It seems like Nintendo is keen on porting their most popular franchises to mobile devices. After the mixed successes of Mario Run and Fire Emblem: Heroes, it looks like Zelda is also destined to come to the mobile realm.
Nintendo previously reported that after many delays and rescheduling, a mobile version of their open world community simulation game Animal Crossing was expected to arrive between April 2017 and March 2018.
A recent report by The Wall Street Journal not only pinpoints the launch happening during the second semester of 2017, but reveals that it will be followed by a mobile version of no other than Zelda.
Zelda has been a flagship title for Nintendo for three decades and is considered one of the most successful video games of all time. Its latest incarnation, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, broke even the most optimistic predictions and has sold nearly three million copies since its launch last March.
Curiously, the game has been such a hit it actually sold more copies than Switch consoles. How that happened, I don’t know.
These reports kind of contradict Nintendo director Shigeru Miyamoto who previously stated that the company would focus on crafting original games for mobile devices, rather than porting old ones.
“I don’t think we’ll take the past Mario games that we’ve made and just move them over to a mobile platform,” he said.
There’s an interesting play of words and concepts in his statements. Although Nintendo does adapt each game to the specificities of every device, it’s obvious that milking an established franchise is infinitely smarter than investing in developing a whole new game.
It’s the same phenomenon we see happening in the comics and film industries. It’s a safer bet to launch the nth incarnation of a well-known character – say, Batman – than to create a new one from scratch.
At this point, it’s unclear if the upcoming Zelda game will take the free-to-play route like Fire Emblem or the ‘pay once’ model like Super Mario Run.