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Nintendo Reportedly Working on a Zelda Smartphone Game

The new game would follow this year’s mobile releases of Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing

It’s one of those things we assumed was true, but here’s some smoke to the fire anyway. Today, the Wall Street Journal is citing a well-placed source as saying that a Zelda game is in development for mobile, and could be released as soon as this year.

And, that’s it. Whatever conversation the WSJ and their source was about this game, it must have been a short one. All that’s being said is that the game is in development, and that it’ll come out after the release of the Animal Crossing mobile game later this year. That would make it the third Nintendo game for smartphones this year, including Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem: Heroes (fourth if you count the Android release of Super Mario Run).

It’ll be interesting to see what approach Nintendo takes here. They were reticent to associate Mario with the murkier parts of smartphone gaming, opting to sell the full game at $10 instead of including microtransactions. They showed no such reluctance with Fire Emblem, a more niche series with a more fervent fan base — the sweet spot for those microtransactions. Outside of Mario, the Legend of Zelda series is the second most recognizable property that Nintendo has full control of, so at first blush, we’d expect no microtransactions.

However, while Super Mario Run was a huge success in terms of downloads, it was an average performer in converting those downloads into full purchases of the game. It’s also coming out after the Switch and Wii U release of Breath of the Wild, meaning there would be no clear marketing purpose for the smartphone game. If the intention isn’t to use the mobile Zelda game as a marketing tool to push Switch and Breath of the Wild sales, it stands to reason they’d want a stable revenue driver — one that brings in $1.99 or so at a time. We’ll probably find out one way or another sometime soon — the Nintendo Direct presentation during E3 in June looks to be the first opportunity.

Via The Verge