The big N has confirmed that they didn’t finish the game’s development at the last minute (in many cases, we see that they didn’t even then; see the case of Cyberpunk 2077…), but that the Japanese company took a slow, patient approach.
In the case of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, we can say that it is one of the killer apps for Nintendo Switch, just like the last part of the franchise, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which was released as the opening title (and also for Wii U). We wrote a few days after its release that in its first three days after launch, Nintendo sold over 10 million copies, setting a record for the franchise and the platform with Tears of the Kingdom, which, for a long time, was referred to as Breath of the Wild 2, as the big N kept the subtitle unnamed for a long time due to spoilers.
Announced during E3 2019, we got a new video of the game two years later, and Nintendo said it was planning to release it in 2022, only to have the Japanese company announce last March that it had postponed Tears of the Kingdom until Spring 2023: “We previously announced that we were aiming for a 2022 release for this game. However, we have decided to extend our development time and change the release to spring 2023. For those of you who have been looking forward to a release this year, we apologize,” said Eiji Aonuma, the game’s producer.
Aonuma has worked on every episode of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time since 1998, so he’s a franchise veteran. And in an interview with the Washington Post, he confirmed that development on The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was essentially complete at the time of the postponement and that Nintendo took the extra time to make sure the game could meet the bar they had set for quality so that it had an extended period of polishing. The result indicates that they took their time with the big N. The extra time allowed them to focus on the physics of the game.
For this reason, Miyamoto Shigeru used to be right: a postponed game can be good in the end, but a rushed game is always bad…