Eagle-eyed Pokémon fans will not have missed that people behind Pokémon are making a big deal about Pokémon Day 2018. They’ve posted a countdown on Twitter complete with a cheeky winking Pikachu, original content each day on the official website and plenty of throwbacks to generations past.
One of its most recent Tweets feels designed purely to generate nostalgia. It takes us back on a little journey through every generation so far, from Kanto to Alola.
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) February 24, 2018
The last time things felt this nostalgic was in 2016, on Pokémon’s 20th anniversary, when it released the heart-wrenching trailer for Pokémon Sun and Moon.
The eerily similar approach to promoting Pokémon Day 2018 has got a lot of fans speculating about what Nintendo could be up to. Many think that this feels like they’re ramping up 22 years of Pokémon passion for a reason – building to something more than just any old Pokémon Day.
In fact, a lot of people think that Nintendo are planning on releasing big news on February 27th 2018.
But what could it be?
It feels too close to the fairly recent release of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, not to mention the upcoming release of Detective Pikachu, for it to be a full announcement. But a lot of fans think that we might be about to get a glimpse of how the Pokémon world will evolve into its eighth generation on the Nintendo Switch.
A Tweet from Serebii.net has confirmed that the footage from the newest Pokémon movie will premiere on a Japanese Variety Show on Tuesday February 27th. At the moment, there’s almost no information about what this footage will feature, apart from the inclusion of Lugia.
— Serebii.net (@SerebiiNet) February 23, 2018
Again, this feels very similar to the build up to Pokémon Sun and Moon, which reintroduced classic Pokémon in an all new way through their Alolan forms. People are theorising that this film could usher in a new age for more much-loved Pokémon. Perhaps the beloved second generation legendary will be revived in Gen VIII.
The film could be the first we see of the anime heroes reconnecting with these old favourites. This could pave the way for the games to revisit them. Pokémon Day is rumoured to provide the first real glimpse we get into what to expect.
Between Pokémon GO and Pokémon Sun and Moon, Nintendo have hit on a goldmine with these revivals. Each new generation will of course bring new wannabe Pokémon Masters into the fold. But by bringing back Pokémon rich with nostalgia, they’re reconnecting to an existing audience, some of whom may have drifted away from the franchise. But now, as adults with their own money, rather than kids begging their parents for games for Christmases and birthdays, this market is ready to buy.
There is no reason for Nintendo not to capitalise on this by continuing with this trend. The promotional patterns based on nostalgia are clearly repeating themselves, albeit with Tweets rather than full trailers this time around.
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) February 23, 2018
With Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon still quite recently released, and with Detective Pikachu on the way, it makes sense that there will still be a bit of a wait for another new Pokémon game. But the Switch is now nearly a year old and its popularity is booming. It’s only going to be a matter of time before Pokémon makes its way there.
There is speculation that Pokemon Day 2018 could see the release of a trailer, or a teaser, of a revolutionary Generation VIII. The subtle nature of Tweets rather than a full length trailer suggests that we won’t be getting a lot of information just yet. But could instead be the first look at a Pokémon adventure unlike anything we’ve seen or played so far.
Through island trials and Alolan forms and other new ways to play, Pokémon Sun and Moon paved the way for a new approach to classic Pokémon. It prepared people for a whole new way to explore and interact with the Pokémon world made possible by the Nintendo Switch.
So what does this mean for competitive battlers?
Honestly, at this early point, it could mean anything.
The resurfacing of Lugia as a central character in a movie suggests that there are going to be new ways to battle with classic Pokémon in the games. Similarly to the way the Z-moves and Mega-Evolution gave some Pokémon a new foothold in the competitive scene, the new generation could offer another change to gameplay that restored old favourites to their former glory. Only now, they’ll have a fighting chance aginst more than just the original 151.
There is already a lot of suspicion out there that CoroCoro is due to release new information about Lugia’s role in the next generation. This is reminiscent of the CoroCoro leaks that introduced the world to Mega-Evolution through the first ever glimpse of Mega-Evolved form of Mewtwo.
While this isn’t confirmation, the similarities are generating a lot of excitement about the future for Lugia.
How Pokémon will translate to the new, more complex console is still a something of a mystery. The basic mechanics of the game have remained similar throughout the generations, but there is definitely scope for evolution with the move to the Switch.
Every new generation updates something. Developments have been quickening their pace recently, with Mega-Evolutions and Z-Moves and Island Trials coming in quite rapidly.
It’s not unreasonable to think that by reintroducing a Pokémon as popular as Lugia, they’ll be boosting it with a completely new way to battle and maybe even using it to usher in all new mechanics.
So although the answers aren’t there yet, it’s still a lot of fun to contemplate. The countdown to Pokémon Day 2018 is getting tenser by the minute.
Images from @SerebiiNet on Twitter.