Earlier we talked about now the Nintendo has released a fully-fledged 8thGeneration Pokémon game on the Switch, they can focus on what comes next. We paid particular attention to the fact that now Game Freak will be able to look into ways to bring all 890 Pokémon to current gen. Updating their animations and character models so that hopefully, sometime soon, we can all move our Pokémon from the 3DS era over to our Nintendo Switch games using a tool like the Pokémon bank. It got us thinking about what comes next, particularly Pokémon 2020. There will almost certainly be a new Pokémon game next year. But what’s it going to look like?
Game Freak can be hard to predict, they establish their own rules than break them just as quickly. Let’s look at the possible routes Game Freak could take for Pokémon 2020 and how it will drive the series forward:
An enhanced remake(s)
This is the traditional Pokémon route. Older classic entries in the series would get an update around 12 months after release. Think Red and Blue followed by Yellow. Gold and Silver followed by Crystal, or Ruby and Sapphire followed by Emerald. Diamond, Peal and Platinum. You get the picture.
Game Freak actually broke this tradition with Pokémon Black and White. Instead of releasing the expected ‘Pokémon Grey’ (or something like that), Game Freak released Black and White 2. A continuation of those games story and that Gen. When it came to Pokémon X and Y; Game Freak defied expectations again. Instead of a much anticipated Pokémon Z, they announced the next generation!
The company slightly returned to this format after Pokémon Sun and Moon, but this time released two enhanced remakes called Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. They were largely the same as Sun and Moon but had a few extra features and slight story deviations, much like Pokémon Yellow had when compared to Red and Blue. Although this time there were two games.
So, it’s hard to say if Game Freak will go down this route again but we think an enhanced remake is highly probable. Not only will it allow Game Freak to re-release the already rapidly selling Sword and Shield, but it will buy them time to create a version of these games that includes the entire Pokedex of 890 Pokémon.
Or at least have the models programmed in so the games offer functionality with the Pokémon bank. This will fix the main complaint lots of fans have had with this new gen of Pokémon, it will also future proof the series ready for later Switch entries. Updating over 800 Pokémon has clearly been a mammoth task for the developers, and by their own admission they weren’t ready by the time Sword and Shield came to market. An enhanced remake and another year of development time could finally see this dream realised. We’d put good money on seeing an Ultra Sword and Ultra Shield this time next year. Or a 3rd updated title borrowing elements from each.
Or a sequel to Pokémon Sword and Shield?
This could work too. Much like they did with Black and White 2, Pokémon Sword and Shield 2 could be a fun way of re-using the same assets but allow players to experience a new Pokémon story set in the Galar region. I enjoyed Ultra Sun and Moon but really, I felt a bit short-changed after having spent so many hours a year earlier playing what was really the same game. A sequel provides fresh content and could enjoy the development time and added benefits mentioned above.
Although a patch or DLC (or series of them) may need to be made over time to make sure the original Sword and Shield were compatible with older Pokémon. This is granted a harder job for Game Freak than an enhanced remake would be. Why make a new game when they can re-release the last one with a new lick of paint and all the features fans have been screaming for?
Let’s Go Johto!
Pokémon Go is still going strong among its fans and Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu/Evee helped invigorate it. Now Game Freak could apply the ‘Let’s Go’ formula to all their remakes in future. The company have been committed to remaking earlier games in the series since the days of the Game Boy Advance and are still going at it. But after Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire and the Let’s Go games, the remake strategy has reached somewhat of a crossroads.
Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu/Evee was a remake of Gen 1, but it was the second remake of Gen 1, the first being Pokémon Fire Red and Leaf Green on the GBA. So it’s possible Game Freak have started again. It will be interesting to see what Game Freak do for the next remake of earlier Gens. Will they remake Gen 2 (this will also be the second time the games have been remade) as a Let’s Go title? And if so what then? Gen 3 was only recently remade on the 3DS. Could they port that game to Switch too and give it the ‘Let Go’ features? It’s possible. Or will they scrap the Let’s Go idea altogether and…
After the release of Alpha Sapphire/Omega Ruby, fans of Pokémon’s 4th Generation (Dimond, Pearl and Platinum) licked their lips in anticipation that this would be next for the remake treatment. Although instead, since then Game Freak have taken the ‘Let’s Go’ route and remade the first gen again. A remake of Gen 4 is yet to happen and Game Freak will be well aware of the fan demand. We imagine it will arrive one day but it may be some time yet. It’s entirely possible, and actually quite likely, that Game Freak remake Gen 2 on the Switch, skip Gen 3 (due to them being remade not long ago on the 3DS) and then remake Gen 4. This of course is all some time away and even Gen 5 (Black and White) may be looking ready for a remake by then.
We don’t think this will happen for some time. Game Freak have plenty of catching up to do by updating 890 Pokémon models for current gen. They’re hardly going to make a larger rod for their already bruised backs. They’ve also never released a new Generation of games 12 months after a previous one. With the exception of X and Y, they do have a tendency to milk each generation. And why not? This model has worked since Red, Blue and Yellow.
So to conclude, our guess is in 2020 we’ll get an enhanced ‘Ultra’ version of Gen 8. Or if we’re very lucky we could get a Sword and Shield 2. This will certainly be better value for fans. Moving into 2021 we expect another remake, be it a ‘Let’s Go’ version of Gen 2 or perhaps a remake of Gen 4. Although if we’re honest, we think this is dependent on how popular Pokémon Go still is by this time.