Hyrule Warriors was released in Japan last week, and the game sold 69,090 copies in its first week. Japanese sales tracker Media Create reported today that the game sold through just 57.33% of its shipment.
As we stated in our previous report on the subject, trying to compare Hyrule Warriors to other Warriors spin-offs in Japan is a little pointless. For starters, the other collaborative Warriors games are all based on popular franchises, such as One Piece or Gundam. That leads to opening sales figures like the ones below:
One Piece Pirate Warriors: 655,774
First of the North Star: Ken’s Rage: 385,295
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn: 126,019
The Legend of Zelda—at least on home consoles—is nowhere near as popular as any of the aforementioned franchises, seeing as how they’re all multimedia properties with a great deal of public awareness about them. While the portable Zelda games start out fairly strong and consistently sell over 500,000 copies in the long run, the console titles are often much slower burners in comparison.
Hyrule Warriors is also nothing like your traditional Zelda game. It plays just like any other Warriors game for the most part (albeit with a few Zelda-inspired touches thrown in), which means that it isn’t necessarily something that would appeal to the Zelda audience, which is more keen on exploration and puzzle-solving.
Gameplay is especially important to Zelda, since it is a videogame franchise, first and foremost. Unlike franchises like Gundam and One Piece that are more reliant on their characters and stories, Zelda relies primarily on its characteristics as a videogame. Thus, a change in genre, even when dealing with a spin-off title, can have quite the effect.
The Wii U having a low userbase—around 1.8 million units in Japan—doesn’t help either. Perhaps Hyrule Warriors would have found a larger audience more quickly after the actual Zelda game for Wii U had had a chance to attract fans of the franchise to the Wii U. It should be interesting to see if the game does any better in the West, where The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD has close to 1 million copies.
Sales data acquired from past Media Create archives.