There was plenty of fan-pleasing announcements in yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, but perhaps the most interesting news was the company’s partnership with mobile giant GungHo.
We already knew about Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros Edition, a Nintendo-themed take on GungHo’s flagship product, but it turns out that’s not the only product the pair are working on. Puzzle & Dragons Z will flesh out the match-three puzzle title as a fully fledged RPG for 3DS, bringing the smash hit mobile IP to retail later this year (starting with a May launch in Japan).
It’s an interesting move given that Puzzle & Dragons’ success so far has been as a downloadable free-to-play game – one that has earned GungHo as much as $4.5m per day. While the Mario edition fits in with Nintendo’s plans to license its characters to partners that can introduce Nintendo IP to new audience, perhaps Puzzle & Dragons’ move to traditional games devices is GungHo’s attempt to do the same.
Meanwhile, Nintendo also announced a brand new free-to-play entry in one of its most popular series: Pokémon. Still keeping to its own platforms rather than going mobile, Nintendo will release Pokémon Shuffle for free via the Nintendo 3DS eShop next month. This game is also a match-three puzzler – not unlike Puzzle & Dragons – and will feature in-game purchases.
It’s not impossible that Pokémon Shuffle could be released on mobile devices; The Pokémon Company has already released a free-to-play version of its Pokémon Trading Card Game on iPad.
Also of note was Nintendo’s first foray into cross-platform purchases.
Similar to Sony’s Cross-Buy scheme for its home consoles and PlayStation Vita, Nintendo fans will be able to buy the latest Mario vs Donkey Kong on either Wii U and 3DS and receive a code to download the other version for free.
You can check out trailers for Puzzle & Dragons Z and Pokémon Shuffle below.