When the untiled Pokémon game was announced for the Nintendo Switch at E3 in 2017, fans of the long-running series — including myself — went wild. After being heavily rumored as “Pokemon Stars,” an HD, deluxe remake of Pokémon Sun and Moon for the Nintendo 3DS in late 2016, those eagerly watching the Nintendo Direct were given the one-two-switch.
Midway through the presentation, President and CEO of The Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishira, announced more details about Pokkèn Tournament DX. I’d be lying if I said my heart didn’t race when he first came on screen, and quickly slowed down to normal pace at the mention of the Switch remake of the 2015 fighting video game. After a beat, he confirmed what we all were hoping, that “a core RPG Pokèmon title on the Nintendo Switch” was headed our way sometime in the near future.
Since then, rumors have been growing like the National Pokédex each time a new generation is released. It seems like every week a “new, exclusive, 100-percent real” screenshot is leaked; whether it’s the new starters (we’ve seen a few different versions so far) or a grainy photo of a trainer riding on a Lapras that gives the Loch Ness Monster a run for her money.
Here are just a few of the latest rumors regarding Pikachu and company.
Pokémon on the Nintendo Switch will introduce a region filled to the brim with the next generation of Pokémon
Here is the Nintendo magazine talking about the upcoming Pokémom games pic.twitter.com/TnbJynvQDZ
— Raquel 🇯🇵 (@raqueruu) April 14, 2018
A photo of a Spanish Nintendo Magazine has recently been circling the web. The photo in question shows a brief article saying the Switch entry will evolve the series into its eighth generation. The tweet was initially given credence because it was said to be from an “official” magazine, though Reddit users were quick to debunk the magazine as a Nintendo-specific shopping catalog that has a track record getting it wrong with the franchise.
Nintendo is teaming up with Ubisoft once more for Pokémon on the Nintendo Switch
Time for a little hint tonight ! pic.twitter.com/keBUfzVeOB
— Detective Pandar0o ⚡ (@ThePandar0o) April 17, 2018
Tsunekazu’s announcement explicitly stated that Game Freak was working on the project. Given the runaway success of 2017’s Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, the team up with Ubisoft makes sense. This was sparked by a series of cryptic tweets by Ubisoft developer @TW_PhantomLord. The tweets in question, ranging from a photo of Lego Blastoise and Lapras (see above), a line about “stars” and the series main catch phrase, “Gotta Catch ‘Em All,” led Twitter users to wonder what a collaboration would look like. The developer quickly shot down these rumors and expressed a desire to work on a Pokémon game in the future.
The first Pokémon game to hit the Nintendo Switch will be a remastered edition of an existing game
A couple of months ago, data-miners released screenshots on popular photo-sharing site, Imgur, of a plethora of upcoming games for the Nintendo Switch over the next two years. The extensive list included Pokémon RadiantPearl and IllusionDiamond. The list, though not confirmed, featured titles like Mario Tennis Aces and Mark of the Ninja: Remastered, which weren’t announced until after the list had already been posted, leading some to believe the remakes are imminent.
One thing is certain, a new ‘traditional’ Pokémon game will come out in 2018 or later. Rumors continue to swirl for the first-ever Pokémon RPG game for a home console, and my mind is running wild with things I want to see as we inch closer to E7 2018.
What’s on my wishlist for Pokémon Nintendo Switch?
Graphics on par with Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey
After seeing how Nintendo upped the ante by giving two of its staple franchises a graphical upgrade, I have high hopes that Pokémon will bring the handheld series to new dimensions.
Better customizable outfits (and outfits with power ups)
First introduced in Pokémon X and Y, trainer customizations have become the norm, albeit not as fleshed out as I would like. “Oh look, it’s the same t-shirt with a different pattern; innovative!” The idea of having power ups, similar to what Breath of the Wild did, would really add a strategic flare to the fashion. For instance, add a Safari Zone jumpsuit to the rotation that gives you the ability to blend into your surroundings with a stealth boost, allowing you to catch a rare or skittish Pokémon. Why not throw in a cycling outfit that helps raise your speed on the never-ending bike trails?
Scrap the Mega Evolutions
I know many saw this addition to the games as a new, innovative way to enjoy well known Pokémon (here’s looking at you Mega Charizard). I thought it went too far in retconning what was established in the first few generations and seemed like a sloppy coat of paint on a tried and true formula in need of something more.
Secret Bases worthy of MTV Cribs
A neat new mechanic introduced in Generation III, these secret, customized hideouts allowed for some personality in the gameplay. Bringing back the secret bases with additional customizations and functionality, such as a computer with wifi-enabled access to the Pokémon Bank, or a trunk to store miscellaneous items you can’t hold (Yes, a limited amount of goodies you can carry is a bonus item on my wishlist, à la Breath of the Wild), would make great use out of the existing mechanic.
A truly engaging story
For the most part, the Pokémon franchise has a rinse-and-repeat model. You begin your journey in a small town, meet your rival (or friendly competition), battle various gym leaders and work to defeat the secret, terroristic organization of the *moment*, all while trying to claim your spot at the top by besting the Elite Four. It would be nice to see Nintendo try to flesh out a unique story and bring more of the charm that the original series was known for.
Speaking of story…
Post-campaign stories are now something expected, whether it’s adding in new challenges through unlocked areas and quests sent via the aforementioned computer, or an additional campaign through paid DLC. It would be great to see how Nintendo could utilize online multiplayer to keep the story going after the credits role as well.
It’s fair to assume we will get some more information at this year’s E3 Nintendo Direct in June, but it’s hard not to set the bar extremely high for this title, especially after seeing what the Zelda and Super Mario titles did to reinvent their respective franchises through innovative risks. Will Nintendo be able to pull it off this time? This trainer hopes so!