No new titles as retooled Pokemon games dominate Nintendo announcement
The Pokemon Company posted record profits in 2016 thanks to Pokemon GO
Nintendo unveiled a fresh slate of Pokemon games in a livestream on Tuesday, but earned mixed reactions from fans for announcing retooled or upgraded versions of older titles, rather than brand new releases.
Leading the eight-minute promotional video was Pokken Tournament DX, scheduled for release on the Nintendo Switch on Sept. 22. It's a slightly upgraded version of the same game that launched on the Wii U in 2015.
Pokken Tournament was the first of the series to feature a real-time fighting system as opposed to the typical, turn-based combat of the core titles. The Pokemon Company developed it in conjunction with Bandai Namco, makers of the Tekken fighting games.
Nintendo also announced Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, upgrades of last year's Pokemon Sun and Moon. A press release from Nintendo says the upcoming Ultra versions will have "new additions to the story and features" from the previous editions, but didn't specify what they were. The pair are scheduled for release on the Nintendo 3DS handheld on Nov. 17.
Much like January's Switch announcement, the Pokemon trailer touted the ability to play outside or while on the go. The video followed a young man travelling through Asian villages and the countryside, conveniently finding Pokemon-savvy players to join in along the way.
Mixed fan reaction
Fans reacted with a mixture of excitement and disappointment. Many lamented being shown re-releases of older games, rather than anything new.
The Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon release for the 3DS earned particular criticism, with some voicing their desire for a new Pokemon game on the Switch, rather than for the older Nintendo handheld.
For weeks, rumours have spread about a substantially upgraded version of Sun and Moon, purportedly called Pokemon Stars, being in development for the Switch. Nintendo has not commented on the rumours.
No Pokemon Stars....... <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pokemondirect?src=hash">#Pokemondirect</a> <a href="https://t.co/kvNd8DWzA3">pic.twitter.com/kvNd8DWzA3</a>—@PressStartKofi
Did anyone else just hear an audible sigh of disappointment from millions of Pokemon fans worldwide? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PokemonDirect?src=hash">#PokemonDirect</a>—@kotorcomics
Not everyone was completely disappointed, however.
Everyone complaining versus me after the <a href="https://twitter.com/Pokemon">@Pokemon</a> Direct. <a href="https://t.co/VKIiRWXzOU">pic.twitter.com/VKIiRWXzOU</a>—@anatomyofacake
a rerelease of pokemon sun and moon? yawn. call me when there’s someth— is that a pikachu rv <a href="https://t.co/2lvyuvUcTa">pic.twitter.com/2lvyuvUcTa</a>—@bafeldman
Ironically, the best-received announcement during Tuesday's livestream was for another re-release: Pokemon Gold and Silver. They originally launched on the Game Boy in 1999 and will be available as a digital download for the 3DS on Sept. 22.
More information about Nintendo's upcoming slate of games is expected to emerge next week at the E3 industry conference in Los Angeles.
Record profits for Pokemon Company
In other related news, The Pokemon Company itself posted record profits, mainly buoyed by the astronomical success of the Pokemon GO smartphone app that launched last summer.
According to industry analyst Serkan Toto, the company posted a net profit of $143.3 million US in its fiscal year ending Feb. 28. That's a profit 26 times as large as last year's profit of $5.6 million US.
Pokemon GO also made an appearance Monday at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, as the tech company showed off what the game looks like using its new augmented reality toolkit, called the ARKit.