Ever since Nintendo jumped into mobile gaming, a Legend of Zelda smartphone game always seemed inevitable. Now, it's all but official.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo will bring its hit action-adventure series to smartphones sometime after the release of its Animal Crossing mobile game later this year.
So, what can we expect from the first Zelda game for mobile? There aren't any details floating around yet, but we can make a few guesses based on Nintendo's current smartphone offerings -- and the state of the Zelda franchise right now.
For starters, we'd be shocked to not see the game have some sort of connection to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which launched in March for Switch and Wii U and is already considered one of the best games ever made by both fans and critics. Whether its getting mobile rewards for playing the console game or simply getting to adventure in the same world as Breath of the Wild, it would make sense for Nintendo to keep riding the momentum of its latest hit game.
Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo's two current mobile games, are both structured pretty differently, and hint at two possible directions the Zelda game could go in. Super Mario Run is more traditional -- you spend $10 to play a whole bunch of bite-sized Mario levels that you can play to your heart's content. Fire Emblem Heroes, on the other hand, is a free-to-play game that encourages you to spend cash on "orbs" that unlock characters from all eras of Nintendo's popular role-playing series.
The Super Mario Run model would make sense for Zelda -- Nintendo could adopt the 2D, top-down action from classic Zelda games, and give players a series of short, increasingly difficult dungeons to run through. At the same time, Fire Emblem Heroes made the company a whopping $2.9 million in revenue in its first day, and a free-to-play, character-collecting game starring Zelda heroes and villains could potentially do even better for the Big N.
Whatever Nintendo has planned for Zelda on mobile, we should have a better idea later this year. The company's next smartphone game will be based on Animal Crossing, its popular life simulator series whose addicting town-building gameplay should be a perfect fit for touchscreens.