According to the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo plans to follow up recent mobile titles Miitomo and Super Mario Run with a Legend of Zelda game made for smartphone hardware.
The new Zelda will allegedly be co-developed by Japanese developer DeNA, and will be Nintendo’s next mobile title after its as-yet untitled Animal Crossing game. That game was originally slated to be out this March, but was pushed back by the company in its latest earnings report. According to the WSJ, it’s now due to surface in the “latter half” of 2017.
With that timeframe in mind, it’s likely the mobile Zelda will arrive around the beginning of 2018. Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima has previously said the company plans to release two-to-three mobile games a year, so this matches up with that rough schedule.
So far, Nintendo’s most high profile mobile launch (not counting Pokémon Go, which is made by Niantic) was Super Mario Run. While the game has had around 150 million downloads across iOS and Android, it hasn’t managed to cross Nintendo’s goal of 10% users paying for the full game. Talking to Nikkei Asia Review, Tatsumi Kimishima said the revenue “did not meet our expectations”.
Of course, this is all in comparison to the release of Nintendo’s Switch console, which out-performed expectations. A large part of that success has been chalked up to the excellence of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which has so far sold over 2.76 million copies. Nintendo’s hope will be that some of this love can translate to mobile, although how the new Zelda plans to make money remains to be seen – whether it will follow Super Mario Run and be free-to-start, or free-to-play like another of its mobile titles, Fire Emblem Heroes.
We’ll have more details on The Legend of Zelda: Call of the Elaborate Monetisation Strategy as and when they surface.