Can Zelda: Skyward Sword Save the Wii?

Can Zelda: Skyward Sword Save the Wii?

If you’re the owner of a Wii, your system may currently seem…er, a bit dusty. The latter half of 2011 has not been booming with games for Nintendo’s little console. But cheer up! The dry spell is coming to an end!…if you like the Zelda series.

The long-awaited Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword finally has a release date: November 20. Not a big surprise, given that it’s the Wii’s only tempting offer this holiday season outside of Rhythm Heaven and a new Kirby game. While a new Zelda game is nothing to sneeze at, will it be enough to carry the Wii through one more holiday season?

However you look at it, it’ll have to be enough. Nintendo is probably grooming the Nintendo 3DS to be its big holiday seller this year, and given the price cut and several tempting game releases, the 3DS may well prove to be this year’s “slippery” holiday item. That means the Wii is largely going to end up fending for itself.

It’s definitely an irritating revelation for Wii owners, because things don’t have to be that way. European Wii owners will be receiving a Merry Christmas via the localization and release of three high-quality RPGs: The Last Story, Xenoblade, and Pandora’s Tower. North America, however, will be receiving nothing of the sort, as Nintendo confirmed at this year’s Gamescom that it still has no plans to release the games outside of Europe and Japan.

Europe will also be seeing a stripped-down version of the Wii this Christmas, which will axe backwards compatibility with the GameCube and bundle the system with Wii Sports and Wii Party. Granted, this lighter version of the Wii isn’t ideal for everyone: Traditional gamers aren’t likely to be impressed with the elimination of GameCube compatibility. Regardless, the existence of this new Wii is an indication that Nintendo of Europe hasn’t forgotten about the system. But like the aforementioned three RPGs, the new Wii won’t be coming to North America. Strictly speaking as a Wii owner on this side of the pond, it’s hard to resist scuffing at the dirt and whining about abandonment.

Nintendo’s support for the Wii should not have petered out like this. The whole conundrum stinks of bad timing, like Nintendo expected the hype for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS to pull our attention away from the system we adopted in 2006. Worse, there are solutions for the Wii’s drought in front of our faces, but they’re being held on a short leash by Nintendo of America.

Nintendo likely expects Skyward Sword to be “enough” for us this Christmas, and to be fair, a Zelda game is always a big deal. Besides, Skyward Sword looks like a lot of fun. But given the lack of options for the Wii this holiday season, it might not be enough. Nintendo of America is sowing a lot of fan resentment by holding out on readily available games, which is a dangerous thing to do with the Wii U on the horizon.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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