During a special video presentation Wednesday afternoon, Nintendo unveiled its third game for smartphones, a tactical roleplaying game staged in its medieval fantasy fueled Fire Emblem series.
Fire Emblem: Heroes, out February 2 for iOS and Android devices, once more pits two kingdoms against each other. But this game lets you play as a summoner invoking icons from the series' history to forge an army in what looks like a best-of series mashup. (For those unfamiliar with Fire Emblem, it's basically chess meets toy soldiers, each soldier sporting special abilities and positioned to fight on smallish boards with terrain tiles that impact how well they can move and fight.)
Maps in Heroes will be 8x6 grids tailored to smartphone screens, while the video suggests vertical is the only supported orientation, allowing character info to fill the top and an action menu bar to fill out the bottom. Movement is either drag-and-drop, or per traditional series controls, Heroes supports picking a spot to move to before executing the action. And there's the customary rock-paper-scissors angle, here using different colors (red, green, blue) to form the triangle of domination.
You use orbs acquired by playing to summon heroes, and that's where the micropayment angle comes in: you can also buy extras (with real money) in the game shop. There's also a save or spend angle that incentivizes thinking about how many orbs to use at once versus how many heroes you opt to summon. And the heroes themselves, able to be leveled up over time, come in multiple flavors, with higher star counts signifying versions of a hero with better stats or weapons.
The company also noted its Fire Emblem game (working title) for its upcoming home/mobile hybrid Nintendo Switch, and the first on a home console since 2007, will arrive sometime in 2018. There's also a remake of Fire Emblem: Gaiden coming for 3DS, dubbed Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and due May 19. And Dynasty Warriors/Fire Emblem mashup Fire Emblem: Warriors (see the trailer below) is coming to both Nintendo Switch and New Nintendo 3DS sometime this fall.