During the recent Pokémon Direct, we finally got our first look at Pokémon Sword and Shield. Ahead of the big reveal, there were countless supposed leaks detailing the eighth generation, but most proved to be largely incorrect. However, since the Direct, an old 4chan post that nailed some key details has been making the rounds. If it’s the real deal, then we now know more about the upcoming Pokémon adventures than what Game Freak has revealed.
The 4chan post correctly predicted that the new games would be titled Sword and Shield and would be set in a region based on Great Britain. It went on to say that Galar’s Legendary Pokémon will be a metal snake and a wooden horse. Additionally, the alleged leak claims the eighth generation will introduce “Armored Evolutions,” with new armored forms for Charizard, Mewtwo, Flygon, and Zeraora. The Legendaries and the new armored forms will somehow be tied in with the lore of Meltan.
While it’s interesting that this anonymous tipster got some key details correct, we’d still advise some skepticism here. Great Britain as a setting was rumored by numerous other “leakers” that got pretty much everything else wrong. Correctly guessing the titles is a little more impressive, but they were definitely rumored by some and even hinted at by Junichi Masuda himself.
More recently, new Pokémon merchandise has surfaced that some people believe lends credibility to this leak. A new line of Pokémon key chains was recently unveiled, including two (not yet pictured) “Armored Mewtwo” charms. However, these charms are meant as a tie-in to the upcoming movie, Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution. Mewtwo wore armor in the original Mewtwo Strikes Back movie, so this just looks to be a movie-specific inclusion. Charizard is also getting a key chain charm, but there’s no indication of an armored version.
Following weeks of rumors and alleged leaks, Game Freak and Nintendo finally unveiled the next generation of Pokémon games on February 27th. The reveal trailer for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield gave us a good look at the Galar region and the new starters, Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble. However, there’s a lot more to absorb than just what you can pick up with a quick glance. As usual, GameXplain is here with a deep dive analysis to uncover many of Galar’s secrets.
Today’s Pokémon Direct just wrapped up, and as expected Game Freak unveiled a new generation of Pokémon games. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are headed to Nintendo Switch later this year. The twin games take place in the brand new Galar region, which appears to be a sizable region that you can explore with a free camera and a third-person perspective.
In the Galar region, you’ll have the choice of Grookey (grass), Scorbunny (fire), and Sobble (water) as your first Pokémon companion. Game Freak says they’re aiming to make this the greatest Pokemon experience yet by challenging themselves to do new things, while still staying true to what makes Pokémon special. Check out the trailer and get hyped!
Following weeks of rumors and rumblings, Game Freak finally confirmed that they have a new Pokémon Direct presentation to share with the world. The official announcement only teases “new information” about the series, but it seems nearly certain that they’ll be revealing the new games for Nintendo Switch.
If you’re ready to see the next evolution of the Pokémon franchise, you’ve come to the right place. The Direct kicks off at 6:00 AM Pacific / 9:00 AM Eastern. That’s 2:00 PM for our friends in the UK and 3:00 PM by Central European Time. We’re livestreaming it right here at Gamnesia, so tune in to watch it live, and stay tuned for all our post-Direct coverage!
Tomorrow is the 23rd anniversary of the original Pokémon games making their debut in Japan, and Game Freak is going to be celebrating in style. Nintendo has just announced that a special Pokémon Direct will be held tomorrow. The announcement post is light on the details, but we’re told to expect “roughly 7 minutes of new information.”
It seems likely that this will be the reveal of the new Pokémon games for Nintendo Switch. These games are expected to be the next generation, eight if you’re counting, of mainline Pokémon games. We’ve heard lots of rumors and rumblings about what these games could be, but nothing that really sticks out above the rest in terms of plausible credibility.
Whatever is revealed tomorrow morning, you can watch it live right here at Gamnesia. We’ll be livestreaming the Pokémon Direct and covering any and all exciting news as it breaks. Tune in tomorrow at 6:00 AM Pacific / 9:00 AM Eastern. That’s 2:00 PM for our friends in the UK and 3:00 PM by Central European Time.
