After 20 years of staying exclusively in Japan, Yuji Horii's Itadaki Street franchise is making the leap to the United States. Nintendo announced an all-new Wii title in the series this week at E3, branding it as "Fortune Street" for our market, and I got a chance to jump back into Nintendo's booth and give it a spin today.
Fortune Street is essentially a fusion of Mario Party and Monopoly. Like Mario Party you'll choose a mascot character to represent you as you move around a virtual gameboard, drawing on icons from both the Super Mario and Dragon Quest franchises. (This title's a Square Enix/Nintendo collaboration.) Then you'll roll a die to determine how far you get to travel in each turn. When you stop moving in a turn, things then switch over to being more Monopoly-like -- you can choose to buy the space you land on, developing it like a real estate property. Then any other players who come along and land on the same space later have to pay you cash for the right to loiter on your spot.
Monopoly, as a board game, can be incredibly complex -- have you ever tried to play a game all the way to completion? Skilled players can extend a single sessions for days on end. Fortune Street, then, has the potential to be a lot more in-depth than Mario Party.
It's possible that some player will get lucky and achieve victory early, accomplishing the default win condition of making a certain amount of money before anyone else (in the demo, it was 5000 gold) -- but because of how involved the investing can get, complete with stock-trading, upgrading properties and bonuses for owning several spaces in a row, games of Fortune Street with your friends could end up lasting a long time.
Fortune Street's scheduled to ship for Wii in America before the end of 2011. Nintendo's also promised Mario Party 9 is on the way as well, so it seems like Wii owners will have a choice this holiday season -- a traditional, mini-game focused Mario Party sequel, or this new game that plays a lot like Party to begin with, then dives much deeper.