Nintendo Facing a Rough Holiday Season as Star Fox Zero Moves to 2016

Star Fox Zero has been delayed to 2016.

Let me repeat that: Star Fox Zero, one of the few remaining major first-party titles for Wii U, will no longer be out this year. Is Nintendo in a bit of trouble this holiday season? Yeah, I'd say that's a fair assumption.

Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto delivered the following announcement on Facebook:

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.

Without Star Fox, the Big N is going into the fall with just a handful of noteworthy releases for Wii U and 3DS. First, let's take a look at what's coming to Wii U:

Okay, so we've got a JRPG that's basically old news in Japan at this point, a 2D platformer that was released in Europe months ago, a spin-off Animal Crossing party game, and two music-rhythm titles. Is there reason to be a bit concerned? Yeah, I'd say so.

Sadly, things aren't looking much better on the handheld side, as Nintendo doesn't have a mainline Pokémon coming this year. Let's take a look at the "big" titles headed to 3DS before year's end:

So… we've got yet another Animal Crossing spin-off, a side-scrolling game starring one of Nintendo's most obscure characters, a multiplayer Zelda game that recycles the engine from A Link Between Worlds, a Pokémon roguelike, and a creature-collecting game that's a cultural phenomenon… in Japan.

I don't know about you, but I'm a bit worried for Nintendo. Fortunately, the company did just release Super Mario Maker, a stellar game that makes Wii U a far more compelling system. However, level-creator (as amazing as it is) really enough to tide Nintendo loyalists over until next year when we'll finally get Star Fox Zero and a new proper Zelda game?