With reports saying that Nintendo will give The Legend of Zelda some love in the form of a mobile app, it’s time to think about how that may work.
Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes proved that Nintendo could and can shrink some of its premier franchises down to fit on much different screens than those on the 3DS. Pokémon GO might have done the same, but it’s from Niantic instead. Those are three of the biggest properties Nintendo has right now. (And if you don’t believe Fire Emblem counts, just go look and see how many characters it has in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS.)
From that perspective, the Wall Street Journal‘s report that Nintendo also has a Legend of Zelda game in the works doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Mario and Zelda go 1-2 in terms of importance as first-party IPs for Nintendo.
But how would it work? So far, Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes have mostly just been smaller versions of their parent franchises. Granted, Fire Emblem Heroes has added in a roulette component, interaction with other players via the Arena and Voting Gauntlets, and more, but at its heart it’s still a turn-based strategy game.
Zelda, meanwhile, has already had plenty of experience with trying to get people to play together. Most recently, that’s been Tri Force Heroes. Does anyone want to play a souped-up version of that? Sales figures from 2015 suggest that the answer is “not really.”
It seems like the sort of route to take might be a series of dungeons with the ability to add more on (as Fire Emblem Heroes has already done), where you can call friends to assist you somehow, thus incorporating the social mechanic Nintendo likely wants to keep improving on. Allowing Heroes friends to also connect on the Nintendo Switch network was also a big step forward. Let’s see if Nintendo can add in compatibility from the other way around.
It could be that Nintendo also incorporates the choice to play as multiple Links. Perhaps the Wind Waker iteration might have some skills that, say, Breath of the Wild Link does not. It would be an excellent nod to this storied franchise.
Regardless, yours truly is probably going to play it whenever it releases.