Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced Pokemon X and Pokemon Y during a Nintendo Direct live stream today, with a worldwide release date set for October 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS. Even with the leap to 3D, I have to wonder as to whether we really need more Pokemon.
In his Nintendo Direct stream, Iwata looked back at the history of the Pokemon game franchise. Pokemon Red and Green were released in 1996 in Japan before a worldwide release in 1998 with the addition of Pokemon Blue. As the Nintendo President stated, “Offering two different versions was a new concept at the time, encouraged players to connect their Gameboy systems to connect with link cable to collect them all”
The idea of having to have access to two different versions of the game in order to fulfil the franchises catchphrase of “gotta catch ‘em all” never appealed to me. Instead I waited for the release of Pokemon Yellow which included most of the original 151 species of Pokemon (some Pokemon were still only obtainable through trading), but at that age, the majority of kids only really cared about the three starters, Pikachu and Mewtwo/Mew.
Many gamers have argued that Pokemon Red and Blue were the pre-cursor to the now norm of DLC and “cut-content,” as it was impossible to truly complete the game without access to both games. In that respect, Pokemon Yellow could be seen as the Game of the Year Edition, featuring the majority of the content with some special bonuses (you started with Pikachu in Yellow as opposed to the traditional Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle).
Now 151 unique Pokemon seems like a hell of a lot, but Nintendo weren’t quite finished yet. Pokemon Gold and Silver were released in 1999 in Japan, bringing colour to the series as well as 100 new species of Pokemon – including Legendary Pokemon Ho-Oh, Lugia, Raikou, Entei and Suicune. Apparently all these Pokemon were hiding in the new Johto region or were new stages of evolution, which already had me completely baffled.
Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire were released for the Game Boy Advance in 2002 and once again, introduced 135 new species of Pokemon – bringing the total to 386. Just where the hell are all these new Pokemon hiding?! The new gameplay features such as Double Battles and Tag Battles using GBA link cable were certainly an interesting and welcome new addition to the series.
Looking to the Nintendo DS era, Pokemon games released on the handheld include (with the exception of enhanced re-releases) Diamond, Pearl, Black and White. These four games introduced a further 263 Pokemon to the universe, bringing the total amount of Pokemon to 649. In less than a decade, there have been an additional 498 Pokemon added to the world of capturing small animals to make them fight each other. The mind boggles as to how that happens.
With a new generation of handheld comes a new Pokemon game, and Pokemon X and Pokemon Y are scheduled for a worldwide release date of October 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS. We don’t know how many new Pokemon are set to join the ranks in the new games, but you can safely bet that it’ll likely be over 100. In the trailer above, we’re already introduced to the three new starters – Chespin, Fennekin and Froakie.
Pokemon is arguably Nintendo’s most successful franchise and as long as they have a team who are able to regularly come up with a plethora of wacky new monsters, it’s likely that they’ll keep churning out the games. Each game has introduced a new feature to the gameplay, however it’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything truly spectacular.
With the recent release of the Wii U, many are hoping that Nintendo will hit the red button and release the long-awaited Pokemon MMO. You never know, maybe we’ll see a Pokemon Stadium style game arrive on the console with Skylanders style gameplay. However, the real question is will we ever truly be able to catch ‘em all?
What do you think Nintendo need to do to breathe new life into the Pokemon franchise? Do we even really need more Pokemon at all? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter.