An open letter to Nintendo.
There is a high level of frustration among Zelda fans right now, which is itself a feat that you should note. We are, after all, a very resilient bunch. We have put up with Twilight Princess' repeated delays and stylistic changes while patiently ignoring the dearth of official details and the game's recent lackluster E3 appearance. At times, it seems like you are throwing roadblocks in the way of us devoted Zelda players, and the latest and most bitter of these was the announcement that both a GameCube and Wii version of Twilight Princess would be released simultaneously. Now, I understand that you have tremendous faith in Wii and want Zelda to prove the new console's worth; at the same time you have clung to the release of a GameCube version as a sign of goodwill to those who purchased the system for Zelda alone. This is, I suppose, fine by me. Really, for the Nintendo faithful it should be a no-brainer: buy a Wii, get Zelda. From our mentality, the Wii version of Zelda is preferred since Wii is your new system and we're getting it anyway. Unfortunately, the problem facing Zelda fans now is that you have decided not to implement GameCube controls for Twilight Princess on Wii, confusing gamers as to which version truly is the next Zelda game.
I prefer things to be definitive. When I purchase something, I do not want to be forced to purchase an addition for it to be complete, or have to upgrade in the future. You as a company, Nintendo, have avoided the Deluxe-Redux-Substance path and your customers are happier for it. When I purchased The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker I was confident, based on your track record, that there was not going to be a Special Edition waiting eight months down the road, which is something that I as a movie collector wish I could know every time I bought a DVD. The movie market is even more vicious than the game industry when it comes to “double-dipping." Very soon I may have to buy yet another DVD of Dracula, something I'm getting tired of doing. But there is something that's even worse for a movie collector than double-dipping: sometimes there are two versions of the same movie released on DVD around the same time but with different special features. This is a rare occurrence and usually only happens when more than one company has the rights to release a movie on DVD – it is almost never the fault of a malicious studio. Please hear me: I would never call you malicious, Nintendo. But as improper as this decision would be in the movie world, it does feel as though you have made this decision with Zelda on Wii.
So far the only credible excuse thrown around for the lack of GameCube control on the Wii version of Zelda is that the Wii hardware simply doesn't allow it. The rumor is that when a GameCube disc is in the system the GameCube controller ports work, but when a Wii disc is inside the system the GameCube ports turn off. This theory, I assume propagated by fanboys, has been debunked by your very own official magazine, as reported by the blog Nintendo Wii Fanboy in a news post about future Wii title Rampage: Total Destruction. According to the Fanboy, Nintendo Power has stated that Rampage will allow the player to choose between Wii control and GameCube control. This is all without mentioning that Masahiro Sakurai, your Smash Bros. main man, advised us at E3 not to throw away our GameCube controllers when we get Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii. With both of these details considered, it seems to me that you don't have any excuses left: you have gone out of your way to emphasize that the two versions of Twilight Princess are identical in gameplay and you are confident enough in the two control schemes that you are releasing the game with both on the same day. If the statement in Nintendo Power is to be trusted, then there are no technical limitations preventing GameCube control that the consumer could fathom. If you're leaving it out due to limited space on the DVD or some complex programming issue, I kindly ask that you say so. Otherwise, we will have to assume that you are leaving GameCube control out deliberately, a choice that is still confusing to all of us.
If Twilight Princess on Wii had GameCube controls it would definitely be considered the preferred version, not to mention sell more. The only people who would buy the GameCube version would be those reticent to purchase a Wii at all. You have made the GameCube version enticing, though, by telling us that it is still the full Zelda experience while retaining that classic mode of control that you innovated way back for Ocarina of Time. This control method is often imitated - it has been the de facto standard for 3-D adventure games ever since Ocarina was released. Some Zelda gamers are wary of the Wii control scheme based on E3 reports and forcing them to choose between the two does not relieve their tensions. One method must be better than the other, but with two versions of the game available how do we decide? By leaving GameCube control out of Twilight Princess you are shifting sales from the Wii version to the GameCube version, perhaps with the hope that some will “double-dip" and purchase both. Of course I believe it is foolish to purchase both since past Zelda games have offered incentive to play the game twice, and as far as we know there is not a way to transfer your saved game from the Wii to the GameCube version. Despite this, I must admit that as a completist I feel compelled to purchase both versions as well, but in the end I will only purchase one at full price on ethical grounds alone.
If you really want to play hardball Nintendo, then go ahead. It is obvious you have faith in the Wii version so much that you don't want players to even have the option to play Zelda the old fashioned way. You want Zelda on Wii to be definitive, as I do. I think it is ironic, though, that in your efforts to prove the Wii version definitive you may be driving people away from it, thinning sales for one of your flagship Wii launch titles. By exalting one control method over another but making both available separately, you ensure that there will not be a definitive version of Twilight Princess at all; we will have two separate and distinct Zelda games that each have their own allure. I myself am torn and disappointed that I have to make this choice.