Playing The legend of Zelda on a smartphone
Image: YouTube.

Over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal reported Nintendo was developing new mobile games based on successful franchises in partnership with DeNA. The Legend of Zelda might be the first title to hit your smartphone, right after Animal Crossing’s mobile version launches later this year.

Sources close to the company told the Journal about a new strategy that involves bigger investments in mobile games, which include the launch of a new Pokémon card-based game as well to follow the success of Pokémon Go and Pokémon Duel.

Nintendo plans on riding the massive wave of popularity and success it is on right now thanks to its new Switch console. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the best-selling title for the hybrid system, with other popular franchises expect to land on the platform eventually.

Zelda for mobiles is unlikely to be a free to play app

Reports did not specify if Nintendo had any concrete design plans for Zelda’s debut on smartphones and tablets, but judging by its track record, it is safe to say the game won’t be free or that it will include in-app purchases at least.

The video game giant’s signature franchise came to mobile in the form of a simple runner game called Super Mario Run. The single-player title is free to download and play, but gamers need to pay up to unlock more worlds and levels.

Experts and fans have mostly agreed on the gameplay style Zelda should follow on mobile, which is a simplified adaptation of its dungeon-based adventure mode. In spite of these wishes, Nintendo may have different plans altogether as usual.

Some suggest Zelda could go hack-and-slash a la Hyrule Warriors for smartphone screens, pitting Link and other characters against hordes of enemies and bosses to complete levels.

Others have simply given up on trying to guess what’s on Nintendo’s mind and just hope for the best. What is almost dead certain is that you will have to pay for something in the mobile The Legend of Zelda title.

Over the last financial year, Nintendo made nearly $180 million in revenue related to smartphone games and in-app purchases. This next year, it hopes to make over five times that amount, crossing the ¥100 billion mark when it delivers its annual earnings report.

To help them achieve this, DeNA is said to be working on a new card game spin-off inspired by the real trading card games of the Pokémon franchise. Some of these collectible cards are highly valuable, and tournaments are held at the competitive level. A similar game could debut on mobile devices next year.

Source: The Wall Street Journal