At a special press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, Nintendo announced three separate ways to play Pokémon on their newest console, the Nintendo Switch. With the announcement of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu; Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee; and Pokémon Quest, Nintendo hopes to appeal to a larger swath of the gaming community. During the conference, they also teased the next installment in their iconic line of Pokémon role-playing games.
Pokémon GO is easily the most popular smartphone game of all time, with over 800 million downloads. Its success is credited largely to its accessibility. Not only is the game free, but it’s easy to understand and play. As the number of players continues to decline, however, it’s become clear that the game may not have the staying power of titles like 1998’s Pokémon Yellow, inarguably one of the most popular Pokémon games of all time. Which means the Pokémon Company needs to find new ways to permanently engage users. These new releases make a lot of sense.
“With the launch of Pokémon GO in 2016 and the global sensation that ensued, millions of new players were introduced to the world of Pokémon,” says Junichi Masuda, director at GAME FREAK inc. “For many people, Pokémon GO was their first experience with the Pokémon brand, so we have crafted these two new titles to be an accessible entry point to our core RPG series while giving our longtime fans a new way to play Pokémon.”
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee actually take a beat from Pokémon Yellow. Similar to the 1998 classic, players are followed around by either an Eevee or a Pikachu. At the same time, though, the new installments will introduce popular functionalities from Pokémon Go including throwing Pokeballs (by swinging the Joy Con controller) and the chance for players to battle each other in real time. People who have been playing Pokémon Go will also be able to transfer the Pokémon they’ve previously caught into the new games.
Pokémon Quest deviates from the other two titles in a few ways. For starters, it’s free-to-start. Secondly, it takes place on Tumblecube Island, a place where everything is shaped like, well, a cube. Players will traverse the island collecting treasures, finding food, and hunting for Pokémon battles. Players can create teams and customize their Pokémon as well. Unlike just about every other Pokémon title, Pokémon Quest will not be turn based. Instead, players will tap their screens to fill up an attack meter while their Pokémon duke it out on screen.
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee will both launch on the Nintendo Switch on November 16, 2018. The new RPG title is slated for release sometime in 2019, and Pokémon Quest is already available in the Nintendo Switch store.