Now that Nintendo have finally showcased The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild and stated it will be on two different platforms, the bigger question is how different the two versions will be, if at all.
This is not unlike the issue with Twilight Princess whereby it was released on the Gamecube and Wii at roughly the same time. The same may be true with Breath of the Wild that since it’s scheduled for release in 2017 as is NX (estimated Q2 2017), Nintendo may wish to launch both versions of it at the same time.
However on the other hand they may want to release it on the Wii U at the start of the year, allow people to complete it and then bring it out again on NX. This might seem like an illogical situation for a lot of people, but there’s a big reason why Nintendo may go down this route; gameplay features. Eiji Aonuma has said that the experience will be the same on both platforms, but this doesn’t make sense.
The difference in platforms
Whilst it is clear that the Gamepad is being used for the Wii U version, Nintendo have said various times now that the NX will be a clear departure from the Wii and Wii U. To that end, there won’t be any off screen functionality on the NX version whilst this will (surely) take place on the Wii U version. There is also the issue that since there won’t be a tablet like controller then the quick item options won’t be available on NX. Again, this is purely based on the fact that Nintendo are wanting to make a quick departure from the Wii U and branch out with a new console and a new gimmick.
There is also the issue with the power of the NX compared to the Wii U. It would be foolish for Nintendo to not make the NX version more graphically appealing since this is more than likely to be a launch title. There is also the speculation that Nintendo have delayed NX to have VR capabilities. This is at present nothing more than a rumour but surely given that this is going to be a true open world Zelda title, you would expect this to have VR functionality which would be a great way to showcase the NX right off the bat. However if Aonuma is to be believed then this won’t even be a possibility since it would contradict his statement that the Wii U and NX versions will offer the same experience for the player.
It may of course have been taken out of context in that both versions will have the same core gameplay mechanics aside from the factors listed above, as well as it having the same amount of dungeons and bosses. This could be a nod to days gone by when it was the case that Nintendo were in the processes of using the N64DD in order to add in the additional dungeons to Ocarina of Time that simply couldn’t fit on a solitary N64 cartridge. The project fell through and a remixed OOT in the guise of Master Quest was released later on the Gamecube with the release of the Wind Waker.
Only time will tell how or even if Breath of the Wild will differ between Wii U and NX.