Nintendo's finally lifted the lid on its upcoming Fire Emblem game for smartphones. Entitled Fire Emblem Heroes, the game will be free to download with optional in-app purchases and will be launching on Android on February 2nd in the UK with an iOS release to follow soon after.
The game features classic Fire Emblem gameplay, with each 6x8 tile-based map designed to fit on a smartphone screen. Players take on the role of a summoner, and must call upon past Fire Emblem heroes to aid them in battle. Depending on which heroes players choose to join them, other famous characters may take up arms against them by becoming enemy generals.
Players can tap or drag their heroes into position using their phone's touchscreen, and they'll be able to attack enemy soldiers simply by swiping a hero over their opponent. Players will then be able to watch the duel play out in a side-on battle animation, much like the Fire Emblem games on GBA. Once all enemy soldiers are defeated, the player wins.
Much like Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes will require a constant internet connection in order to carry on playing. However, rather than follow Super Mario Run's monetization structure, it seems Fire Emblem Heroes will be a fundamentally free-to-play game that utilises a 'gacha' monetization structure. This will allow players to buy additional characters to add to their army, which, given the potential number of Fire Emblem characters on offer, could prove highly lucrative for Nintendo.
Outside of the main story, players will also be able to strengthen their army and compete against other players. The game will also receive free, regular updates that add more characters to the Heroes roster, as well as new content that will allow players to sink even more time into the game.
Nintendo also announced that fans will be able to vote for which characters they'd most like to see make an appearance in Fire Emblem Heroes by visiting the Fire Emblem Heroes: Choose Your Legends website. Once the voting period has finished, the most popular hero and heroine worldwide will then be featured in the game upon its release as Choose Your Legends event characters. Players who participate in the event will also receive a platinum point bonus for their My Nintendo account.