Nintendo’s future, according to both the official company line and former employees, is wedded to its strongest remaining asset: Its characters. A newly announced game in Japan suggests that those characters are getting a longer leash.
The game is Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, slated only for the Nintendo 3DS. But the game it’s based on, Puzzle & Dragons, is the Candy Crush Saga of Japan — a top-two grossing app in the Japanese App Store for almost all of the last three years, according to App Annie.
The game’s maker, GungHo, released its first spinoff version of the game for the 3DS in late 2013, and it went on to sell 1.5 million copies in its first six months. The Super Mario Bros. Edition should likely do better than that, combining two franchises with big fandoms in Japan.
The big question, of course, is whether Nintendo will eventually take the extra step and let Mario and friends travel to a non-3DS version of the game. While once completely unimaginable, the Pokémon Company’s 2014 release of two mobile apps leaves the door slightly ajar (Nintendo owns two-thirds of the company).
In the West, Puzzle & Dragons is less well-known than in Asia, but it is still a strong contender. The English-language version is consistently in the top 100 grossing apps on the iOS store in the U.S., and a top-50 grosser on Google Play.
Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition will not be the first time Nintendo’s mascot has been mashed up with another franchise in a game made by a non-Nintendo developer. For example, in 2005 Konami released a Mario-themed version of its dancing game Dance Dance Revolution for the Nintendo Gamecube.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.