Millions of fans around the world are currently enjoying Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee, but Game Freak isn’t just coasting on the strong sales of their most recent releases. In fact, long before the Let’s Go games released, Game Freak confirmed that they were working on a “core series RPG” coming in late 2019. So when will the next chapter of Pokémon finally be revealed? Apparently quite soon!
Exactly one week ago, we were treated to a Nintendo Direct presentation filled with tons of exciting Switch news. Prior to the Direct, there were countless rumors about its content, but only one absolutely nailed it. On February 11th, two days before the Direct, Twitter user Mug tweeted out “Yoshi, final fantasy, Fire emblem, daemon x machina, Bloodstained, Mortal Kombat, Boxboy, 2d Zelda, mario maker, dragon quest, Starfox, platinum games, Assassins creed, 5 minutes on three houses, Marvel ultimate alliance.” In other words… just about everything that appeared in the Direct.
Naturally, this has impressed a lot of people, and many have been asking if Mug also has the inside scoop on the next Pokémon. As of February 14th, Mug was unaware of The Pokémon Company’s plans, but that appears to have changed. Earlier today, Mug simply tweeted out “Pokemon soon.” It’s not much to go on, but perhaps the news will coincide with Pokémon Day, which is February 27th in Japan, and (depending on your time zone) February 26th in some Western countries.
Obviously this has not officially been confirmed by Nintendo or The Pokemon Company, so take it with a grain of salt. I checked Google’s cached version of the page to see if it was possible that incorrect guesses were simply deleted after the Direct, but unfortunately the last snapshot Google took was the day after the Direct, so that possibility can’t really be confirmed or debunked.
Nintendo and Game Freak launched Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee last November to strong sales, but there are still plenty of gamers that haven’t yet experienced the new Kanto adventure. If you’ve been on the fence about buying it, we’ve got some good news! The Nintendo Switch eShop just got demo versions of each game available to download right now.
The demo is set in the Viridian Forest, just before Pewter City. In addition to the Partner Pikachu or Partner Eevee (depending on which version you downloaded), your team will be packed with other great Pokémon like Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur. There are trainers to fight, wild Pokémon to catch (including some that don’t normally appear in the Viridian Forest) and even an appearance from Professor Oak.
Despite shipping over 10 million copies worldwide in just six weeks, Nintendo feels that they haven’t yet fully communicated the value of the games and they’re looking to continue to grow the Let’s Go audience. Game Freak is developing new Pokémon games for Switch that are slated to launch during the holiday 2019 window, so they’ll be aiming to attract as many new fans as possible before then. Because it borrows elements from Niantic’s mobile hit Pokémon GO, Game Freak would like to use Pokémon: Let’s Go to attract as many mobile players as possible. A free demo is a great way to reach out to new Switch owners as well.
For the first big Pokémon adventure on Switch, Nintendo decided to take a risk and create a hybrid game that mixed the standard Pokémon formula with elements of mobile mega-hit Pokémon GO. This new take on the Kanto region proved to be successful, and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee sold 3 million copies right out of the game. Now that a little more time has passed, we have a better idea of their long-term sales potential.
According to the latest data from Nintendo’s investor relations page, the twin Let’s Go games have sold a combined 10 million copies as of December 31, 2018. That means they’ve sold approximately 7 million copies since the last update on November 22nd. That’s good enough for fifth place on Switch’s overall software sales charts.
These early sales numbers are already impressive, and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu andPokémon: Let’s Go have plenty of potential for evergreen sales. Pokémon games tend to have a long tail, and it’s likely that the Detective Pikachu movie will spark more interest in the series and bring more consumer into the Switch ecosystem.
Game Freak’s beloved Pokémon franchise took the next step in its evolution last November with the launch of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee. The twin Switch games took players on a nostalgia trip to the Kanto region, beautifully recreated in HD. The game launched to a warm reception and strong sales, but Game Freak isn’t done yet!
They’ve just released another trailer for Let’s Go, and it stars a familiar face. That’s right, Ash Ketchum is here to tell you why you’ll love the latest Pokémon games. Although Ash doesn’t technically appear in the games, you’ll be embarking on a journey quite similar to his, especially if you choose the Pikachu version of the game. You can watch the trailer by clicking above.
