Donkey Kong delay hurts Wii U holiday lineup

Tropical Freeze pushed to February as Nintendo leans on Super Mario 3D World, Mario & Sonic Olympics, Wii Party U to bear the load

The Wii U's holiday lineup is looking a little lighter as Nintendo today delayed the launch of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Previously set for a December debut, Tropical Freeze has been pushed to February in North America, as confirmed by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata during a Nintendo Direct presentation.

"In order to deliver the optimum gaming experience, we need a little more time for development of this title," Iwata explained, adding, "We would like to apologize for this delay and hope you understand."

The Wii U's holiday lineup still has a handful of big exclusives yet to launch, including Super Mario 3D World on November 22. The same month will also see the launch of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the digital debut of Wii Fit U. Meanwhile, October's release slate is headed up by Wii Party U, Sonic Lost World, and this week's retail launch of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.

Analysts including IHS' Piers Harding-Rolls and Baird's Colin Sebastian have pointed to this holiday season as a key stretch for the Wii U. Sebastian said "the fate of the platform" rests on its holiday software lineup, while Harding-Rolls said this season's sales performance will dictate his firms long-term outlook on the system.

Latest comments (7)

Steve Goldman Journalist. 6 years ago
I dont think it hurts anything. In fact. I think it helps. Dates were already too tight
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange6 years ago
The Wi U will do just fine. They already have a great line up which includes the New Wii Fit U, Wii Party U and an online Wii Sports (and Mario-Sonic Olympics game). Nintendo has yet to announce bundles for these games just like in Japan. The new footage of Super Mario 3D World looks awesome makes you wish they release a remastered Mario 64/DS with those visuals.
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University6 years ago
I can understand why, there'll be two other high profile platforming games released, and a few high profile multi-format releases, and not a huge install base to sell into. The priority has to be getting Mario out there to sell more systems, and to sell a decent amount of third party software this Christmas, or additional support will not materialise next year. Removing a strong performer might look bad, but I'm not sure what Donkey Kong would do at Christmas that Mario, Zelda and the rest of the line up can't.

This also helps to solve the problem 3DS faced in 2012 which Wii U may face in 2014: an inconsistent release schedule off the back of a slew of major releases to create momentum at Christmas, which results in that momentum being squandered. Donkey Kong in February, Mario Kart in April (hopefully), guarantees two strong sellers in the early months and should prevent baseline sales from flatlining. Follow that up with Bayonetta 2, Smash Brothers and X, and you have a decent exclusive line up. Though I think if this has been delayed to February, there's the possibility Mario Kart and Smash are further away than Nintendo would like, which would be a far bigger issue than this delay.

Nintendo better have more software in the pipeline, though. This year initially didn't look impressive for 3DS, but a series of Directs early in the year changed that, everything from more eShop titles, more localisations, to announcing and dating big hitters like Luigi, Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, Zelda, Pokemon. Wii U needs a similar drive in January and February to let people know that software is coming and it's worth investing. I genuinely do worry if Nintendo have the manpower to accomplish that, though, and without that effort, Wii U will most certainly be another GameCube.
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange6 years ago
Nintendo seems to have delayed the release of the new Mario Party game to early 2014 as well.

Donkey Kong and now Mario Party, looks like Nintendo's saving ammo to counter the Japanese PS4 release which "coincidentally" takes place February next year.
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games6 years ago
Andy i think that makes more sense.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
Well, they'd better pull a Wii U Animal Crossing game out of that magic game-delaying hat at some point, as it's a system seller if they can make it as addictive as th3 3DS game and add a bunch of new features that work on that gamepad...
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 6 years ago
Im not worried. im ok with delays if it means a better game. And if they have the economic resources to keep it from being released as a half baked game, then Im all for it. This is a game I know Im gonna buy, wether its released by christmas or not. And seriously... I didnt think much of Super Mario 3D Land when it was announced. But that recent footage of the game from Nintendo's latest Nintendo direct, sure blew me away. I know they have been slow to churn out software, but I think next year after all the christmas crazyness is over... Im gonna be getting myself a WiiU... Im already stocking up on games for it. Plus with both SONY and MICROSFT coming out the door swinging, with new consoles I think its best if NINTENDO keeps a low profile. No use releasing there heavy hitters, when they cant cause so much of an impact, they could if released at another moment.
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