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screenshot_1856Nintendo is finally bringing Mario to smartphones, developing a new game for Apple’s iOS, called Super Mario Run, the companies said this morning in a surprise announcement from Apple’s special media event in California.

It’s a breakthrough for Apple and a major change in strategy for Nintendo, which has largely kept its top characters away from smartphones.

“They’ll be doing it first on iOS,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, introducing Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto at the event. ‘They’ll be doing it in a brand new game, Super Mario Run.”

Super Mario Run already has a page on the App Store, where users can sign up to be notified when the game is available. The game will be available for iPhone and iPad.

“A new Mario game you can play with one hand! At long last, Mario jumps into a new adventure on iPhone and iPad, this time playable using only one hand,” the description reads. That notification feature also appears to be new.

The move follows the runaway success of Pokemon Go, a franchise in which Nintendo has a major stake. Also at the event, Pokemon Go maker Niantic announced plans to bring Pokémon Go to Apple Watch, alerting users when they approach PokeStops and letting them know which characters are nearby to be caught. It’s scheduled to ship before the end of the year.

Pokemon Go for Apple Watch

Super Mario Brothers will be released this year at a price to be announced later, Miyamoto said in his comments at the event. “For the past 30 years, every time Mario has encountered a new platform, he has evolved and continued running toward a new goal,” Miyamoto said. “And now Mario is running toward his next goal: iPhone.”

Demonstrating the new game, the company showed how to make Mario jump by tapping anywhere on the screen, with longer taps translating into higher jumps. The goal is to collect as many coins as possible and get to the end before time runs out. That’s familiar to Mario fans, but the one-handed play is a differentiator, Miyamoto said.

In addition, the game introduces a new battle mode called “Toad Rally.”

Here is Nintendo’s full news release on the new game.

KYOTO, Japan–(BUSINESS WIRE)– At an Apple event in San Francisco, CA earlier today, Nintendo announced that the leading man of video games will star in Super Mario Run, a full-sized Super Mario Bros. action platformer that has been developed specifically for mobile, and will be available first on the App Store this December. Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto took the stage at the event and put Mario through his paces in a multi-level demonstration instantly familiar to millions of fans worldwide. In the game, Mario runs forward on his own, but relies on the touch of a single finger to jump over obstacles, avoid pesky enemies and capture the flag pole to complete levels.

“We have created Super Mario Run to be perfect for playing on your iPhone,” said Mr. Miyamoto, who first devised the Mario character more than 35 years ago. “Super Mario has evolved whenever he has encountered a new platform, and for the first time ever, players will be able to enjoy a full-fledged Super Mario game with just one hand, giving them the freedom to play while riding the subway or my favorite, eating a hamburger.”

“The App Store has made so many things better in our lives — the way we communicate, the way we work and the way we have fun,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “But for gamers of all ages, the story just hasn’t been complete without Mario, so we are thrilled that Nintendo is bringing him to iOS for the first time this December.”

Super Mario Run has a mode in which the player collects coins and heads for the goal, and a mode in which the player competes against the acrobatic moves of other people who have completed the same course. In addition, there is a mode in which you create your own Mushroom Kingdom based upon these play results.

iOS users will be able to download and enjoy a portion of Super Mario Run for free and will be able to enjoy all of the game content available in this release after paying a set purchase price. More details will be disclosed at a later date. The game has been developed with Mr. Miyamoto as lead creator for Nintendo. Nintendo is also continuing its partnership with DeNA for the launch of Super Mario Run. It will be offered on the App Store this December in more than 100 different countries, and nine different languages.

To help iOS users get ready for the launch of Super Mario Run, a free Mario-themed sticker pack for the App Store for iMessage will launch this month. iMessage users can easily access and use these stickers in a variety of ways, bringing a bit of Mushroom Kingdom flavor to their conversations.

Super Mario Run represents the next phase of Nintendo’s expansion to mobile platforms, following the release of Miitomo earlier this year. After the launch of Super Mario Run in December, Nintendo plans to deliver its previously announced mobile device titles in the Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem series before the end of March, 2017.

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