We’re five days into 2013, and The Pokemon Company has decided to start off the year with a bang… by making the Internet go wild with speculation on what the “huge” announcement is for January 8, 2013. Well, you’re friendly neighbor-interweb UDuelists site is jumping on the bandwagon!
Rumors suggest that the sixth generation of Pokemon will be revealed on that day, and alongside that announcement, games that will compliment the new generation for either the 3DS and/or the Wii U. Other speculations suggest a Ruby/Sapphire remake, and, quite harshly, the end of the Pokemon series.
So, let’s start with the possibility of a new sixth generation.
Pokemon is still going quite strong; in terms of the anime, it still has a pretty modest following, and it is still one of Nintendo’s best video game properties, selling millions of copies in a matter of a few days after launch (at the very least, the “core” Pokemon games). The TCG is still quite strong, remaining as one of the most balanced games in terms of TCG (Yu-Gi-Oh! is notorious for bad balancing, and Magic the Gathering has its moments too), and tournaments are still being held worldwide. With all this said, Pokemon is still a massive money-making franchise, so why not keep going with a new 100+ set of Pokemon?
Personally, my Pokemon adventures ended with Pokemon Platinum and Pokemon Heart Gold, as I skipped past the 5th Generation of Pokemon. It wasn’t because I hated the new Pokemon; on the contrary, I thought some of the new designs were fantastic, and the story was quite intriguing. To be honest, I didn’t think there could be more added to the story, as the story has grown quite expansive with each new series (starting from “Become a Pokemon master!” to “Save the world from a collapse in space and time!”). Nonetheless, the Pokemon series strayed from heroic quests to more down-to-earth adventures, such as fighting an in-game version of PETA (Pokemon Eating Tasty Animals?).
Statistically, it’s almost time, and also not time, for a new generation of Pokemon to come out. In terms of the anime, the first episode of Pokemon (Indigo League Arc) aired on 09/1998 in the US, the next generation (Johto League) began on 10/2000, after which the Hoenn Arc began on 09/2003, with the Sinnoh Arc beginning on 04/2007, and finally, the Unova/Isshu Arc began in 02/2011. So, the time between arcs falls to:
Indigo-Johto: 2 years
Johto-Hoenn: 3 years
Hoenn-Sinnoh: 4 years
Sinnoh-Unova/Isshu: 4 years
As you can see, the time in-between generations have been steadily growing with each new succession, but the anime has taken a rather refreshing turn with the 5th Generation (Unova/Isshu) arc. Some suspect that Pokemon is getting a slow reboot, as Ash has got some new pals, Team Rocket mainstays Jesse, James, and Meowth have gotten a bit more serious, and more changes have been done for the anime series. Some suspect that this new change would significantly lower the lifespan of the 5th Generation arcs, putting it nearly at the same lifespan as the original Indigo to Johto transition.
Still, some could say that it’s quite too soon for a new generation of Pokemon to be revealed. After all, Pokemon Black 2 and White 2, a first for the video game series, recently released a few months ago, and more Pokemon things have been planned for throughout 2013. This is, of course, a valid consideration, so this leads into potential remakes.
A remake for Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire have supposedly been in the works for sometime, and it’s no secret that the developers really, really want to remake the game, especially for the 3DS. As of yet, there has yet to be a proper Pokemon game to be made specifically for the 3DS, as Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 was chosen to be developed for the original DS due to it being a direct sequel. Imagine the possibilities of having Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire (my personal favorite) reimagined with enhanced graphical powers, fully 3D rendered Pokemon and Pokemon moves, all to demonstrate the capabilities of the 3DS for future Pokemon games. For all of the past remakes, however, there has yet to be an announcement so widely hyped, so this may not be it. Other potential games, however, include a Pokemon Stadium-esque game for the Wii U, or, as it has been pointed out that the announcement is from The Pokemon Company and not Nintendo, something TCG related.
That brings us to one other possibility: the end of Pokemon as we know it. This is probably the most unlikely announcement since Pokemon is still a massive money-making property, but the possibility is not entirely out of the question. Fans have been complaining about the unoriginal and uninspiring design of some of the more recent Pokemon. It should be noted, however, that this is a long-standing complaint ever since the 2nd generation Pokemon were introduced.
So, game wise, players have a large roster of Pokemon to choose from, forming teams of 6 for classic tournament play. The strategy involved has some incredible depth, but by adding more and more Pokemon, it can get quite overwhelming sometimes. Anime wise, the series has largely been stagnant: Start off with Pikachu, catch new Pokemon specific to the region, fight gym leaders, win against gym leaders, and then face off against the Elite Four. Oh, and who could forget: kick Team Rocket’s arse in (almost) every episode?!? Of course, that formula has changed somewhat for the 5th generation, but the anime series is still quite predictable.
Is it best to stop now, or will The Pokemon Company surprise us altogether and bring in a new, much more engaging and unpredictable story? Maybe the announcement has nothing to do with games, anime, or a new generation; perhaps it is an announcement for a Pokemon-themed amusement park, or a restaurant, or an official Pokemon MMO (okay, that’s a game too). Nevertheless, there’s quite a bit of potential for a new generation, as well as the end of Pokemon (as sad as that may be), but we’ll all know come January 8, 2013!