‘Pokemon’ Switch announcement asks fans to wait

‘Pokemon’ could prove another key title for the Nintendo Switch, which is why Nintendo's timing is important. ― AFP pic
‘Pokemon’ could prove another key title for the Nintendo Switch, which is why Nintendo's timing is important. ― AFP pic

SAN FRANCISCO, June 15 ― A new core entry to the wildly successful Pokémon franchise is on its way, but it's now expected to take more than a year to arrive, and Nintendo isn't saying what form it will take. Is Holiday 2018 too soon?

In November 2016, four months before Nintendo launched its latest console, fresh rumours began to circulate about a Pokémon game for the new system.

Released in March 2017, the Switch consolidates Nintendo's home and portable console interests.

It's a home console that players can take on the go ― it has a built-in screen, and a TV dock for use with larger displays.

The core Pokémon franchise has released on each successive Nintendo handheld, from the original Game Boy to the contemporary clamshell 3DS. So where's the Switch game?

With rumours arriving via eurogamer.net, Pokémon Stars would be a combined and remastered version of joint 3DS releases Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.

At that point it was expected late 2017, and key precedents for the move had already been established: earlier entries to the Pokémon franchise had been reissued as combined editions, and Nintendo uses remasters and dual launches from its Legend of Zelda franchise to encourage console upgrades.

Now it seems that 2018 represents the earliest opportunity for Pokémon Stars or its equivalent, after The Pokémon Company's co-founder promised a “core Pokémon [role-playing game] title on Nintendo Switch” that “may not release for more than a year”

That dovetails with Nintendo's deliberate spacing of key releases over the course of the Switch's first year.

With the Switch enjoying a strong launch alongside The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 arriving in April, Splatoon 2 set for July and Super Mario Odyssey primed for October, there's no need for Pokémon to crowd the market.

Beyond Super Mario, E3 2017 saw Nintendo announce Yoshi, Kirby, Fire Emblem Warriors and Metroid Prime 4 for  2018.

Does that push Pokémon into 2019? Not necessarily.

Of those, only the Metroid core franchise predecessor, Other M, was granted release towards the year's end ― the sort of timeframe usually favored by Pokémon ― so there's still space for Pokémon Stars to debut late on in 2018, “more than a year” from the time of Ishihara's announcement.

But the brand's pull is so strong that Nintendo can make fans wait for longer if it wants. And if they have to, then that's what they'll do. ― AFP-Relaxnews

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