Nintendo has announced this morning that Zelda: The Twilight Princess will now launch globally sometime in 2006, instead of the previously touted Christmas 2005 launch date.
Although a specific date is yet to be set, internet reports quote Nintendo Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Perrin Kaplan, as pointing toward a release some time after the end of this fiscal year, due to conclude on March 31.
The news is likely to be the equivalent of an angry slap in the face with a huge, wet Hyrulian fish (one of those talking, tentacled things, probably) for GameCube fans feverishly anticipating the largest scale Zelda project since Ocarina of Time.
Nintendo reveals the desired inclusion of "incredible new game elements" as the cause for the wholly unexpected delay, continuing: "We recognize there may be some disappointed fans, however we firmly believe this additional time will result in a much more enjoyable gaming experience." Congratulations Nintendo, for the understatement of the year.
With the increasingly anaemic GC release schedule seriously lacking AAA punch in the run up to Christmas, the news is a huge blow for Nintendo fans eagerly anticipating one last big elfin hurrah before the next generation gets properly underway.
However, before the speculation machine slams into overdrive, a Nintendo representative confirmed to us that the game will still definitely be appearing on the GameCube, quashing any Revolution launch title stories before they grow legs and take over the internet.
Before you all run off and slash your wrists at the thought of a Zelda-less Christmas however, here are some brand new - and admittedly gorgeous - new screens, presumably intended to ease the terrible, terrible pain we're all feeling right now.