Game Freak has been cranking out smash hit Pokémon games for over 20 years, and the series has had to continue to evolve alongside new tech. Each generation presents its own unique challenges, but according to Tsunekazu Ishihara, President and CEO of The Pokémon Company, developing for Switch is the most complicated task yet.
You might think that revelation reflects poorly on Switch, but really it’s quite the opposite. Developing for Switch isn’t hard because of limitations, but rather because of options. Because the hybrid device can be played in so many ways and with so many control styles, Game Freak has to keep a much wider variety of play scenarios in mind to make sure the gameplay works well in any circumstance.
“The main entries in the Pokémon game series have always been on handheld systems – from the Game Boy all the way to the 3DS. For this next entry, the Nintendo Switch has a variety of playstyles. While you can still play in handheld mode, you now have the option of playing on a bigger TV screen while in docked mode. Given this new hardware, I’ve found it harder to make a new mainline Pokémon game than I had originally thought. Even as a Pokemon game on the Switch, does it still work? Is it possible for me to make all of those playstyles interesting? I think it’s probably about five times harder than any of you could imagine! (laughs)” — Tsunekazu Ishihara
Ishihara believes developing Pokémon for Switch to be “five times harder than any of you could imagine,” which should give you an idea of how seriously they take this task of accommodating all play styles. So what should we expect from the upcoming 2019 releases? Ishihara has previously teased that the upcoming games will “evolve” and “succeed the traditions” of past games. It’s a tough task, but with 20 years of experience, I’d wager that The Pokémon Company is more than up to it.
In 2018, Game Freak took the Pokémon franchise in a new direction with the launch of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee on Nintendo Switch. These hybrid games combine the traditional Pokémon formula with elements of Pokémon GO for a new kind of experience. Game Freak intends to follow these titles up with a more “core RPG” style Pokémon game this year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the same old experience we’re used to.
Speaking with popular Japanese publication Famitsu, Pokémon producers Junichia Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori shared a special New Year messages with fans. The two reflected on the success of Let’s Go in 2018 and also hinted at what’s to come this year.
“Happy New Year! Thanks to all of you, we were able to release the Pokémon: Let’s Go games back on November 16th. Everybody from all over the world experienced the games in a variety of ways: with the PokeBall Plus, by connecting their game with Pokémon GO, and even playing with two players! I’d like to extend my thanks for all your kind words. Everyone here at Game Freak is working hard on the next Pokémon title as well as other original titles – we hope you enjoy them! Thanks again, and see you in 2019!” — Junichi Masuda
“Happy New Year! In 2018, Game Freak was able to announce both PokémonQuest and the Pokémon: Let’s Go games. Pokémon Quest was a game that presented the challenge of having to develop both the Switch and smartphone versions at the same time. And on looking back on the basis for Let’s Go’s development, we wanted to make a game that everybody could play – a Pokémon game for everybody! The staff as a whole had to repeatedly tackle a variety of challenges to make it happen. In 2019, Game Freak will continue to face the challenges we didn’t lose to last year; I want to keep surprising everybody in the year to come!” — Shigeru Ohmori
According to Masuda, the team apparently has multiple games in the works. Ohmori then chimed in to state that Game Freak is hoping to surprise players in 2019, presumably with the new Pokémon titles. While the upcoming games will be a shift back to some of the more traditional elements of the series, The Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara has previously indicated that the new games will also bring some changes. Back in June, he stated that the upcoming games will “give a good understanding of what an evolved Pokémon game looks like after it has continued to succeed the traditions of Game Freak.”
You may not know this, but I’m a busy man. In fact, I’m so busy, I’ve been inexplicably absent from Gamnesia for over a month. So I don’t really play games 100% to completion anymore, especially when it comes to RPGs. As a young adult that finds himself working most of the time, I needed a Pokémon game that’s easier to digest. Thankfully, I think Let’s Go has given me exactly what I asked for.
I’m picky about my RPGs in general. If I feel like the game has a lot of unnecessary padding, I usually drop it. Because of this, I’ve quit several critically-acclaimed games only about a quarter of the way in just this year, such as Ni no Kuni II and Octopath Traveler. I have nothing against these games; they just feel like a waste of time.
