Nintendo Planning to Launch Smartphone Version of 'The Legend of Zelda'

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Following the release of mobile games Miitomo, Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, and the upcoming Animal Crossing iPhone app, Nintendo's next big franchise coming to smartphones will be The Legend of Zelda, according to sources speaking with The Wall Street Journal. The sources said that Animal Crossing will hit mobile devices sometime "in the latter half of 2017," and a smartphone version of The Legend of Zelda would launch afterwards.

That would make The Legend of Zelda the fifth game Nintendo develops for iOS and Android devices in partnership with developer DeNA. Originally, all five games were supposed to launch before March 2017, but only Miitomo, Super Mario Run, and Fire Emblem Heroes made that deadline. Around the release of Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo said that it plans to launch two to three smartphone games every year from now on.


It isn't yet clear if The Legend of Zelda will see a 2017 or 2018 launch, or how much Nintendo will charge players for the game. Recently, a Nintendo senior official described Fire Emblem Heroes' freemium model an "outlier," saying that the company prefers the pay-once price tag of Super Mario Run, suggesting The Legend of Zelda might follow in the latter game's footsteps.

Nintendo Co. plans to bring its videogame franchise “The Legend of Zelda” to smartphones, people familiar with the matter said, the latest step by the Kyoto company to expand its mobile-games lineup.

The people familiar with the matter said the “Animal Crossing” smartphone app is likely to be released in the latter half of 2017, and “The Legend of Zelda” would follow that, although they cautioned that the timing and order of the releases could be changed. Nintendo is developing the games with Tokyo-based DeNA Co.

The decision by Nintendo to focus on The Legend of Zelda next follows the recent launch of the Nintendo Switch and success of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. If the company is to continue the pattern it has set by Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes, the iPhone version of The Legend of Zelda is likely to see a simplified, mobile-friendly iteration of the gameplay and mechanics from the franchise, and could potentially communicate with the console version like Animal Crossing is expected to do.

The Wall Street Journal also commented on a new game coming from Nintendo-owned The Pokémon Company, which is described only as a "new card-game app." The sources declined to further comment on The Pokémon Company's plans, but a new iPhone game centered around the popular real-life trading cards that the franchise is known for appears to be a likely explanation for the upcoming game. It's almost been a year since Pokémon Go launched in the New Zealand, Australia, and the United States, and became a hit soon after around the world.

Top Rated Comments

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42 months ago
People are acting like this isn't just going to be a mini game collection or some card game.

The Switch is selling out everywhere. You think Nintendo is dumb enough to release a full fledged Zelda game on a mobile platform?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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42 months ago

Interesting. With the control scheme in Zelda games being so complicated, I'd be very curious how they would adapt for iOS/Android. Especially since BotW is so perfect.

I am praying for a return to some kind of sprite-based, old-school Zelda that might be easier to control and look nice on iPhone. Or maybe even something like A Link Between Worlds.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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42 months ago
If you think this is going to be anything at all even resembling a real Zelda game, you've not been paying attention to Nintendo's mobile releases. Everything has been bottom of the barrel Flappy Birds-style cashgrabs which throw the licenses around to make way too much money from the fanboys. Remember Super Mario Run? Hardly a Mario game, little more than a clicker. Nintendo doesn't care about satisfying experiences on mobile; they just want some of the enormous mobile app marketshare. And they'll get it, because people are idiots.

Feeling pretty "meh" about a mobile Zelda game. Don't see how it would work. I'm actually more excited for Animal Crossing on iOS. That game is perfect for "smartphone gameplay", IMO.

Have you not played Link's Awakening? Definitely one of the best entries in the series.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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42 months ago

People are acting like this isn't just going to be a mini game collection or some card game.

The Switch is selling out everywhere. You think Nintendo is dumb enough to release a full fledged Zelda game on a mobile platform?

Exactly. Its likely some rehash in the spirit of Link's Crossbow Training for Wii, which, short of name and setting, had nothing to do with what made LOZ so famous. And it also got pretty mediocre reviews, to no surprise.

I think the Mario Runner we recently got is quite showing in regards to what we can expect.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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42 months ago

My Fire Emblem hype died when it was super obvious it was pay to win. Please don't screw Zelda with this, Nintendo. In fact, just port Majora's Mask, Ocarina of Time or A Link to the Past and call it a day.

I know this is well-meaning, and it could be good if they built an external controller for the game and somehow got Apple to okay them making it only playable with that controller. But porting games onto smartphones that are traditionally played with buttons, like the Zelda games you mentioned, result in a horrible, horrible experience (just look at the Final Fantasy ports on iOS). A game needs to be built for touch from the ground up to work well on mobile. It could be the storyline of the Zelda games you mentioned, but the controls would need to be completely and totally revamped, at which point I'd kind of rather just get new games on mobile.

For what it's worth, I'd recommend looking into a 3DS XL if you're into those three games. All three can be downloaded off Nintendo's eShop, and the remakes of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask are significant improvements over the originals (better graphics, the Iron and Hover Boots don't require you to go into a menu EVERY TIME YOU WANT TO CHANGE THEM, Majora's Mask let's you make permanent saves during a three-day cycle, text scrolls faster... generally they fixed a lot of the minor frustrations of those games). And they're a way better experience than trying to shove every button onto the screen of your phone.

Given their announcement that they prefer Super Mario Run's pay-once-and-play system over Fire Emblem's, even though it makes them less money overall, I think they'll do something similar with Zelda.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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42 months ago
http://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/0nKucR8rpyfV9ktby3s-Kv1_UlMI5P5a This will probably be heavily influenced by the DS Zelda games, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, which were entirely controlled by touch. Mario Run is a pretty solid mobile game, and Nintendo's method seems to be working (put some small, inexpensive games on mobile to entice people to buy Nintendo hardware and the full-fledged games). I think this could be pretty fun!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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