Any electronic household device short of a microwave has been able to play some form of Zen Pinball, unless it is a North American Wii U. Today's announcement, or lack of one, means that will continue to be the case for awhile longer. The content available for this week's update to the NA Wii U eShop was missing Zen Pinball 2 again.
Zen Pinball 2 for the Wii U was originally announced on Zen Studio's blog on December 5, 2012 with an expected release that month. The timing was very favorable as major title releases for the console wouldn't be coming until late February/March. This put Zen Pinball 2 in a nice position to occupy the attention of Wii U owners during this time. Unfortunately, as is common with digital releases (and becoming far too common for Wii U owners in my opinion) the game was delayed. Fans were told to expect it in January.
On the last possible day, January 31, Nintendo of Europe released the game. This put Zen in an awkward position as those in North America wanted to know when they would be able to play and Zen didn't have an answer to give them other than "it should be coming very soon."
A bright spot occurred on February 14, when the Valentine's Day Nintendo Direct specifically mentioned that Zen Pinball 2 would be released in February. This set the stage for those in North America that are chomping at the bit to be either very happy or very disappointed. Nintendo of America chose the later and did not release Zen Pinball 2 to the eShop as they announced.
So again a game set to release in the final days of February disappears, although it has to be said that no one could ask more from Zen Studios. Unlike Ubisoft that makes the decision to delay Rayman Legends and then goes "on vacation" for a week while their Facebook and Twitter pages become magnets for TV-MA rated negative comments, Zen Studios has been noticeably present. A question or comment on any of their social media sites will not go more that two or three hours without being acknowledged by one of Zen's employees.
In speaking with Zen about the delay, it was apparent to me they were sad the NA release has not yet happened. However, it wasn't from a loss of revenue standpoint which will almost certainly happen as some major titles are set to release within a few weeks. It was more because they really want their fans to be able to play pinball. While most companies are in business to make games, Zen Studios seems to be a group of gamers that went into business.
One positive note is that unlike the last two months, March doesn't end on a Thursday. So when those still waiting for the game are told to expect it in March, they won't have to wait until the absolute last day to know if that is true.
Are you frustrated with delays to Zen Pinball 2? Let us know in the comment section or join us in the chat room to vent about it.