I also felt this way about PokémonSun and Moon. These games have an incredibly dull opening that dissatisfied many fans of the series, and the overall main story tends to drag on and never really gets to the point. These games brought a lot of changes to the series that I thought were fantastic, but I just couldn’t commit the time to get through it all.
I was hoping Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon would help fix my issues with the originals, but it only left a worse taste in my mouth. The game was left largely intact, and most of the new content just padded the game out further. I was ready to give up and call the seventh generation of Pokémon a fluke. I hoped Game Freak could redeem themselves with the next set of games. But then they announced Let’s Go.
I had mixed feelings when these games were announced. I had lost interest in Pokémon GO just a few months after it came out, but I was eager to get back into the world of Pokémon and try to enjoy myself again—I just didn’t know if Let’s Go would be the game to pull me back in.
So I tempered my expectations and remained mostly neutral about these new titles. Some of you may have listened to the episode of Switched On! where I talked with Ben and Steven about the game. At the time, it still hadn’t won me over. I liked some of the ideas Game Freak was going for, but nothing really stood out to me overall.
November 16th rolled around, and something happened that I wasn’t quite expecting: Pokémon fever. Everybody on my Twitter feed was posting about Let’s Go in some way. Most were talking about how fun it was as they showed off their Pokédex and shiny Pokémon.
I couldn’t believe it. Was I really missing out? I had every intention to wait for the game to go on sale in a bargain bin later on. But if the game wasn’t going to be a critical flop, maybe it was best to go ahead and give it a try.
So I caved. In fact, I bought two copies: Let’s Go, Pikachu! for me, and Let’s Go, Eevee! for my wife. As I explored the world of Kanto again, I realized the spinoff I had been so unsure of was what I had been looking for in a Pokémon game all this time.
Pokémon had just become too stale and tedious for my busier lifestyle. So it really did take removing some of the slower elements of the game to spark my interest again.
For example, random encounters no longer involve actually battling Pokémon (for the most part). Instead, you catch them all much like you would in Pokémon GO, where you spot them in the wild and then throw Pokéballs at them. This speeds up the game tremendously and lets you decide very quickly whether you want to spend time trying to catch a specific Pokémon.
This mechanic is not without its flaws. The motion controls are often flawed, and wild Pokémon can run away from you after a few unsuccessful attempts at catching it. But all of its wonkiness aside, the new catching system speeds things up and kept me engaged for much longer play sessions than I ever had with any of the previous titles.
But the feature that really makes this system work for me is being able to see Pokémon roam around on the overworld. I might speak for a small portion of RPG fans, but I think random encounters are outdated and shouldn’t be used anymore. Being able to choose when you want to fight is the best thing any RPG can do for you—and being able to choose what you catch is the best thing a Pokémon game can do for you.
This feature is so important to all players, even the ones who crave a more “hardcore” Pokémon experience. I remember EV training my team when I was in middle school. You run around in the grass for a bit, and if you don’t find the Pokémon with the right effort values, you run around in the grass some more until you do. Even though EV training is nonexistent in Let’s Go, it is so nice that you can actually see the Pokémon before entering the battle. This shaves off so much time and it really helps you know if going to a certain patch of grass is even worth it.
These are the two most important features of Let’s Go to me. I know Game Freak will probably go back to the classic battling system in future games, and that’s okay. But they would be committing an absolute crime if they didn’t keep Pokémon on the overworld before you fight them.
Outside of the catching mechanics, though, Let’s Go doesn’t beat around the bush. Within minutes, you’re on a new adventure and filling up your Pokédex. This is likely because the games follow similar story beats to Red, Blue, and Yellow, but I would like to think that Game Freak is listening to fans and is starting to realize that three-hour tutorial sections just don’t cut it.
One criticism Let’s Go has faced is its simplicity. Some people find the games to be too easy. I’ll raise a counterpoint: Pokémon has always been easy; it’s just less tedious now. I think future Pokémon games can stand to learn a thing or two from the Let’s Go titles. Grinding is less of a chore, dungeons are much simpler to get through without random encounters every five seconds, and you always have a Pokémon box with you for fast and easy changes to your team.
I haven’t had this much fun with Pokémon in years, and I have high hopes for the next game in 2019. Pokémon: Let’s Go is a breath of fresh air for anyone who hasn’t been happy with the series for quite some time. It shaves off a lot of the extra padding Pokémon has become notorious for, and it’s a perfect game for a busy lifestyle.
