Nintendo is partnering with Japanese game publisher GungHo to release a Super Mario-themed version of the popular Puzzle & Dragons game on the 3DS on April 29.
"We contacted Nintendo with New Year's 2014 greetings as we reported that Puzzle & Dragons Z had sold one million copies," GungHo Online's Kazuki Morishita explained in a translated version of an interview with 4Gamer. "We said, 'we'd like to do more Puzzle & Dragons spin-offs' to president Iwata and Mr. Miyamoto. From there on, we tried to create the Mario version in-house at GungHo as we thought, 'wouldn't it be better to show Nintendo?' Then discussions with Nintendo progressed again."
Co-developer Daisuke Yamamoto went on to say that the team showed Nintendo a working prototype several months after first contact, growing the potential game by combining the world and stages of Super Mario Bros with the action of Puzzle & Dragons.
The original Puzzle & Dragons was released in 2012 as a puzzle game with elements of RPGs and strategy for the iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire. The game was recently announced to have surpassed 41 million downloads worldwide, making it one of the most successful mobile games ever.
The game allows players to command a team of monsters to explore dungeons, fight enemies, and collect special valuable treasure. The battle system features a mechanic similar to that of Bejewelled, which explains part of its attractiveness to so many users worldwide.
This Super Mario Bros version for the 3DS will certainly not be the first collaboration with the Puzzle & Dragons franchise, which has included partnerships with everything from Ragnarok Online, Clash of Clans, Monster Hunter, Hello Kitty, DragonBall Z, Baskin-Robbins, Batman, and many more. Most of the these collaborations have been for the Japanese version of the game.
Certain spin-offs have also been created, including the previously mentioned Puzzle & Dragons Z version for the 3DS which has has so far sold over 1.5 million copies in Japan and has acted as a litmus test for continuing production with this new Super Mario Bros version.
This Super Mario Bros version is said to feature several character training mechanics, and "not just be about completing stages," as the developers said. GungHo did not give an exact number of Mushroom Kingdom characters that will be featured in the game, but Nintendo is said to add in a heavy emphasis on story and overworld progression. You can certainly expect the major players to be present, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, and Bowser.
The game will retail in Japan for 4,000 yen without any of the freemium elements that are prominent in the mobile versions. There is no word yet of a release outside of Japan.