News of any new Pokemon game is exciting, but the hype was as electrifying as a Pikachu to the face when Tsunekazu Ishihara of The Pokemon Company announced a new core entry in the series on the Nintendo Switch during E3 2017. Having a graphically enhanced Pokemon game that could be played as both a handheld game and a console one is just too good to be true.
However, according to some recent rumors, the core entry may not be what we were expecting. It’s possible that generation eight of the Pokemon games won’t come right away as the next game is allegedly a remake of Pokemon Yellow.
Here’s everything we know about the Pokemon Switch game, rumored to be called Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, including what to expect, when to expect it, and why.
On May 10, Game Freak composer, director, designer, producer, and programmer Junichi Masuda tweeted an image of Pikachu and Eevee plushies.
On May 12, industry insider Emily Rogers said on Resetera that she believes that a Pokemon game is releasing on Switch later this year and that it will be an role-playing game with two versions. She didn’t specify whether it was a core game, a spinoff series, a remake of an older game, or a generation eight game. She also said that an announcement isn’t far away.
Rogers followed that up in a blog post where she discusses the importance of Pokemon Go on Nintendo. She asked how the Switch could benefit from Pokemon Go and vice versa. She also suggested the possibility of Nintendo creating more Pokemon Go accessories like the Pokemon Go Plus for use with the Switch. She also suspects that the branding for this year’s Pokemon title might “raise a few eyebrows.”
Rogers predicted that we would see a 3D Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Mario Kart, Splatoon, a New IP, a Retro Studios game, and Pikmin 4 within the first 12 months of the Switch’s release. While she was right about Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, and the new IP of ARMS, we have yet to see the new game from Retro Studios and Pikmin 4. She also predicted last February that the new Super Smash Bros. game would be announced and released this year, which Nintendo confirmed in a Nintendo Direct in March.
An alleged title for the new Pokemon game allegedly leaked on 4chan on May 15. Then gaming news source BasedAF Media tweeted a screenshot of a list of rumors on 4chan that line up with what Rogers said. They also said that they had a source that confirmed the leaks to be true.
According to the rumors, the alleged next core Pokemon game will be a remake of Pokemon Yellow from the Nintendo Game Boy. There are two versions for the Switch remakes called Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. Pokemon will follow you again. The protagonist and antagonist Red and Blue (or Ash and Gary or Satoshi and Shigeru if you prefer) from the original games will play a role in the story with the player and their rival being new trainers. HMs will be replaced with PokeRides as they were in Pokemon Sun & Moon. There will also be an online hub for players.
There will reportedly also be integration with Pokemon Go with catching Pokemon being similar to how it works in the mobile game. You can get rewards in both the game and in Pokemon Go by linking the two together. Plus there will be a new accessory that can be used with both the game and Pokemon Go.
The leak alleges that an announcement is coming soon as the game is releasing this year.
In addition, French website Poekgraph reported that Bandai is planning on releasing plushies to tie in with the new Pokemon game and that an announcement would come sometime in May. However, Bandai has not confirmed the existence of the toys, according to Forbes.
A user by the name of Pixelpar also explained how a series of drawings he posted on social media starting on March 26 hinted at information in the new Pokemon games including what Rogers and the 4chan leak said.
Pixelpar also alleges that he received a screenshot of Pokemon Switch showing a trainer riding a Lapras while an Eevee sits on his head. Pixelpar posted the screenshot on social media but took it down. You can see the screenshot here.
On May 16, domain names of sites pokemonletsgopikachu.com and pokemonletsgoeevee.com have been registered and are protected by CSC Corporate Domains, Inc., a company that protects domain names, according to French Pokemon news source Pokekalos. According to Pokemon news source Serebii, CSC Corporate Domains is the same company Nintendo used to register the official Pokemon Sun & Moon website domain.
According to Pixelpar, Pikachu and Eevee could be seen on the header image of the Services section of the Pokemon Company’s corporate website. However they’re no longer there.
What to Expect
It’s interesting that Nintendo and The Pokemon Company would choose their next remake to be one of Pokemon Yellow. The next logical step from the remakes of Ruby & Sapphire would be remakes of Diamond & Pearl. However it’s understandable why they chose Yellow over Diamond & Pearl. If you look across articles online ranking the core Pokemon games (including ones by Kotaku, Critical Hit, and here at Heavy), you’ll see that Diamond & Pearl consistently rank low. While Diamond & Pearl introduced online features and 3D graphics to the franchise, it was the first time that the Pokemon formula started to feel stale.
Pokemon Yellow is by far one of the most beloved entries in the series. It’s one of the few Pokemon games to take inspiration from the anime, with players having the iconic Pikachu as their starter who refuses to stay in its ball and thus travels right behind you. You could also catch all three starters, Squirtle, Charmander, and Bulbasaur, without having to trade for them and even fight the bumbling Team Rocket members Jesse and James from the anime. While it was fundamentally no different from Red & Blue, the connections to the beloved anime were more than enough to make it stand out and it paved the way for the series staple of releasing enhanced editions of the initial two games of a new generation.
People have been asking for Pokemon to follow the trainer ever since the feature’s resurgence in HeartGold & SoulSilver. Adding the feature back in a remake of the game where the feature was introduced would be a no-brainer.