Junichi Masuda has been involved with the Pokémon franchise since the very beginning, so if anyone should be familiar with its various creatures, it’s him. With all of that experience behind him, just how well can he recall and recreate details about their designs? In a new video from Game Freak Masuda competes with Kensaku Nabana, a field designer and modeler on Pokémon: Let’s Go, to draw Pokémon from memory in just 30 seconds.
Earlier this year, an earlier prototype for Pokémon Gold and Silver leaked in ROM form, and when The Cutting Room Floor got their hands on the file, they discovered dozens of unused Pokémon. These monsters were in development for the second generation games but were either scrapped altogether or heavily redesigned to become the Pokémon we all know and love.
Today a new batch of unused Pokémon surfaced, this time on a Japanese TV show called NHK. There aren’t nearly as many scrapped monster ideas in this batch, and some of them are clearly predecessors of official Pokémon. The most interesting one is probably the early version of Scyther (the third creature on the top row), which almost looks closer to Charizard in appearance.
Game Freak’s phenomenally popular Pokémon franchise has followed the same basic formula for 20 years, and with great success. However, the most recent titles, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee, introduced some major changes. Many of these changes were intended to make Let’s Go more similar to Niantic’s mobile hit Pokémon GO, while others were tweaks or new ideas intended to make the games more user-friendly. Naturally, many fans are divided on whether or not they like this new style. I’ve personally criticized a few elements, but there are other areas where Let’s Go is absolutely crushing it. Here are the five best changes made in the new games:
Seeing Pokémon on the Overworld
Many of my favorite RPGs, such as EarthBound, Paper Mario, and Chrono Trigger, share a common gameplay feature: enemies appear on the overworld. I’ve never been a fan of random enemy encounters, and I’ve often found them disruptive and frustrating enough that I lose my patience for the games in which they are present. Pokémon is a rare exception to this rule, but I love it despite these random encounters, not because of them. And running into my 50th Zubat in a half hour sometimes tests that love.
Game Freak’s decision to ditch random encounters in Let’s Go alleviates that frustration, but it does so much more than just that. Seeing Pokémon spawn in grassy areas and run around in the wild is an absolute game changer. It adds a whole new level of excitement and wonder to the experience, and it immerses players in the Pokémon world like never before.
Getting charged by a playful Growlithe pup, chasing after a waddling Psyduck, and seeing herds of wild Ponytas galloping down Pokémon Road are just some of the delightful experiences you’ll encounter in Let’s Go. From the first Pidgeys and Rattatas of Route 1 all the way through the trials of Victory Road, seeing these beloved creatures from our childhood all over the map really brings Kanto to life.
Swapping Pokémon With Ease
We’ve come a long, long way since the original Pokémon games. Remember the frustration of manually switching boxes in your PC when they filled up with Pokémon? Or finding out, too late, that you couldn’t catch a wild Pokémon because your current box is full? These awful limitations were left in the dust years ago, and Game Freak decided to take the evolution of the user-friendly approach one step further in Let’s Go.
Pokémon: Let’s Go allows you to swap out any Pokémon at any time. Your Pokémon Box is easily accessible from the menu at any time, so you don’t have to worry about getting halfway through a cave only to realize that you left a much-needed Pokémon in storage. And if you catch a wild Pokémon when your party is already full, you can immediately check it out and see its stats without trekking to the nearest town.
This mechanic is a welcome simplification in Let’s Go and fits well with its theme of giving players a relaxing experience. Implementing it in main series games would also make them more user-friendly, though perhaps a few tweaks are called for. Having the ability to swap out Pokémon while in a Gym or even the Elite Four can make things pretty easy, so some restrictions (which could easily be toggled on or off in the settings) would make sense.
Expanding the Role of Ride Pokémon
The first generation of Pokémon games lightly dabbled with the idea of letting players ride on their Pokémon with HMs like Surf and Fly, and Game Freak would continue to evolve this idea until the introduction of Ride Pokémon in Sun and Moon. This idea was improved and expanded in Let’s Go, allowing players to ride eighteen different monsters.
While Sun and Moon restricted Ride Pokémon to short bursts in specific areas, Let’s Go allows you to hop on anywhere with sufficient space on the overworld. Whether you’re towering over cave-dwellers while riding your Onix, speeding around the world on an Arcanine (my personal choice), or clinging to the belly of a Snorlax, it’s a wonderful experience that will bring a smile to your face.
On top of that, some of the Ride Pokémon in Let’s Go fly rather than walking. This lets you move at impressive speeds while avoiding obstacles that would normally slow you down, and you can even encounter rare and powerful Flying-type Pokémon floating above the ground. Soaring through the air on the likes of Charizard, Dragonite, and Aerodactyl has been one of the biggest highlights of my time with the games.
One of the most common struggles in older Pokémon games was the task of making sure your team featured all of the HMs you needed to move around the world. Some of these special moves, like Flash and Cut, were practically worthless in battle, but you could find yourself stuck if you didn’t use up some of your precious move slots to keep them on your team. This often resulted in players using one of their six main Pokémon solely for carrying around HMs, rendering them a liability in battle.
Game Freak has experimented with replacing them in various ways in recent entries, and Let’s Go does the best job of this yet. HMs that are actually useful in battle, like Surf, have been turned into TMs, and the others have been replaced by something called Secret Techniques. These abilities are now all learned by your partner Pokémon, Eevee or Pikachu.
Even if you take your partner out of your lineup of six active battlers, it will still ride around on your head or shoulder on the overworld, and it can still use its Secret Techniques. Additionally, they don’t even take up any of your partner’s move slots. It’s a wonderful new system that makes it easier than ever to travel around the game’s overworld without unnecessary hindrances or battle restrictions.
Getting the Perfect Pokémon
IVs, or Internal Values, are an integral part of building a competitive team full of powerful Pokémon. Every monster you encounter is immediately assigned IVs, and getting a Pokémon with perfect stats can be an intensely frustrating and drawn out process. Sun and Moon alleviated some of this with the introduction of Hyper Training, which allows you to improve a Pokémon’s IVs after they’ve reached level 100. Let’s Go makes this even easier by introducing an IV Judge function that lets you see exactly what stats you’re working with. No math or third-party IV calculators required!
Let’s Go also makes it easier than ever to ensure that wild Pokémon have decent IVs to begin with. If you catch multiple of the same Pokémon consecutively, you’ll start racking up bonuses, including extra EXP and item drops. Eventually, as the chain gets longer, the Pokémon you encounter will naturally have better stats. You can use this method to guarantee that a wild Pokémon will have perfect IVs in up to four stats, and by trading Bottle Caps for some hyper training, you can easily perfect the remaining two.
Another way Let’s Go makes it easier to get the perfect Pokémon team is by letting you set the nature of wild Pokémon… for a price. Pokémon natures generally raise one stat’s max potential by 10% while lowering another by the same amount. If you need a specific nature for a Pokémon, you can simply head to Celadon City and pay a fortune teller to make it so. It’ll cost you ten thousand, but it ensures that every Pokémon you encounter for the rest of the day is the nature you selected.
Finally, there’s EVs… or AVs… or whatever the heck we’re calling them this generation. The point is, Pokémon has always had a system in which you can boost your stats through the use of certain items. In the past, you also gained EVs from every fight, and you only got enough EVs to max out two of your stats. In other words, battling the wrong Pokémon could lead to investing EVs in the wrong stat. In Let’s Go, battling no longer impacts these values. Instead, all this stat-boosting is done via candies, so you can battle whoever you want, whenever you want, and still have your stat boosts turn out the way you want.
In fact, Let’s Go allows you to max out every stat, and the ceiling is much higher than in previous games. This may not be a welcome change for people used to the competitive balance of previous generations, but it certainly simplifies the process of making a perfect Pokémon. And if these stat changes mean that Game Freak can’t find a way to transfer Let’s Go Pokémon to future titles (which is something they’re still hoping for and working on), it will simply become a unique competitive scene of its own.
Pokémon has evolved yet again. Game Freak’s beloved monster-catching franchise just took on a new form with the launch of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee. These twin games are essentially remakes of Pokémon Yellow, but with significant gameplay changes inspired by Pokémon GO. So how does the finished product hold up? Join Ben, Elijah, and Tessie as they break down the good and the bad on the latest episode of Switched On!
