Key Wii U exclusive Star Fox Zero has been delayed until the first quarter of 2016, producer Shigeru Miyamoto has announced. The game was scheduled for release in November but will now be released sometime between January and the end of March next year.
Miyamoto explained that the delay has come about due to a need to further polish the level design and work on the experience of playing across two screens, which he calls an "unprecedented discovery" (perhaps a quirk of translation). The legendary developer also concedes that the game is in a good enough state to have met its initial release date, but the team agreed to the delay anyway.
His statement on Facebook reads as follows...
"I made a big decision last week.
We have been developing Star Fox Zero for Wii U with the aim of releasing it this year. Although we felt that the development had been progressing well, we now believe that we will need a little more time to work on areas such as the unprecedented discovery that we want players to experience in the game by using two screens, and further polishing the level designs and perfecting the tone of the cut scenes.
"While we have already reached the stage where it would be technically possible to release the title in time for the year-end holiday season, we want to polish the game a bit more so that players will be able to more smoothly grasp the new style of play that we are proposing. To the people looking forward to the launch of the game this holiday season, I am very sorry.
"Star Fox Zero is going to bring new game play and experiences that take it far beyond the framework established by Star Fox 64. All the members of the development team are doing our best so that the final product will not betray your expectations. And the game will not be delayed for a very long time – we're aiming to launch the game in Q1 2016. Please stay tuned for further announcements."
The delay makes sense given the game would have been released during the very busy release period leading up to year-end holidays. Highly-anticipated multi-platform games such as Star Wars Battlefront, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, and Fallout 4 are also set to release that month, so it always seemed unlikely that a Nintendo game would make much of an impact in terms of sales.
We also played the game earlier this year around the time of its starring role during Nintendo's E3. We weren't impressed, calling the game in its early form dated and lightweight. Given Nintendo has had two very warmly-received exclusives in Splatoon and Super Mario Maker this year, that's not a hot streak they would want to break.