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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Nintendo Has A Delay Problem

Farsala said:

When I think of a developer that often delays games, Nintendo developers are not the developers that I think of.

The biggest delayers of all time would be Square Enix, but also Polyphony in 2nd due to GT5.

Though I must say TLOZ devs are definitely attaining that reputation due to BOTW and BOTW2.

Correct, we aren't talking about a widespread Nintendo problem here, but rather a more specific Zelda problem. In the earlier stage of video game history, gaming journalism was almost entirely focused on reporting on released games rather than games that were still in development, so delays weren't really a known thing up till the 1990s. But at least since the mid-1990s it was absolutely common for video game magazines to write elaborate news and previews for upcoming games.

Ocarina of Time was originally planned to release in 1997, ended up as late 1998 game. Majora's Mask was delivered on time and is therefore the only 3D Zelda game to meet its scheduled deadline in its intended state. The Wind Waker was pushed out in time, but it's common knowledge that two dungeons were cut to accomplish that. Twilight Princess was supposed to release in 2005, but eventually ended up as cross-gen game. Skyward Sword came out a bit later than planned too. Breath of the Wild is of course still fresh in people's minds, had basically the same history as Twilight Princess.

Essentially, a new Zelda game getting delayed has to be considered the norm. A release on time should be taken as a pleasant surprise.


On topic: Since Zelda games get Nintendo's biggest development teams already, I am not sure if adding even more people would solve the problem. My impression is that development direction tends to change during development and then everything takes a bit longer as a result.

Nintendo is expanding their in-house workforce continually, so it's redundant to request that course of action. I don't think the common industry alternative of releasing a game on time, but incomplete, is what people would want Nintendo to do, so delays of a few games will remain inevitable in the future; in fact, it's very hard to think of any developer who could avoid a delay or the release of an unfinished game in their history. The vast majority of Nintendo's Switch games have not been delayed, so the current situation isn't grim anyway. The Wii U days were a whole nother story, but that's the past and things have changed for the better since then.

The bottom line is that you can't have it all all the time and have to learn to live with it. A few of Nintendo's games have been announced when they were very early in development, but as a console manufacturer Nintendo has to have at least one huge title on the horizon at all times, as something that fans will look forward and instills confidence that Nintendo is still committed to the current platform. It's said early announcements that are prone to delays, but when you know the pattern, then you'll be less disappointed when such a game is hit by a delay.

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Outside of Sakurai Nintendo does not seem to have a crunch problem. The man has always worked ridiculous hours since he started work on Melee and I don't know why Nintendo doesn't do something about it. Nintendo intervened in Retro Studios after the release of Prime 1 to end the problem of employee crunch.

Nintendo as a whole has gone back and forth on delays being an issue. The n64 was delayed until late 1996, long after the competition launched, and Nintendo didn't have many games for it for a long time. The Gamecube had a problem of big Nintendo games being released before they were done like Wind Waker and Mario Sunshine. Even Melee was technically released early with a lot of content cut, but that worked out for the best. The Gamecube was failing and Nintendo needed to get its games out quickly even if they weren't complete. The only really big game to get delayed was Twilight Princess. With the Wii Nintendo finally seemed to be taking the time to complete their games again, with Prime 3, Brawl, Skyward Sword all getting delays. The Wii's success gave them more breathing room. With the jump to HD for the Wii U development took longer and it was a year before the system started getting the games it needed, Tropical Freeze was delayed from 2013 to 2014, and I think Mario Kart 8 was also delayed but I'm not sure about that. It seems that Nintendo realized there was no saving the Wii U and so they made the smart decision to take their time to maintain their brand image of quality games rather than rush games out the door, and to release a number of smaller games to fill the gaps like NES Remix and Captain Toad. With Splatoon they struck upon a model of releasing online-focused games in a not-quite complete state but adding free updates to maintain interest, so we see that in games like Mario Tennis and Animal Crossing. But otherwise they seem to release their games in a completed state on the Switch. In general they like to announce games close to release and have done so since 2010, but when they announce games farther out delays are likely.

Jumpin said:
theRepublic said:

I feel like it is very common for most big games to see at least one delay. Seems more like an industry wide issue than just Nintendo.

Nintendo has become much better during the Switch era than they have been in the past. This issue is mostly about BotW2 being announced way too early - and that both increases the chance of it being delayed and also makes that delay much more annoying. But, thanks to tightened announcement schedules to a few months before release during the Switch era, most games are announced with a very reasonable window and released on time.

Personally speaking, I don’t pay enough attention to third party release schedules to notice. The vast majority of third party games I don’t even find out about until I see them announced in the weekly release lists on the Switch Game News Channel.

The reason this one is such a big deal is because Nintendo is the highest profile publisher, and Zelda is Nintendo’s highest profile franchise on the Switch. More people care about this one than any of the others.

Yeah, pretty much agree.  Didn't mean to imply I thought Nintendo had a problem with delays.  Just trying to point out that it seemed odd the thread was calling out Nintendo specifically.

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I get the Zelda delay but I don't get the delay of advanced wars since we have wars all the time and that never delayed war games >_>

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