Hosted by both Tsunekazu Ishihara (president and CEO of The Pokémon Company) and Junichi Masuda (director at GAME FREAK and composer, director and producer for the Pokémon series), the Direct addressed new titles due to release on both the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS family systems, giving players across the two platforms something exciting to look forward to from one of Nintendo’s most popular series.
The first of the three announcements made in the Pokémon Direct was the reveal of Pokkén Tournament DX, a sequel to the Wii U’s popular 2016 title Pokkén Tournament, due to release worldwide on Nintendo Switch on September 22nd 2017.
Pokkén Tournament DX will feature five new playable characters – Darkrai, Scizor, Empoleon, Croagunk and Decidueye (the first four of which have been arcade exclusives since the arcade release in 2015) – and will introduce new online play options in the form of 3v3 team battles, ranked play and friend-only group matches, giving players greater variety of both casual and competitive gameplay.
Pokkén Tournament DX will feature five new playable characters – Darkrai, Scizor, Empoleon, Croagunk and Decidueye
The portability of the Switch will enable players to not only play matches on the go via local wireless, but its unique Joy-Con controllers mean that local play between friends will not require the purchase of any additional controllers – each player can use a single Joy-Con. Additionally, it has been confirmed that the original Pokkén Tournament pro controllers released for the Wii U version of the game will be compatible with the Switch when in docked mode, meaning that anyone who currently owns one will be able to use it if playing the Switch version of the game.
Whilst a price has not yet been revealed, it is due to appear at E3 next week both as a playable demo for visitors and in a gameplay livestream scheduled for 6:30pm BST on June 14th, meaning that fans will be able to see the game for themselves prior to its release in September.
In the same section of the Direct, the second major announcement was discussed by Junichi Masuda: sequels to the hugely successful Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon titles in the form of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon, due for worldwide release on Nintendo 3DS family systems on November 17th 2017.
These games are promised to feature unique, alternative stories to the original games (though still taking place in the Alola Region), and will feature new Pokémon that didn’t appear in the original titles – including new versions of the legendary Pokémon Solgaleo and Lunala, who in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are seemingly destined to be combined with fellow legendary Pokémon Necrozma.
Graphically, the games look to be virtually identical to the original Sun and Moon titles, meaning no huge advancements in that department. They have been confirmed to not be releasing on Nintendo Switch, despite fans crying out for a mainstream Pokémon title to be released on the console – whether that be a completely new title or the much-rumoured ‘Pokémon Stars’ (a third iteration of the Pokémon Sun/Pokémon Moon generation).
There was a slip-up on the Pokémon press site, however, tweeted out by Eurogamer News Editor Tom Phillips, which temporarily listed a ‘TBA’ release date for a Switch version of the games – meaning, perhaps, that they will eventually also be available on Nintendo’s newest console.
Fans were perhaps most disappointed that remakes of Sun and Moon have been announced in the Pokémon Direct rather than those of the iconic fourth-generation titles Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl, as these games celebrated their tenth anniversary last year.
Some eagle-eyed viewers did notice, however, that the game boxes for these titles were not present behind Ishihara where every other generation’s boxes were – with their absence indicating, perhaps, that something is being planned for these titles soon.
The final announcement of yesterday’s Pokémon Direct was short and sweet: that the second-generation Pokémon titles Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver will be arriving on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console on September 22nd 2017, using the reproduced visuals of the Game Boy Color’s screen. They have been confirmed to be compatible with the Pokémon Bank service, meaning that players’ Pokémon can now be stored on the online servers as well as in the in-game computer banks – making it easier than ever to catch and store ’em all.
All of these announcements in yesterday’s Pokémon Direct have been met with mixed reactions from fans. What are your thoughts on these titles? Will you be picking any up in the autumn? Let us know in the comments and, as always, stick with us right here at Quillstreak for all the latest Pokémon news.