Rather like the early days of the Wii U when Nintendo cited challenges in shifting to HD development, the ambition behind The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild appears to have been the cause of its multiple delays. Originally announced for a 2015 release, it was pushed back to '2016' before confirmation came in May that it'd arrive in 2017 as a dual Wii U / NX release.
Shigeru Miyamoto, speaking to IGN, has highlighted that technical challenges such as the physics engine held it back. The freedom afforded in the world extends to objects and parts of the environment being manipulated in a variety of ways, in a manner that Nintendo has never attempted before. Rather like the shift to HD development when the Wii U launched, Breath of the Wild has perhaps provided a useful challenge to Nintendo, as it's worked to master and understand techniques that have become increasingly common in the broader development scene.
It's complicated because as we're developing this -- obviously development of NX started a while ago -- and unfortunately, I'm sorry, but the development of this game took a lot longer than expected. We really felt like we would be able to get it done last year, but there was a lot of struggle with using the physics engine, so that's why it took a long time.
Also, when we thought about developing a Zelda game for the NX, it would have to be way further down the life cycle of the system. And this game, rather than really focusing on the unique features of the Wii U, it's really a game you sit down and get into. There was a change in direction, so we decided to develop for both consoles a while ago.
Eiji Aonuma, who states that he has involvement in the NX process, sees it as a positive that an experience like Breath of the Wild will be available on both systems.
From the beginning we were thinking of releasing this title on both platforms. With Twilight Princess, I was looking at, this [then-new] platform called Wii and I had more of an outsider objective view of, 'Oh this is coming out'.
But for this one I was slightly more involved with NX and just judging on the timing of development. When we were going to finish this, we thought it might be fun to have that available for NX as well. I don't see it as something too unfortunate. I think it's nice to have a single title that can be played on two different platforms.
This may have led to feature casualties, though. As pointed out to this writer in other comment sections it seems the GamePad map may have been relegated to a menu-based feature, where it's visible on both the TV and GamePad; in fact, one of our previewers instinctively looked at the controller regardless when accessing the map. The Wii U controller does, however, utilise a degree of motion control for aiming and for use of Link's 'Sheika Slate'. Like the Legend of Zelda HD remasters on Wii U, Breath of the Wild also supports the Pro Controller.
Though delays to this Zelda title have been disappointing, there's the upside that in learning and developing new technologies, like it did in the early days of HD on Wii U, Nintendo is ensuring it can produce similar projects and mechanics with greater ease in future.
In that respect, it's a valuable release for both gamers and Nintendo's teams.
Thanks to all that sent this in.