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Is Nintendo developing a Zelda smartphone game?

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Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes were big hits for Nintendo — with the latter bringing in a significant amount of cash through its microtransactions — and the company apparently has its sights set on another classic franchise. The Legend of Zelda franchise will be hitting smartphones soon, though it’s unclear what form the game will take.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Nintendo has once again partnered with DeNA to bring The Legend of Zelda franchise to mobile devices, and that the game is planned for a release after the Animal Crossing game previously announced for smartphones, which should arrive in late 2017.

The report said that it’s unclear which business model Nintendo plans to use for the Zelda game. While Super Mario Run used a one-time $10 fee to unlock all courses, both Fire Emblem Heroes and social app Miitomo implemented microtransactions that let players purchase more characters or clothing. This would presumably have to be limited to cosmetic items in the Zelda game, as it would otherwise break the balance of dungeons.

Though The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild made full use of the Wii U and Switch’s traditional buttons for combat and traversal, the franchise has also made use of touchscreens in the past. The DS games Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks were controlled primarily with the handheld’s stylus, and it’s possible that a similar scheme could be used in the smartphone game.

Of course, Nintendo could also be planning something completely different from the “traditional” Zelda games to make better use of the smartphone’s button-free layout. We’d be thrilled to play a mobile bow-shooting gallery game, or even a visual novel that goes deeper into the lore of Hyrule and Ganondorf.

What are you hoping to see out of a Zelda smartphone game? A return to the universe of Wand of Gamelon? What’s wrong with you? Let us know in the comments!

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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