So the trailer for the newest generation of Pokemon, Sword and Shield, came out yesterday, and my hype for the franchise was suddenly at a newfound high. The trailer for the “Detective Pikachu” movie came out the day before, and I’m definitely still on board for that (I put it at #3 on my list of 20 most anticipated movies of 2019). If you haven’t seen either, check them out!
And here is that adorable “Detective Pikachu” trailer:
So you can imagine the exciting things that are running through my mind as a long time Pokemon fan. The first game of the series I ever picked up was Emerald, and that still remains my favorite purely because of my rose-tinted nostalgia for it. Anyways with this article, I wanted to talk about where I think Pokemon is going in the future because it seems like between this new movie, the new generation of games, a whole new fanbase is going to get a similar experience that I got way back in the day. I recently had a conversation with my friends Steve and Cory, who had to deal with my antics for a few hours on this matter.
Over the last decade I feel like the franchise has somewhat skewed older in that the games sell really well for people who’ve played the games throughout their childhood. I remember when Sun and Moon came out, and pretty much everyone in line at the Gamestop that day was someone around my age or older. When the Switch was announced, it presented a new opportunity for Nintendo to revamp their franchises for a new generation of gamers. That meant that a new generation of Pokemon exclusively for the Switch could be a potentially great way for younger players to get into the franchise with a fresh view on the whole concept. I understand Sun and Moon tried to do this by changing a lot of the core mechanics that made those original Pokemon games kind of grindy, but those were still riding the coattails of X and Y, which introduced the franchise to the 3DS.
Nintendo is known for always having two major consoles out in stores. This concept goes way back to the original Game Boy, which came out in 1989 as the portable experience of the Nintendo Entertainment System, which itself came out in 1985. Since then, you had the combinations of the Super Nintendo and the Game Boy Color, the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance, the DS and the Wii, then the 3DS and the Wii U. So far, we have the home console experience and the portable one, and Pokemon has pretty much always aligned with the portable side (save for a few spinoff titles). This is due to very portable, on-the-go nature of the franchise. Catching, training, battling, and trading very much feels like a portable experience that you’d want to share with your friends.
Then something really interesting happened: the Nintendo Switch. For the first time, Nintendo’s console and portable experiences were merged into one, offering console quality games with the magic of taking your gaming journey wherever you go. In a way, it kind of defeats the purpose of the 3DS. The possibility of a mainline Pokemon game arriving on a Nintendo home console seemed at an all-time high. Then, in 2017, Game Freak announced they were working on two new Pokemon games, one for 2018 and the other for 2019. The first was Pokemon Let’s Go, which retold the original Red and Blue story for the Switch. However, it swapped certain core RPG elements with ideas from the hit mobile game Pokemon GO.
For me, it was kind of clear what Nintendo was doing: starting a separate offshoot franchise with Pokemon GO integration and mechanics to introduce younger fans to the franchise. The game sold really well, but it wasn’t the next mainline Pokemon game. However, two days ago, the newest generation was announced on Nintendo Direct: Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. Aegislash jokes aside, I’m really excited for this one! The graphics look great, and it’s always a pleasure to get back into one of the best series in all of gaming. I think the starters are a little lackluster. Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble all look like watered down versions of the amazing creativity on display in some of the previous versions and might signal that the franchise is running out of ideas. However, I’m nowhere near the level of creativity that Game Freak shows off in every moment of their games so my opinion on the starters (which will probably have cool final evolutions anyway) doesn’t matter.
Soon after I saw the trailer, a conversation reignited among my friends and me. Somehow, Cory thought this game was going to be a Diamond/Pearl remake and not a whole new generation. While I think there was no way that was going to happen, this offered a good segway into what we ended up discussing: what is going to happen with the remakes?
Gen 1 got remade twice with FireRed and LeafGreen and the new Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee. Gen 2 got its remakes with HeartGold and SoulSilver, and Gen 3 got Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. It only makes sense that the next remakes would be Gen 4, and naturally these would come out on Switch.
While I would personally just like to see a straight Gen 4 remake with maybe some additional content updated for the Switch graphics, I think Nintendo will reintroduce the Sinnoh region as a Let’s Go game. This raises the interesting idea if mainline Pokemon games will be the classic game we know and love and the remakes will be Let’s Go. Furthermore, the Switch presents the opportunity for more spinoffs such as Pokemon Dash, Mystery Dungeon, and maybe even Colosseum. The Switch is the ultimate console for Pokemon, offering potentially limitless game possibilities with the franchise, and I wouldn’t at all be upset if Nintendo remakes Gen 4 as a Let’s Go entry (maybe Let’s Go Garchomp and Let’s Go Lucario). Gen 4 on Nintendo DS has aged pretty well and still looks amazing so I think taking that version of the game into a new direction is the way to go.
As for Sword and Shield, I’m absolutely pumped beyond measure. Pokemon has always been my favorite game series and I’m excited to see the newest iteration. It looks like the game’s Galar region is modeled after the UK, which offers some sights that we haven’t quite seen in previous entries.
I’m curious to hear what you think about Pokemon Sword and Shield and the future of the franchise. Do you think the remakes are going to be Let’s Go titles from now on? What do you think about Let’s Go? Also, are you excited for that “Detective Pikachu” movie? Please feel free to let me know in the comments section below!