It has been said, by many people, that Nintendo are doing their best to completely remove the Wii U from history. The main way they’re doing this is by releasing every game worth playing from the Wii U, on the Switch.
So far we’ve seen Mario Kart 8, Pokken Tournament, Breath of the Wild, Bayonetta 1 and 2, Axiom Verge, Shovel Knight, Shante Half Genie Hero, Rayman Legends, Lego Cities, and Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze. All of those were Wii U games first. We’ll have Captain Toad Adventures and Hyrule Warriors before too long.
Games we didn’t see a reissue of have seen completely new games in their franchise like Kirby, Splatoon, Super Mario, and Yoshi. Wii U? What’s a Wii U?
But there is something missing. Something that I would buy immediately while tweeting that Futurama take my money meme. Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess HD.
I’m a big Legend of Zelda fan, like a lot of people are. Because there are so many of us, Nintendo have made it easy for us to play most of the Zelda games from the past. I’ve lost count of how many ways I can first three games. All of the Gameboy Zelda can be played on the 3DS. Unfortunately the 3D Zelda games are significantly less represented.
Of the 3D Zeldas, you can play Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask on the 3DS. In fact, those versions are considered to be the definitive versions. After that, things get a little sticky. The next 3D game was Wind Waker on the GameCube, followed by Skyward Sword, which also game out on the Wii, then Twilight Princess also on the Wii. If you want to play Skyward Sword you need a GameCube or a Wii and that’s all there is to it. There’s no other legal way to play that game. On the other hand, Wind Waker and Twilight Princess had HD remakes for the Wii U.
I imagine that it happened because Nintendo knew that Breath of the Wild was a long time coming. There has been at least one Zelda game for every Nintendo platform, and the Wii U came close to not getting one at all. By the time Breath of the Wild released, it was a launch title for the Switch. Nintendo did release a Wii U version, but it was long after the Wii U had been declared dead.
A lot of attention has been on the Virtual Console for the Switch and it’s lack of existence. Before we knew it wasn’t happening, we speculated about the inclusion of GameCube and Wii games. While we aren’t getting the Virtual Console in the same form it’s existed before, I still think we’re going to get the opportunity to buy older Nintendo games that may well include Wii and GameCube titles. Hopefully Nintendo would include their Zelda games in that. But even if they did, it still wouldn’t be the HD versions. Did anyone expect to see the Wii U on the Virtual Console? Of course not.
All of this has lead me to a couple of possible scenarios.
1. Nintendo don’t re-release the HD Zelda games, and don’t re-release the Wii and GameCube versions digitally. The Wii U remains the only way to play the HD games until the Switch 2 at the earliest. They’d be crazy to do this. Think of all the money they’re leaving on the table. Then remember we’re talking about Nintendo and how likely that makes this.
2. Nintendo don’t re-release the HD versions, but they do release digital versions of the Wii and GameCube Zeldas. Part of me thinks this is the most likely outcome.
3. The HD versions are released for the Switch and even get a graphical tweak and physical release, much like all the other Wii U games that have been ported over to the Switch. This is the dream scenario. I like to think that Nintendo are just waiting for that perfect moment where they can ride the good will built up by Breath of the Wild without it being too soon and dragging people away from the new game. They might also want to hold off on the Wii U ports for the rest of this year.
It’s not like we’re short of games. Even if I run out of Switch games to play, there’s a 3DS and PS4 fighting for my attention. Perhaps Nintendo know that two Zelda games are going to take up all my time and prevent me from buying the new Pokemon or Fire Emblem. Perhaps there’s just too many games already scheduled for release before we start worrying about remakes of remakes.
All of that said, I guarantee that if I were to go out and buy a Wii U and the HD Zelda games, Nintendo would announce a Switch re-release at E3 next month.