If you enjoy this episode of Switched On!, feel free to check out our previous episodes, where we tackle recent Nintendo Directs, explore Nintendo franchises that need a reboot, and more. We also have a second podcast called Gamnesia After Dark that features non-Nintendo discussion, including video games, TV shows, movies, and the lives of the Gamnesia staff in general.
The ever-lucrative holiday season is upon us, and the biggest day of them all is Black Friday. Retailers, especially in the United States, offered all kinds of deals and bundles to entice customers to open their wallets, and a handful of popular video games cracked the list of top-sellers for the holiday. Leading the charge was none other than Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee.
According to Adobe Insights (based on an analysis of 80% of online retailers in the US), Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee was the fourth best-selling item of Black Friday, coming in behind Laptops, L.O.L. Surprise, and Fingerlings. God of War saw a surge in sales (despite launching all the way back in April) that took it all the way to fifth place, just behind Pokémon. Red Dead Redemption 2 was also one of the hottest items of the holiday, but it didn’t make the top five.
All in all, online Black Friday sales shattered records this year, as consumers spent over $6.22 billion in the US, topping last year’s number by 23.6%. Cyber Monday is expected to be even bigger, with Adobe predicting a 17.6% increase over last year for a total of $7.8 billion today. If that projection is accurate, sales from the two events will top $14 billion. And there’s still a month left to go until Christmas.
Nintendo recently launched Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee on Nintendo Switch, and the reception has been strong. Yesterday we reported that it topped the charts in Japan and led to a massive sales spike for Switch, and today we’ve learned that success extends far beyond Japan. After just a few days on the market, it’s safe to say Let’s Go is a global smash hit.
According to an official PokémonTwitter account in Japan, the twin games combined to sell over 3 million copies during their launch weekend. It’s been four days since then, so that number is likely much higher by now. As it turns out, 3 million copies sold in just three days is a new record, making Pokémon: Let’s Go the fastest-selling Switch game to date. Of course, with Smash just around the corner, it’s possible that will be a short-lived record.
The weekly hardware and software sales numbers from Japan are in, and unsurprisingly it was a huge week for Nintendo. The launch of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee was easily the biggest event of the week. The twin games combined to sell over 660,000 copies, snagging first place and boosting switch sales from around 54,000 last week to over 200,000 this week. Fallout 76 was a distant second with around 73,000 units sold.
In hardware, Switch was obviously the champion with 200,850 total units sold. No other console managed to sell even 9,000 units. It seems Fallout 76 and Hitman 2, despite both charting in the top 5, were unable to provide PlayStation 4 with any kind of boost heading into the holiday season. You can check out the full sales breakdown below.
Game Freak just released Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee into the wild, and millions around the world are touring Kanto and capturing monsters left and right. Series producer Junichi Masuda has previously indicated that if the games are successful, they could become a continuing series, existing alongside the more “core” entries in the franchise. Now that you’ve had time to go hands-on or at least watch footage, do you think Game Freak should keep making Let’s Go games?
From a business standpoint, it’s an easy yes. I’ve previously expressed that Let’s Go is one of the best ideas Game Freak has ever had, and I still believe that’s true. However, the twin games aren’t without flaws, and many of them relate to the GO-inspired mechanics. While I don’t think they should be scrapped (especially if Game Freak wants to keep converting GO players), they at least need some tweaking.
The internet has plenty of mixed opinions on the games, but one shared by many is that playing without motion controls, with a more standard controller, should be an option. It makes the game more accessible to people with injuries or disabilities, as well as to those who just aren’t a fan of motion controls.
My biggest issue with the game is probably the heavy emphasis on luck. Without the ability to paralyze or injure wild Pokémon, I’ve wasted countless Great Balls and Ultra Balls landing Great and Excellent throws and getting nothing to show for it. A lot of this frustration could be alleviated by making berries more common and more effective, and by reducing (or eliminating) the rate at which wild Pokémon bat your throws away or just run away altogether.
Game Freak has a money maker on their hands that they can easily keep going for years to come. If they make a few tweaks to keep things more user-friendly, they can count on me being along for the ride.