The alleged Pokemon Yellow remake comes in two flavors featuring either a Pikachu or an Eevee. So it could be that your starter Pokemon would be a Pikachu or an Eevee (the latter of which was the starter of your rival in Pokemon Yellow) depending on which version of the game you get. It’s likely that only the Pikachu or Eevee you get would be the only Pokemon that follows you as making all 807 Pokemon able to follow you would probably too daunting of a task for Game Freak to handle just yet especially as they move on to new hardware.
The trainers Red and Blue being two separate characters from the player and their rival isn’t new. Sun & Moon did the exact same thing with players fighting the two at the Battle Tree during the post game.
Replacing the HM moves with PokeRides is also expected. I don’t think Game Freak would go back to a system as archaic as teaching Pokemon certain moves in order to move past certain obstacles no matter how terrible the moves are.
Having an online component with a hub world doesn’t surprise us in the least. As we said before, online functionality has been a staple of the series since Diamond & Pearl. Plus Nintendo seriously needs more online games if it wants to justify the $19.99 price tag of its online service when it launches in September 2018. Cloud saves and a bunch of NES games isn’t going to cut it.
We also foresee a lot of updates that have been standard in other Pokemon remakes. We can expect the gameplay changes from the newer generations to carry over to the remake such as changes to how some moves work and rebalanced stats. Every remake had additional story content added to the game, like the Sevii Islands in FireRed & LeafGreen, the events specific to certain Pokemon in HeartGold & SoulSilver, and the Delta Episode in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire. We don’t think a remake of Pokemon Yellow would be any different.
But let’s get to the most interesting feature allegedly coming to the game: Pokemon Go integration.
It’s obvious why Nintendo would choose to link a new Pokemon game with Pokemon Go. The total number of downloads just on Google Play is 100 million by August 2017 with over 20 million active daily users according to Business of Apps. The game also has a total revenue of $268 million as of August 2017. When paired with the Switch, with it selling 17.79 million units as of April 26, 2018 according to GameSpot, and you have a winning combo. Plus the Switch has already demonstrated its ability to connect to mobile phones with its integration of the Nintendo Switch Online App.
Having the player capture Pokemon in the core game like they do in Pokemon Go, with players swiping the screen to lob a ball, will probably not be as intrusive as we think. We could have the player whittle down Pokemon with attacks and status effects like we already do, but then when we go to actually use a Pokeball we can play a mini-game where we toss Pokeballs with the touch screen or even the Joy-Con motion controls and maybe get a bonus to catch rates if we throw a curveball. In an article on what the main Pokemon games can learn from Pokemon Go and vice versa, Joe Merrick, the creator of Serebii, wrote that the saddest thing about watching his nephew play Pokemon on the 3DS was seeing him trying to swipe the top screen to throw balls. Combining the two mechanics would make catching Pokemon simple and engaging enough for kids while compelling enough for adults. And maybe you could just turn the feature off if you don’t like it.
We agree with Merrick that the Pokemon series should embrace the “live service” model adopted by games like Pokemon Go. One of the most consistent criticisms of the recent Pokemon games is that there’s not a whole lot of content to chew through after completing the main game. Having substantial content updates and even having something as simple as certain types of Pokemon being more likely to be encountered for a certain time would extend the longevity of the main Pokemon games. HeartGold & SoulSilver actually had something pretty similar with each Mythical and Legendary Pokemon distributed to the game via timed events triggering some sort of story content such as being able to fight Team Rocket boss Giovanni if you have a Celebi.
We also agree with Merrick that Game Freak would have to simplify some aspects of the main games in order to attract Pokemon Go users. We’re not calling for a complete overhaul of the battle system, but the tutorials in main Pokemon games often feel intrusive and uninformative and the EV and IV system can be a nightmare to navigate. Making the delivery of information feel more natural would help ease in the more casual fans of Pokemon Go while keeping things challenging for hardcore fans.
A great feature to implement would be the ability to transfer your Pokemon from Pokemon Go to the main game and vice versa, even if it can only be accomplished through the Pokemon Bank. Imagine catching a Lugia or other Legendary Pokemon after a raid in Pokemon Go and letting it battle in the main game.
We’re thinking that the rewards for linking the two games would take the form of granting more items like extra Pokeballs and Lures for the player. We’re also thinking that an accessory for the Switch would allow it to interact with Pokemon Go without having the app open, similar to how the Pokemon Go Plus works.
When to Expect It
The release of a new remake in 2018 does line up with the release schedule of the core Pokemon games. It wouldn’t make sense to release a brand new generation of Pokemon with a new region and everything because it’s only been nearly two years since the release of Sun & Moon and new generations of Pokemon games release within three to four years of each other. However it has been nearly four years since the release of the remakes of Ruby & Sapphire (Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire) and the remakes have released within five years of each other.
As for the reveal, it would be interesting if Nintendo and The Pokemon Company chose to reveal the game sometime in May when E3 is just next month. While other publishers have been willing to spill the beans on their projects before E3 (such as Bethesda’s Rage 2), Nintendo has been pretty good about saving everything until their E3 presentation unless of course the game was announced in a prior Nintendo Direct. But if the leaks and rumors about a plush toy line being announced in May are to be believed, then we could see an announcement sometime soon.
So that’s all we know of Pokemon Switch. Overall it’s one of the more plausible rumors to come out of the Big N considering how neatly everything lines up. Combining the nostalgia of the original Pokemon games with the gargantuan success of Pokemon Go is too good of a prospect for Nintendo to pass up. Of course, only time will tell if the rumors turn out to be true. Though if the rumors are true, then we don’t have to wait for long.
What do you think? How super effective are the rumors and speculations? Let us know in the comment section below.
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