A Nintendo Direct is allegedly coming later this month, and fans are already speculating about what big announcements Nintendo could pull off. One popular source of speculation is that Nintendo could announce the upcoming Pokemon game for the Nintendo Switch, which would probably launch Switch sales into overdrive in anticipation.
Last week, we reported on an easily debunked rumor that the next Pokemon games had been "leaked" via the European Union's trademark website. A troll posted hastily Photoshopped logos for "Pokemon 0" and "Pokemon 1" along with screenshots purporting to show EUIPO listings for both games that had then been removed. However, the listings used in the forgery were actually for Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, as evidenced by when Nintendo had allegedly filed the copyrights.
Still, many Nintendo fans are expecting a big Pokemon announcement. And while it's likely we'll get an announcement of US/European versions of the Detective Pikachu 3DS game, we probably won't get a "main series" Pokemon announcement for the Nintendo Switch. Here's the reasons why:
An Unrevealed Mythical Pokemon
When Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon came out last fall, dataminers discovered a new Mythical Pokemon hidden in the code: Zeraora, a new Electric-Type Pokemon that resembles a bipedal cat. To date, the Pokemon Company hasn't officially announced or revealed Zeraora and appears to be holding the new Pokemon back for their annual Mythical Pokemon distribution.
While the Pokemon Company is breaking tradition left and right these days (given that Zeraora is the first Mythical Pokemon to be added mid-generation,) it seems very unlikely that Nintendo would announce a new Pokemon game before officially revealing Zeraora. Zeraora will likely be an "exclusive" Pokemon for Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, so it makes sense to reveal it before moving on to the next set of games. Even in years that we've gotten both a new Mythical Pokemon AND a new Pokemon game, the Pokemon Company typically reveals the new Mythical Pokemon first and announces a new game afterwards.
Let's take a look back at some of the recent Mythical Pokemon released in the same years as a new Pokemon game:
2014: Diancie announced on March 2014, released October 2014. Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire announced May 2014, released November 2014.
2016: Volcanion announced on December 2015 and released in October 2016. Pokemon Sun and Moon announced February 2016, released November 2016.
2017: Marshadow announced on April 2017, released October 2017. Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon announced June 6, 2017, released November 2017.
A Pokemon Direct, Not a Nintendo Direct
The other obvious reason why we won't get a big Pokemon announcement in January's Nintendo Direct is that Pokemon games typically get their own Direct announcement. Both Pokemon Sun and Moon and Pokemon X & Y (which launched their respective generations) got their own exclusive Pokemon Directs instead of being slotted into a Nintendo Direct with other game announcements. While Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon was part of a Nintendo Direct, sequel games and remakes don't typically get the pomp and circumstance as the launch of a new generation of games.
A new Pokemon game, especially for the Nintendo Switch, would understandably dominate the gaming news cycle and probably overshadow any other game announced during the Nintendo Direct. If Nintendo is announcing their releases for the next few months, the last thing they want is to put players' eyes on an even bigger game that likely won't be out until the end of the year (or even in 2019).
If a Nintendo Direct is coming later this month, there's still a lot that gamers should look forward to. Just don't expect a Pokemon announcement....at least not for a few more months.