While there’s going to be plenty of meat that comes from Pokémon’s 25th anniversary, the video games are the real central feature to look at. In the last entry, we discussed toys and merchandise. This time around, I want to talk about what to expect from the video games in 2021 and the possibilities of seeing reveals of new creatures. Let’s dive right in.
New Pokémon: The realistic prediction
Let’s keep this section short and sweet. I think we can expect some announcements in 2021 for a new Pokémon. Just because we’re in the middle of a generation doesn’t mean we can’t expect something new to hit. Meltan and Melmetal, for instance, came as a complete surprise at the tail-end of Gen 7, premiering in Pokémon GO as Mythical Pokémon. They were eventually allowed into the Pokémon Let’s Go games, as well as Sword and Shield. But, they were designed to be something special in Pokémon GO. We’ve seen a large handful of new Pokémon that came directly out of the Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra as well. This idea can be coupled with the new Mythical that is tied directly to the movie Coco, Zarude, to show that new Pokémon can be inserted at any given time now. All you need is an update in the modern era of video games and new content is open to you.
With that being said, I think we could absolutely see a new Mythical or Legendary teased during Pokémon Day. The lack of Legendary Pokémon in Gen 8 was noticeable and they wouldn’t be remiss to add another. More likely, it’d be a Mythical that gets announced. However, it’s always a possibility that we see another Legendary altogether. This could also work as a tease for whatever game comes next (which I’ll discuss later). But, if they add something new, I’d love to see it added as a free update that takes us off to some island or separate place. As mentioned, with the ability to easily add updates to modern consoles, a 10-20 minute Legendary adventure would be absolutely possible. This would invoke events of old, like the Eon Ticket or Oak’s Letter. Could we finally see the Azure Flute legitimately added to a game, along with the Hall of Origin?
That’s not all. I want to talk about regional variants that could be announced for the anniversary, but I’m going to save that discussion for a tad bit later in the realistic video game section. However, some new hat or costume Pikachus could absolutely be shown off. It’s highly likely we’ll see one for Pokémon GO, at the least. But, a new hat in Sword and Shield could be announced as well, albeit less likely. Let me trade my Luffy Hat Pikachu from Pokémon GO into the Switch games, you cowards!
New Pokémon: The this-totally-isn’t-going-to-happen prediction
Alright, hear me out. I think it’s time for a new Eeveelution or two. Aside from the first generation, we’ve gotten something new from Eevee every even generation. Seriously, Gen 1, 2, 4, and 6 all got Eeveelutions. It’s Generation 8 now and we haven’t heard anything. However, it’s always possible that a new Eeveelution could be announced if we see a Gen 4 remake, to tie it in with the now-classic Leafeon and Glaceon. Give us a Dragon-type and make it turn out to be the mysterious dragon tower in Hammerlocke!
Since we’re in the “possible but unlikely” part of New Pokémon Reveals: Let’s put whatever Pokémon gets announced into Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Like, it gets revealed by Sakurai on Pokémon Day and then shows it off as the next DLC Fighter for the Fighter Pass. Perfect synergy between Nintendo properties!
Video Games: The realistic prediction
I’m starting with the easy part of the list and mention a Gen 4 remake to get it out of the way. There’s plenty of evidence to point us at an eventual Gen 4 remake. With the addition of Underground Dens in the Frozen Tundra DLC, it’s a no-brainer to think of Gen 4’s Underground, for instance. There’s enough evidence to fill plenty of articles on their own.
But, I want to talk more about what could be added to the Gen 4 games as a remake to keep them relevant to Gen 8. Regional variants for Sinnoh could bring the games full-circle. Sinnohnian (Sinnohian? Sinnohese?) variants seem to be a shoe-in, based on previous entries of the games at this point. While it’d be impossible to pin down exactly which Pokémon would get a regional variant, I’d be down for Lugia and Ho-Oh to match the Galarian bird trio getting a fresh coat of paint.
You’d likely also see Dynamax find a way back into a Gen 4 remake. They’d have to come up with some hand-waving to explain how it’s not only in the Galar Region. But, it’d allow Dynamax dens to continue to exist in the same generation and follow the thematic values that Sword and Shield have created.
Aside from Gen 4 remake possibilities, there’s a lot already on the table. We know about games like New Pokémon Snap, Detective Pikachu 2, and Pokémon Sleep. Pokémon GO is always ready with some big events and updates. So, we can expect some sort of event. This time around, Pokémon Home could tie in more easily to an event as well. Pokémon Masters will likely have an event with new characters added, a free 3000 gems, and banners up in the game. This is all pretty par for the course.
Video Games: The just-stop-you’re-embarrassing-yourself prediction
I’d like to apologize in advance for what comes next. This might get weird. So, let’s start with a bang and say that Pokémon has this amazing habit of subverting expectations. What do we usually expect? We get a main series game, an enhanced version, and then a remake. With the enhanced game becoming DLC over the past year, things have already changed. Instead of a remake, what if we get a Sword 2 and Shield 2? What if instead of a game in 2021, we get one set for 2022 and it’s just straight up Gen 9?
With the more recent remake of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX and the upcoming New Pokémon Snap, I’d like to speculate on other remakes. I think it’s time we see a new or remastered Pokémon Ranger game. We haven’t been to Fiore since the Nintendo DS era and it’s high time we go back! Let’s not forget that Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness came out during the Gen 4 era and tied very well with them. They’d be next in line as sequels of the recent remakes as well, especially if we’re potentially to see a Gen 4 remake next.
You know what? Let’s kick this into an even weirder gear and demand Pokémon Pinball Switch. I grew up in the 90s, meaning I was handed a lot of pinball-related games in my childhood, between Sonic, Windows PCs, and Pokémon. Let’s bring it back. Can we start a hashtag for this? #wedemandpokemonpinballswitch might be too long. Tweet me your ideas!
While we’re at it, let’s poke the bear and put “National Dex will make it into Sword and Shield”. While unlikely, they could always release a surprise patch for Sword and Shield, now that it’s nearing the end of its heyday, that unleashes the rest of the remaining Pokémon into the game. Then, whatever comes next can have easier access to them (or lock them out again!). Considering this is my “unlikely” prediction, people that want Litleo or Sewaddle in the games may just have to wait a tad bit longer. Seriously though, it’s probably just a Gen 4 remake incoming.
Stay tuned for my thoughts on what we can expect from the 25th anniversary for the Trading Card Game, coming later this week! Leave your own predictions in the comments or join the PokéJungle Discord server!
Don’t forget to enter the January Pokémon giveaway featuring a Japanese Brock TCG pack!