The Wall Street Journal has reported Nintendo is working on a Zelda app that will be released on smartphones in 2018.
According to the article’s unnamed source, the app will be co-developed by Japanese developer DeNA, and will be the next mobile title to be released after Animal Crossing, which fits in with president Tatsumi Kimishima’s comments the company will release two or three mobile games per year.
The WSJ article goes on to say Animal Crossing will be released in the “latter half” of 2017, which narrows down the timeframe somewhat after Nintendo previously announced a release in “the next fiscal year”.
The news of a Zelda app could come as good news or bad news for fans, depending on their opinion of Nintendo’s current crop of mobile games. While there is little doubt Mario Run is an interesting take on the Mario formula, Miitomo has failed to catch fan’s attention, and Fire Emblem Heroes, while still receiving updates and new content, lacks the depth to give it any real staying power.
There is also of course the ludicrously popular Pokémon Go, but as Nintendo didn’t make the game and owns only a small part of The Pokémon Company, the main impact of the game was to boost Pokémon Sun and Moon sales.
Regardless, Nintendo’s entry to the mobile game scene has been mostly positive, with in-game purchases kept at a minimum and a warm critical reception. Of course the draw of Nintendo not being seduced by microtransactions is a relatively small profit of $176 million, but hopefully this will be mitigated by a halo effect caused by Nintendo IPs being exposed to a new audience.
Who knows, what with the huge critical and public success of The Legend of Zelda: Breathe Of the Wild, perhaps a Zelda app is just what Nintendo needs to make their mobile fortune.