Yesterday, it was announced by The Pokémon Company that a special Pokémon Direct livestream would be aired today at 10 AM EST, 7 AM PST. It would be 8 minutes long, and fans speculated wildly about what sorts of announcements would be made. Many were hoping for the long-awaited remakes of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Others believed there would be a third game in the Sun and Moon set of games, but for the Nintendo Switch. Still others, more cynical, thought there might be a focus on mobile games, such as an event for Pokémon Go or another game in the vein of Magikarp Jump.
Personally, I would have been happy with just about anything as the resident superfan.
During the event, there were three major announcements. The first of these was for the game Pokkén Tournament: DX for the Nintendo Switch. This features 5 new player Pokémon - Empoleon, Croagunk, Scizor, Darkrai, and the fan-favorite Decidueye from Sun and Moon - as well as 3v3 mode and online matches. This is exciting news, as Pokken has a dedicated and excited following. However, its being released on the largely failed Wii U meant that, outside of the arcade units only playable in Japan, the audience for Pokkén was small. Hopefully, the success of the Nintendo Switch will turn more people on to what is a fun fighting game.
Gently tacked on the end of the Pokkén Tournament: DX trailer (and almost entirely brushed over, sending many fans reeling) was the next installment of handheld, main series games: Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Not much is known about these games as of yet, but what we do know is that they are an “alternate story taking place in the same universe as Sun and Moon” with “new Pokémon not featured previously”. It is unclear whether these games will be sequels or taking place parallel to the events of Sun and Moon, and it is also unclear whether or not these “new Pokémon ” will be brand new Pokémon not before featured, more Alolan forms, Mega Evolutions, or something entirely new.
What we do know is that both the official art (depicted below) and trailer footage features the legendary Pokémon Solgaleo and Lunala with multicolored eyes and black appendages, something that's never been seen before. Many fans believe this is a fusion between the two legendary Pokémon and Necrozma, another legendary Pokémon featured in the post-game of Sun and Moon, but not before relevant to the story in any way. This combined with the presence of an older character, Colress, who is an expert on Pokémon fusion, suggests that this game will focus on this theme. The direct has left a lot of room for fan speculation, and I, personally, am very excited for anything these new games have in store.
"Fusion is just a cheap tactice to make weak Pokémon stronger!" - Someone on Twitter, definitely, many times, I'm sure.
Lastly, the livestream announced the release of beloved Pokémon Gold and Silver versions, originally released for the Game Boy Color, as Virtual Console ports for the 3DS family. These games will be compatible with the Pokémon Bank, meaning that any Pokémon captured in them on a system that has Pokémon Bank installed can be transferred to it, which will then allow players to port them into games such as X and Y, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Sun and Moon, and, most likely, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. As the Virtual Console ports of Red, Blue, and Yellow versions were incredibly successful (as well as affordable), many folks will be excited to bring their Johto region favorites into the newest games. It’s unclear whether or not Pokémon Crystal, the final version of the second generation of Pokémon games, will also see a Virtual Console release, but here’s hoping.
I'm honestly so ready for the oncoming flood of shiny Gyarados in Wi-Fi battles.
Today’s direct gave us a lot of great information regarding the future of the Pokémon franchise. The launch of Pokkén Tournament: DX on a more popular system spells a brighter future for the fighting game series. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is an incredibly exciting bit of news, and I am honestly so excited for any and all updates relating to these games. Lastly, the ports of Gold and Silver will make an otherwise ancient set of really good games significantly more affordable and accessible, giving new players a chance to take a peek at Pokémon history and old players a chance to relive the magic. All in all, today was an incredibly exciting day of news.
Pokken Tournament: DX will release on the same day for the Nintendo Switch as the Gold and Silver Virtual Console 3DS ports, September 22nd, 2017. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will release for the 3DS family on November 17tth, 2017.
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