Making a video game is not easy. Even if development goes smoothly, a team can spend months of work just getting the game up and running, much less finished - and, more often than not, things don't go smoothly.
As video games get bigger and bigger, delays are becoming more and more prevalent. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a perfect example of this: originally announced back in 2013 as the Wii U's first Zelda game, Breath of the Wild has been delayed so many times that it's basically missed the entire console life cycle.
Not only that, but Breath of the Wild is hardly the first Zelda game to miss its original release date: Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess were all delayed at one point or another.
How is it possible that, with a company as big as Nintendo, a game like The Legend of Zelda could be delayed? According to the series' creators, it's not because of bugs or glitches - rather, Nintendo seems to bite off a bit more than it can chew on a regular basis.
In an interview with Kotaku, Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto and series producer Eiji Aonuma explained why the series has a tendency to miss its release dates.
"When we think about the release period for any Zelda game, we really want to get it out as soon as possible so that everybody can play and experience it, but every time we make a Zelda, we want to make something new. It's hard to gauge how long that's going to take. And it's also hard to gauge at what point whatever we consider to be new is done," Aonuma said.
Delays can be tough to swallow, especially when a game that's as highly anticipated as Zelda misses yet another release date. Then again, with said delays, some of the best games in the series probably wouldn't be so fondly remembered today.
So, why bother even giving a release date in the first place? Well, if Miyamoto had his way, Nintendo wouldn't even bother with giving Zelda games a launch window before they knew the game was ready.
"First of all, it would be great if I didn't have to put a release date out at all ... but I have to," said Miyamoto.
It's easy to forget that video games are a business, and investors need to be assured that their money is well-spent. A firm release date is one way that a developer can reassure investors (as well as eager fans) that a project is moving along, but then the team runs the risk of missing said release date, and that's when delays start popping up.
That goes doubly for a game as ambitious as Breath of the Wild. Previously delayed Zelda games typically have the luxury of following a format similar to the games that came before them, but Breath of the Wild looks to be the first truly open-world game in the series since the original game - and that means a lot of extra work for the team.
Aonuma explained that, when it came to nailing down Breath of the Wild's mechanics, things simply took longer than the team thought they would.
"A lot of times what we try to tackle takes a lot longer than anticipated. So that's why many times [in] the development struggle there is a delay. The people around us keep telling us: 'This is the last one. You really need to shape up,'" he said.
"In terms of Breath of the Wild, we implemented many things like the physics engine and the AI and the type of graphics that we use. We had to make sure that design has enough time to create that. It just dawned on us that we're not able to do that in this schedule. That's what we realized about two years ago," Aonuma added. "In this instance, we never really experienced this, so that's why we had to delay it."
Thankfully, there are signs that preemptive release dates won't be around for too much longer. At E3 2015, Bethesda confirmed that Fallout 4 would be releasing just three months after it was first announced, and many of the games shown at Sony's E3 2016 press conference were never given any sort of release window.
Who knows - maybe someday, Nintendo won't be forced to give itself impossible deadlines.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is scheduled to launch alongside Nintendo's new NX console sometime early next year.