The Wii U remake of the the GameCube's Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker will be available two weeks earlier than initially announced by Nintendo, but only if you download it to the console. The download will be available on September 20.
The disc version remains slated for an October 4 release.
The digital-first promotion is tied to the September 20 release of a new $299.99 Wii U bundle that includes a download code for The Wind Waker HD as well as a download code for the Zelda lore book Hyrule Historia. Gamers don't have to buy the bundle to get the download. The game can be downloaded on its own for $49.99, same price as the disc edition.
This is an unusual move for Nintendo, which, up until now and for the past year, had been allowing consumers to buy Nintendo-published games digitally for Wii U or 3DS on the same day as their release on discs in stores.
"We're hugely committed to the digital business and we're committed to having consumers make the choice of either being able to buy games physically or digitally and we're committed to bringing new and unique experiences through digital means," Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told Kotaku. But he said the gaming giant was not making any special statement or launching any new advance-digital plan with the Wind Waker promotion.
"We saw an opportunity given the value change to make sure we had a strong product offering for Zelda loyalists, and to get them firmly in the Wii U franchise," he said, tying this into the Wii U's price drop and new bundle. "This is not a policy change or some grand signal by launching the digital version a few days earlier than the physical version."
Nintendo's other big releases this fall will be same-day disc and digital.