In just a few short days, the final part of the Scarlet & Violet DLC will be released, marking the end of updates for the games. This epilogue will focus on the land of Kitakami and is not expected to feature any new areas like The Teal Mask and The Indigo Disk. With the release of the Epilogue, this brings us to an interesting time in terms of Pokémon news.
There is now no new main series game on the horizon, although fans have speculated a second round of DLC for Scarlet & Violet. That has me thinking; what’s next? Pokémon has constantly been releasing new games and we never have to wait too long for news. However, in order to properly speculate about what’s next, let’s take a look back at previous trends in the past nine generations.
Pokémon games in the early generations
Starting with the 2nd generation games (Gold & Silver), a 3rd enhanced version was introduced that would change up a few things, but overall was very similar to the originals. For example, in Pokémon Crystal, the story focused on Suicune instead of Ho-Oh/Lugia, certain Pokémon and Trainer locations could be moved, new characters could be introduced, the list goes on. These 3rd versions are largely seen as the definitive version and are largely loved by fans for the updates that are made.
The 3rd and 4th generations followed suit, with two base games releasing and a 3rd updated version being released later on. The 3rd and 4th generations also introduced remakes, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, which revisited the Kanto region and reimagined the region on the Game Boy Advance. The art style was similar to Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald and had brand-new areas and updated mechanics but was largely the same as the originals. Generation 4 continued the trend, with Platinum releasing as the 3rd version of the Sinnoh games. HeartGold and SoulSilver, a remake of the 2nd Gen games, was announced afterwards and again used the same engine as the Sinnoh region games.
Pokémon sequels, enhancements, and DLC
Generation 5 threw everyone for a loop, when it was revealed that instead of a 3rd version, a sequel would be released instead. This was the first time since Generation 1 that an enhanced 3rd version wasn’t the followup game, as well as the first (and only) time a true sequel was released. Pokémon X and Y would be up next, the only games to this date to not get either an enhanced version or a sequel. Although it was largely rumored that Pokémon Z would release and focus on Zygarde, it never came to fruition and thus, the many mysteries of Kalos stayed hidden.
The Alola games, Sun & Moon, introduced TWO new enhanced versions, with each game getting its own updates. It continued the norm of 3rd versions by featuring new Pokémon and a new storyline. However, Sword & Shield would not have enhanced versions and would instead have paid DLC that would add any new major content to the games. This was continued by the generation 9 games, which as we know also have paid DLC that’s contents would’ve likely been featured in a 3rd version.
Just when fans think they have it figured out, we get surprised. Many fans speculated that Pokémon Gray would release and feature Kyurem, only to be blindsided with a full-fledged sequel showcasing a fusion of Kyurem and Reshiram/Zekrom. A generation later, after being sure that Z would be revealed, Ruby and Sapphire remakes were shown off instead.
The general trend for a while was a remake every two generations, and for the past five generations, each one lasted around two to three years before the next installment was released. However, the past two gens have been anything but normal. Generation 8 had TWO remakes, a reimagining of the original Kanto games in the style of Pokémon GO and a faithful remake of the Sinnoh games.
There was also a brand-new entry, a prequel of the Sinnoh games featuring the Hisui region and introducing brand-new mechanics to the series. Pokémon Legends: Arceus redefined what a Pokémon game could be, everything from battles to capture methods to the region was completely different. The focus was still to capture Pokémon, but now you were able to freely explore these new areas. The story shifted away from the standard eight gyms/evil team/Elite 4/Champion formula and tried something new. It was experimental, it was new, and it worked. Legends Arceus is one of the most well-received Pokémon entries and has fans clamoring for more.
What’s next for Pokémon?
We’ve established that Game Freak and Pokémon will basically do whatever they want, but there are some safe bets and some very wild but potential guesses. One of the rumors going around, based on easter eggs in Scarlet & Violet, is that Unova remakes will be coming sooner rather than later. However, based on the reception to Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, I don’t think Pokémon wants to risk a remake right now. Besides, I believe it’s too early for another remake, and going off patterns, there’s never more than one remake on the same console. Another idea floating around is Black & White 3, continuing the story that began 14 years ago. This is less likely than remakes, but considering the release of BW2, anything could happen with the Unovan games.
Another big wish from the fanbase is another entry in the Legends series. Popular ideas online are a return to Johto with a game focused on Celebi or a Unova entry that centers around the Original Dragon. This is purely speculation, but based off sales and reception to Legends Arceus, another entry could be in the works.
As for me? I’ve really wanted a true sequel to one of the first three generations, one set decades after the originals with the region transformed, similar to how Kanto was in generation 2. I’ve also thought about a Legends game set in the realms of the Ultra Beasts from Alola. The world of Pokémon has so much potential and I wish it would be showcased more.
If I’m being entirely honest though, I do hope that they slow down and take their time with the next entries. They’re more than capable of creating a great game and releasing a polished product. At this point I hope they wait for the Switch successor and release any future games on the upcoming console.
The Pokémon Company has never been known to do what’s expected and could very well throw us all for a loop by releasing more content for the Paldea games. They could announce a sequel to any of the previous games, they could announce a remake of Colosseum or XD, they could announce generation 10, or they could announce nothing at all! Anything could happen, and that’s what’s so exciting. Speculating is always fun but finally being able to see what’s coming next is so satisfying and begins a new kind of speculation. Time will tell just what is up their sleeve, but we won’t have to wait too long. Pokémon Day is right around the corner!
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