The Missing Link
So let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. After the launch of the Sony Playstation, Nintendo and Square came out with Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, wildly acclaimed to be one of the best RPGs ever made, as well as Secret of Evermore and Super Mario World 2. After the launch of the PS2, Nintendo and Rare launched Banjo-Tooie for the N64. Some of these titles weren’t as big as the others, but all of them will have some mentioning in the history books someday. To be fair, though, we really should also look at games released slightly before the launch of the next console; let’s face it, you actually start having to crack open your piggy banks to see how much you have to save to foot the bill of a new console and game! (Almost always, that realisation causes severe heart attacks because of how much number comes out to, but I digress.) Here, you’ll find that Majora’s Mask launched fairly close to the PS2, but the gem of the whole argument is ChronoTrigger released within a month of the PS1. To date, it is my personal belief that ChronoTrigger is one of the only two games to single-handedly be better than every Zelda title ever made, and while some may disagree, everyone recognises the greatness that is ChronoTrigger. When you take a good look at the consoles themselves, it always seems that the lifetime of a console extends beyond the release of the next generation by a good half-year to a year. Sure, the console starts showing its grey hairs, but there have been amazing games to make their way out during a console’s dying days.
As far as the delays go themselves, Twilight Princess is easily not the record holder. Halo 2 (why must it always come back to Halo?) was originally promised to be on the shelves and ready to go by Christmas 2003; however, it did not launch until November 2004, eleven to twelve months after the date promised depending upon how you count it. This, ironically, created the website Red Vs. Blue. As much as I was upset over the initial delay of the game, Twilight Princess is only going to be delayed a “mere” seven or eight months, and a lot of games . This happens in a lot of games, though, and it’s no small wonder that there are jokes about what the term “scheduled release date” really means. But Halo 2 was a big deal; they did remarkably well despite the delay, so I really do think that Twilight Princess can overcome the initial hardships of the delay and become a modern classic.
Even from the hardware point of view, Nintendo isn’t in that big a trouble. The XBox 360 goes for US$300 or $400, depending upon which version you get (although only a fool would go for the XBox Light or whatever they call it). The PS3 is going to be “expensive”, and with the new hardware they’re floating with the console, my prediction is that it’s going to launch at $450. Those of us who are going for one of the new systems know that, no matter how you slice the dice, it will cost a pretty penny to be an early adopter. Now, colour me fanboy, but I honestly do think that the cost of these systems will make most gamers do a double-take when they’re launched. You’re still going to have some good games coming out for the *ahem* “older” consoles during this transition period, and I think gamers will keep buying the games while they wait for the “right moment” to buy a console. Not that no one will buy the consoles out of the gates, don’t get me wrong, but I think the current generation will stay alive for a little bit, at least until next June or July.
But what about sales? We haven’t talked sales yet at all; we’ve only talked popularity. Will it hurt the sales quotient on Nintendo’s end? Well, that’s a little more tricky to answer. Certainly it’s a possibility that it will have virtually no effect, especially if Twilight Princess is all that and a bag of potato chips, just like we were promised. But there are two hurdles that Twilight must surpass to reel in the sales, and they’re not easy to leap over.
So in short, I really don’t see the delays themselves as an obstacle other than the irony that it will be released somewhere around Final Fantasy XII. If anything keeps Twilight down, I reckon it isn’t going to be the delay that killed it.Follow This Entry | Read Other Posts by The Missing Link