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.