“Super Mario Run,” the world-famous plumber’s first-ever smartphone game, came to the iPhone first, with Android users still waiting their turn.
But “Fire Emblem Heroes,” Nintendo’s long-promised and just-announced tactical role-playing game, will launch on both iOS and Android platforms simultaneously on February 2. You can “pre-register” for the game at the Google Play app store now.
When it initially made the announcement, Nintendo said the Android version of “Fire Emblem Heroes” would launch before the iPhone and iPad varieties, but the company corrected itself just a few hours later over Twitter, saying it would launch on all the above platforms on February 2.
Like “Super Mario Run,” you’ll be able to download the game for free. Unlike that game, “Fire Emblem Heroes” is free-to-play, meaning that you can go through the entire game without paying a dime, if you’re dedicated – or you can pony up real cash to unlock more powerful characters for your army.
While “Fire Emblem” may lack the worldwide brand recognition of Nintendo’s Super Mario franchise, it’s tremendously popular in Japan, with 15 games released in the series to date. The first game in the series debuted in 1990 in Japan, but it only came to North America in 2003, with the simply-titled “Fire Emblem” game for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance.
“Fire Emblem Heroes” casts you as the commander of a small army, choosing which swordsmen, archers, and mages go into battle with you. While the main series is notorious for its punishing difficulty, where characters who die stay dead for the remainder of your playthrough, “Fire Emblem Heroes” will be a little more forgiving and allow characters to be revived.
Along with “Fire Emblem Heroes,” Nintendo also announced “Fire Emblem Echoes,” a new game for the Nintendo 3DS portable console, as well as more details of the forthcoming “Fire Emblem Warriors,” an action-based spinoff of the series coming to the new Nintendo Switch console as well as the 3DS.
Based on Nintendo’s previously-shared plans, Nintendo’s next smartphone game will be based on the company’s “Animal Crossing” franchise, which casts the player as a resident in a town full of talking animals.
The fact that “Fire Emblem Heroes” is free-to-play might be encouraging to Wall Street investors, who were disappointed in the apparent difficulty that “Super Mario Run” has had in generating recurring revenue – players buy all the levels once for $9.99, with no other opportunities for ongoing revenue.
Here’s the official “Fire Emblem Heroes” trailer: