the artstyle to the mechanics. And of course, franchise fatigue. Zelda is Nintendo's second most popular franchise, I think. So they don't want to rely on it too much because that could potentially hurt the overall positive reception of the franchise.


They don t seem to have that concern re Mario- but i agree w you they shouldnot burn tier franchises by overuse-  The WIi U they seemed to spam a narrow grouping and yet leave out (so far) some alltogether)

The WIi U has become a Mario, Zelda and Platforming box-  I don t think it could even be considered a Nintendo box so far



Skyward Sword took so long because they basically started from scratch in 2009 after Wii Sports Resort came out and they realized they COULD do motion-controls for the sword using Motion Plus.

Zelda U...presumably going HD and going open-world are both requiring more time to polish and (hopefully) fill the game with content still. The game looks great and the map looks huge and awesome, but it's not really worth it unless they can fill the world with content and things to do.

Conversely, the game could be delayed because of a potential dual-release scenario for the NX (like Twilight Princess), if NX is, in fact, a console and more powerful than Wii U so it'd be capable of running the game or making it even better. It's not as far-fetched as people think, given that they've obviously invested a ton of resources into their first built-from-the-ground-up HD, open-world Zelda game and they will want to make a profit on it (something that is not necessarily guaranteed on Wii U given its low install base).



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TK14 said:
Skyward Sword took so long because they basically started from scratch in 2009 after Wii Sports Resort came out and they realized they COULD do motion-controls for the sword using Motion Plus.

Zelda U...presumably going HD and going open-world are both requiring more time to polish and (hopefully) fill the game with content still. The game looks great and the map looks huge and awesome, but it's not really worth it unless they can fill the world with content and things to do.

Conversely, the game could be delayed because of a potential dual-release scenario for the NX (like Twilight Princess), if NX is, in fact, a console and more powerful than Wii U so it'd be capable of running the game or making it even better. It's not as far-fetched as people think, given that they've obviously invested a ton of resources into their first built-from-the-ground-up HD, open-world Zelda game and they will want to make a profit on it (something that is not necessarily guaranteed on Wii U given its low install base).

Nintendo games on Wii U have very good attach rate, Zelda WW HD is above 1.5m.



FarleyMcFirefly said:
No idea. I hate it though... Much too long. I liked it when they released more consistently (Ocarina to Wind Waker).

I mean, they should reuse the same engine sometimes instead of building from the ground up each time.

That's the thing. How often can they reuse the same engine. Twilight Princess used Wind Waker's engine, but that game also hapened to make it onto the Wii. THere's no way Skyward Sword could use the same engine as the DS Zelda games so they had to build a new one for Skyward Sword. 

What some people don't realize is that Zelda games come out more often than you think. I'm not talking about the remasters that are co-developed by Grezzo. I'm talking about the fact that the same team makes Zelda games on both consoles and handhelds. On 7th gen systems, they finished up Twilight Princess and then released both Phantom Hourglass and Spirit tracks before finally releasing Skyward Sword in 2011. 2 years later we got A Link Between Worlds and the Wii U game would have come out two years after that but it was delayed to 2016. So you figure between 2006 and 2016, we're getting 6 main Zelda games in 10 years and several re-releases on top of that. Remember, just because it's not a console Zedla doesn't mean it isn't a main release.



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Mythmaker1 said:

Because each Zelda is built, more or less, from scratch. New assets, new art-style, new controls, new engines, and so on. That takes a lot of time.

Many sequels these days are built using similar engines or recycled assets in order to save costs and time.


Many new IPs these days are built from scratch and don't take 5 years to develop.