Nintendo explains why it chose Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem for next smartphone games

Nintendo president says Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem games on smartphones represent chances to connect with mainstream and hardcore players.


The big news from Nintendo's latest earnings report concerned a targeted release date for its next console, codenamed NX, as well as another delay to The Legend of Zelda U, now confirmed to be in development for NX as well. But Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima also revealed that the company's Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing properties would join Pokémon on smartphones later this fall.

Those two properties couldn't be more different: Animal Crossing is a Sims-like experience that appeals to casual gamers, while Fire Emblem is a hardcore-style RPG that permanently kills characters, demanding significant investments of time and emotion. Those disparate traits are precisely why Kimishima believes Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem will succeed on smartphones and tablets.

Describing Fire Emblem as a "tough-to-beat simulation," Kimishima believes the essence of series will speak to players interested in more involved experiences. "We expect that many consumers will experience Fire Emblem for the first time on their smart device, so this application will offer a more accessible style of gameplay compared to the titles for dedicated video game systems," he said according to a transcript of the earnings report. At the same time, we still aim to provide a fully engaging experience as a role-playing simulation game."

Meanwhile, Animal Crossing offers a style of gameplay that seems tailor-made for phones: play when you can, do what you want. "The unique and lovable characters, relaxed lifestyle, and endless playability make this series popular with female and young consumers in particular."

As to gameplay specifics, details are still murky. But Kimishima assured investors that both Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem will have "more prominent" game elements than, say, Miitomo, which Nintendo situated as a social experience more than a game.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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