From musical team-ups with the likes of Katy Perry and more to new game announcements that fans have been asking for for years, the 25th anniversary of the Pokémon franchise is still going strong. Over the past few weeks, The Pokémon Company has celebrated the summer by bringing new updates to some of their recent games that have been released this year as well as holding a new Pokémon Presents giving fans more of a look at their biggest titles on the horizon.
Pokémon Galore! A Summer Full of Updates on the Series
It all started a few short weeks ago when New Pokémon Snap, the sequel to the Nintendo 64 classic, received a free update that added new content to the game. This content added more Pokémon as well as three brand new areas to explore and take the best photos of Pokémon you can. Each of the three areas varies widely from each other.
The first two areas are a mountainous area full of rock-type Pokémon and a river raging with rapids where you have to be on the ready to get a snap of a Pokémon before you are washed down the current. The final area sees players shrunk down to view Pokémon up close and personal and on the same level or even smaller than they are.
Elsewhere, The Pokémon Company keeps expanding the franchise into different genres. This summer has seen the release of the franchise’s first MOBA in Pokémon Unite. Now, a new Pokémon has been added to the game in the form of “the tank” of all Pokémon in Blissey. Blissey is set to be a supporting character that will pair well with most attackers and defenders in the game.
It was also shown during the Pokémon Presents presentation that Mamoswine and Eevee evolution Sylveon will be coming to the game as well down the line. The game will also receive cross-play support once the mobile version is released. While already on Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Unite is set to come to both iOS and Android devices next month on September 22nd.
The remakes of the Generation IV Pokémon games, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl received a new trailer during the summer’s Pokémon Presents presentation. Being the first mainline games developed by a team other than Game Freak, developers ILCA have made the games look stunning in their unique, chibi-esque art style while still retaining the look of what the games originally were on the Nintendo DS all those years ago.
The games retain plenty of features from the originals such as the Union Room, contests, Pokeball customization, and the Underground Area. Though the Underground Area has been expanded to include secret bases and secret areas that will have certain Pokémon only available in those areas. The games will also see the return of Pokémon following you from behind in the world for the first in over a decade when the feature was first introduced in the Generation II remakes Pokémon Heart Gold and Pokémon Soul Silver.
It has also been announced that a new specially-themed Nintendo Switch Lite featuring the cover legends Dialga and Palkia will be released a few weeks prior to the remakes on November 5th. As mentioned in the Pokémon Presents presentation, the special console is reminiscent of the special Nintendo DS Lite that was released alongside the original games back in 2006.
The biggest update of the summer came during the Pokémon Presents presentation as well in the form of another look at Game Freak’s most ambitious entry in the series yet, Pokémon Legends: Arceus. The upcoming open-world game transports players to an ancient version of the Sinnoh region, then known as the Hisui region. In the new look at the game, we see the player character exploring the region as well as interacting with, battling, and catching Pokémon.
Outside of battle, Pokémon can now be caught without fighting or they can attack players directly and cause them harm. However, battles are still here, and the classic battle system has been updated as well. Now, battles have tiers when it comes to which Pokémon uses a move depending on their stats. Then, two new battle styles will allow for players to sacrifice speed or power to get an edge on their opponents.
Also, like recent mainline games, some older Pokémon are receiving new forms including Growlithe and Braviary which most likely includes their evolution lines as well. The classic trope of giving older Pokémon new evolutions is still around as Stantler and Basculin gain evolutions in the form of Wyrdeer and Basculegion respectively.
Mounts, first introduced in the Generation VII games Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, return as Hisui Braviary, Wyrdeer, and Basculegion can all be used to traverse around the region via land, sky, or water. There’s plenty more that hasn’t been revealed about the game such as the main story, but that is sure to come before too long. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set to release early next year on January 22, 2022.
The Pokémon Presents event also highlighted some other titles as well. Pokémon Masters EX is celebrating its two-year anniversary which will see new events happen in-game. Pokémon GO is celebrating its fifth anniversary and will see Galarian Pokémon Wooloo, Skwovet, and Falinks appear in the game.
Puzzle game Pokémon Cafe Mix is also getting an updated version called Pokémon Cafe Remix which will see new content added to the game. It’s also been announced that Pokémon Legends: Arceus and the remakes of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl will receive Pokémon Home support at some point next year.
Overall, Pokémon has taken the summer by storm with plenty of new things for fans to jump into as well as showing off what’s in store for the franchise in the near future. With a little over 4 months left in the franchise’s 25th anniversary, there’s still a plethora of things that could be announced over the course of the rest of the year to celebrate. Only time will tell what The Pokémon Company decides to unveil next.