The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is releasing right around the corner for the Switch in July. Nintendo recently revealed that the game is launching the same day as a Zelda Amiibo featuring the princess and her Loftwing. This figure is a more detailed than previous figures Nintendo has released and it also has a steeper price. However, it’s not the price that is causing irritation among consumers and fans, it’s the Amiibo’s function.
Nintendo explained that the Zelda & Loftwing Amiibo allows you to fast travel between the surface world and the sky. Scanning the figure while you’re on the surface, and you can return to the sky from anywhere. This includes when dungeon diving. Scan the figure again while in the sky, and you’ll return to the same point on the surface.
This is quite an improvement to the original “fast travel” system, which would only allow you to travel between Loftwing statutes situated in specific locations around the world. Obviously, this is a limited travel system, so the cost of the Amiibo is not the real issue–it’s what it does.
However, this isn’t the first time Nintendo has set features behind an Amiibo, but the company has always pressed itself right up against the boundary, but never passed it. Until now. In the past, these Amiibo features were presented as something that enhanced the game, not a simple quality-of-life improvement that one would expect when a remaster is released.
For me, it’s the fact that Nintendo just expects everyone to be thrilled about this. Skyward Sword is close to being ten-years-old, and this is the exact improvement one would hope for in a game this old. The fact there is a paywall for a basic upgrade, and it is extremely concerning. It makes me worry that companies like Activision, EA, and Take-Two will take note if this, especially if it works in Nintendos’ favor. We already pay an exorbitant amount just to purchase a base game, if you add in any special editions and DLC, you’re looking at a possible $100-$150–or more.
The world is also coming off an unprecedented time for the modern era. Coronavirus has negatively impacted the economy for over a year, and it is finally starting to stabilize (at least in the US). Those who have lost their jobs or can only afford three or four games a year may be more likely to pass on this remake. Nintendo has made plenty of revenue over the past couple of years, despite the pandemic, so where do they get the audacity charging for something that should be a given.
For me, it’s not the price of the Amiibo, it’s what’s attached–but what’s not attached as well. Other Amiibos have come with small DLC as well, like skins for characters. This is not the case, it’s just the figurine and this improvement.
I do understand fans who are looking to add to their collections, I’m a collector myself (not of Amiibo though), so I can see the appeal of bringing one more piece to your collection. However, if you’re not into these formed pieces of plastic, it seems pointless for you to have it just to use a feature. Plus, shouldn’t Nintendo be beyond the point of wasting resources and clogging the system with more useless plastic junk?
Plain and simple: this is corporate greed, unnecessary greed. I would hope that enough fans, and potential players, would come to their senses and avoid purchasing the Amiibo. Or the game altogether. Nintendo needs to understand how disappointing a decision this is for those who truly enjoy all the Zelda titles. I already know they won’t be changing their stance, but I certainly wish they would reconsider.