This morning’s Pokémon Direct was a nostalgia driven piece of reverence for the series as a whole, getting trainers from every portion of the series’ 20 year history misty-eyed from a well done look at what truly makes the games what they are. Starting with recreation of the classic Game Boy opening, this time featuring CEO and President of the Pokémon Company Tsunekazu Ishihara in place of Red, we were then treated to a look at a wall adorned with a load of Pokémon games, systems, plushes, and other collectibles. As he began the presentation, he highlight the 20th anniversary celebration of Red and Green versions before reflecting on the progression to the 3DS’ graphics and segueing into a great look at just what makes Pokémon, Pokémon.

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While it highlighted training, trading, battling and connecting with each other, the obvious star was the official reveal of Pokémon Sun and Moon. The new games did not receive a great deal of attention comparable to what was shown for Pokémon X and Y’s direct years ago. What was shown were quick shots of concept art and other works in progress, and when taken piece by piece they all show at least a glimpse of what we have in store for us this holiday season.

One of the first things to stand out was the art of a Pokémon staple: the Pokémon Center. Sporting a rounded design to better embody the Poké Ball aesthetic, the health restoring center has never looked more sleek. More ambitious is a shot shown later of what appears to be a mobile Pokémon Center. While vehicles are nothing new to the series these could serve a similar function to the occasional ‘doctor’ trainers that could be found in more recent titles, allowing for easier access to healing mid-route. These could potentially be taken a step further, perhaps being contactable while out in the world for a full healing anytime, anywhere.

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Other car and truck concepts were shown as well, one of which features a group of people clearly visible both in the interior and the bed. Could we be seeing trainers road tripping through this new region? Perhaps this could serve as a new, pre-Fly form of fast travel through select routes, giving the series new angles to its long-held formula.

Another new element was what appears to be a motel themed to Slaking. While luxurious hotels have been seen in past games this lineup of small abodes could be as simple as a passing piece of scenery or may serve as a means of meeting other traveling trainers. While the Pokémon Centers have been implied to be where trainers relax after a long day, the idea of a Pokémon hostel could highlight the idea of globetrotting and point to a more connected Pokemon world.

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Later shots of concept art show what could be the interior of either the Pokémon Center or a separate storefront all together. While sops in centers is nothing new this particular one appears to be some sort of cafe, with a central logo flanked by two chalkboard menus. Coffee has had a place in multiple Nintendo titles, from the quick breaks of Animal Crossing’s Roost to the detailed reminiscence accompanying EarthBound’s Mr. Saturn coffee. While it could be as simple as a consumable item, it would be interesting to see it as a means of reflecting on past battles and captures.

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The most eye-catching piece to me was what appears to be a hybrid Gym/hotel resort themed to Water-type Pokémon. With banners for Spheal, Staryu, Chinchou, Horsea, Magikarp and Krabby along with an adorable Horsea fountain it’s a nice angle for a Gym to take. With the focus on Pokémon from past generations, these could be placeholders for now, perhaps being updated once newer Pokémon are revealed.

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Speaking of, a look at wireframe for one particular Pokémon was shown. While it lacked any means of identifying it beyond body shop it appears to be a Flying type with some sort of upturned head-crest and a long beak. It may be some sort of woodpecker, a type of bird that hasn’t been seen in other generations, and as an early reveal it’s easy to assume it may be the early common ‘bird’ ala Pidgey or Fletchling.

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Continuing the idea of connectivity, it was announced that Sun and Moon will feature two more languages than X and Y in the form of simplified and traditional Chinese. This takes the language count up to nine and really stresses the importance a worldwide simultaneous release for the series.

Closing out the Direct was a look at tomorrow’s Red, Blue, and Yellow releases on the 3DS eShop. Stressing how starting in the third generation of games the ability to transport Pokemon forward to future games was an important development, Ishihara lamented the inability to transfer Pokémon from the original Game Boy versions forward. With these new releases, however, they have been able to solve this problem and announced they will be compatible with Pokémon Bank! What this could mean in regards to movesets, the Special stat, and IV’s remains to be seen, but it’s an exciting time to be a Pokémon fan and look towards the new games coming later this year. Train on, everybody!

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Written by Ricky Berg

When he isn’t writing for Nintendo Wire, Ricky’s anticipating the next Kirby, Fire Emblem, or if the stars ever align, Mother 3 to be released. Till then he’ll have the warm comfort of Super Smash Bros. to keep him going.

Ricky Berg