What Will the Next Pokémon Game Be?
We all know Pokémon will be making its Nintendo Switch debut. Previously announced at E3 2017, little else was revealed other than the fact that it was in development. And to this day nothing else is known about it. There has been a supposed leaked screenshot, but its validity cannot be confirmed.
While there are some logical conclusions as to what Pokémon Switch will be, it’s still very much up in the air. We’re going to run down some likely possibilities for the next Pokémon entry. Some are seen as no-brainers, while others may seem out of left field.
Now, there are some things the new Pokémon game won’t be. This new entry probably won’t be the open-world, real-time (maybe even MMO-esque) Pokémon game many want. As much as Game Freak has innovated the series over the last few years, there’s still the sense that they don’t want to ever stray too far from the tried-and-true formula. And I’m inclined to agree with them there. So, while Pokémon Switch may be a reinvention of the series, maybe don’t expect it to be a la Breath of the Wild.
So with that out of the way, why don’t we get started?
This is the most obvious choice, yes? Conventional wisdom states that a new piece of hardware means a new generation of Pokémon games. Now, the argument can be made that every entry in this list could be considered a “new” generation. So, for the sake of clarity, Generation VIII will refer to a brand-new set of paired games that introduce a new region and a new set of monsters.
The upcoming release will be the first time a mainline game will be on a home console, let’s remember. What better way to reinvent the series with a new generation of titles? (Side note: yes, there are a few rumored Pokémon leaks out in the wild. But, since none of them can currently be confirmed to be true, they’re not going to be discussed here.)
A brand-new generation generation is the most logical, obvious and likely choice for whatever will be released on Switch. There’s just not much else to say about it. But, as will be discussed below, that may not necessarily be the case, after all.
This is where things get interesting. Pokémon Stars has been rumored since the release of the original Sun and Moon. Many fans have been theorizing we would be seeing this would-be third version sooner rather than later.
However, the release of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon may have thrown a wrench in these theories. Would a third trip to Alola in the course of three (or four) years be the best course of action? Sure, ports are all the rage on Switch, but would this be the route Pokémon fans would want the series to take?
There are some compelling reasons to believe Stars is the game we’d be seeing on Switch. The Sun and Moon engine has been shown to be much more powerful than one would believe. Many have used emulators to unshackle the constraints of the 3DS, revealing that Pokémon Sun and Moon (or to be exact, the citra engine) can look a lot better, and run a lot smoother, than one would assume.
On the other hand, some uncovered (and unutilized) features, like Pokémon walking animations, may suggest that Game Freak is simply looking to use this engine for whatever game comes next. Plus, Pokémon generations have never continued onto different hardware. While things could change, it’s definitely not crazy to think that Game Freak would not want to use Pokémon‘s Switch debut to simply return to a past game. Or would they…?
A Return to Kanto
This is a rumor that has recently gained some traction. Rather than introducing us to a new region, Pokémon on Switch may instead be a return to the series’ roots, and bring the adventure back to Kanto.
It makes sense when you think about it. Generation I is by far the one with the most nostalgia towards it. Pokémon GO launched with only Kanto Pokemon, and we all know how that went. Nostalgia, and the general courting of older Nintendo fans, is a general theme of the Switch. Heck, the Pokémon Company has been going down the nostalgia route for a while now. From redesigning certain Kanto Pokémon in Sun and Moon, to retelling the first season in its most recent movie, nostalgia has been a common thread as of late.
A Kanto-set game is a very strong possibility. Marking the debut of Pokémon on Switch by bringing the adventure back where it all began is a logical idea.The question is, would it simply be another remake, a la FireRed and LeafGreen? Or would it be something new?
The ideal route here, would be to create a brand-new storyline set in the original region. Not a retelling of Generation I, but a modern-day story featuring all-new characters. There would still be the familiar elements, like the locales and the monsters, but seeing how Kanto has changed over the years could be a very fascinating prospect.
A Remake of Generation IV??
This is the longest of long shots, but its possible. A remake of Diamond and Pearl have been rumored since the announcement of Generation VII. Following FireRed/LeafGreen, HeartGold/SoulSilver, and Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, Diamond and Pearl are next up.
However, these remakes being the first Pokémon games to be released on Switch is unlikely. It just wouldn’t make sense to have that be the game to showcase your new home. Despite that, however, a remake is likely to show up on the Switch. Consider that very platform since the Game Boy Advance has had one. Generation IV is generally criticized for not having much innovation. This would be the perfect opportunity to change that.
A Brand New World
Pokémon on the Nintendo Switch will be interesting, for sure. The first main entries on a Nintendo home console definitely have the potential to shake things up for the series. We probably won’t be getting a full-on reinvention of the series, but expect some innovations. Whether it be a brand-new region, a remake, or something else, many eyes are on Pokémon.
What do you want to see out of Pokémon on the Switch? What kind of game do you want it to be, or what path would you like to see Game Freak take? Let us know in the comments!