The annual "leak" season for the Pokemon franchise has officially begun.
Earlier today, a 4chan user posted pictures of what they claimed were the Starter Pokemon for the upcoming untitled Pokemon Switch game. The pictures showed several pages of what appeared to be framed concept art, each stamped as "Confidential." According to the alleged leak, the new Fire-Type starter is a pony-esque Pokemon that will evolve into a Fire/Steel type, the Grass-Type Pokemon is a bear that eventually evolves into a Grass/Electric-Type Pokemon, and the Water-Type Pokemon is a strange Pokemon based on coral.
The thread was quickly deleted, although images of the artwork were preserved and re-posted on Twitter.
RUMOR ALERT: Gen 8 starters for Pokémon. The cave bear is rumored to evolve into Grass/Electric typing, Pony into Fire/Steel, and Coral Pure Water. Thread mysteriously got deleted and images weren’t linked anywhere after reversing which is hype. Could this be Gen 7 leaks all over pic.twitter.com/dRDzEa3rIG— SkinnySnubbull (@SkinnySnubbull) January 31, 2018
Of course, as with all leaks, there's plenty of reasons to be skeptical. It's a bit odd that the leaker chose to frame confidential concept art and display it. There's also debate as to the grammar of the Japanese words in the concept art, but WWG's Japanese translator says he doesn't see any issues.
There's a long history of Pokemon "leaks," some of which are actually accurate. While there are tons of fake leaks posted every single year, especially when a new game is on the horizon, there's been a few times where real information actually got on the Internet. In 2016, concept art showing the fully evolved forms of all three Alolan Starter Pokemon were leaked onto 4chan, although fans didn't put much stock into them until a trailer revealed a character seen in one of the images. Concept art of Greninja also got onto the Internet before its official reveal, as did the names and typing of several Gen 5 Pokemon.
We won't know whether these leaks are accurate or not until The Pokemon Company officially announces the next games and starts revealing new information. There's not even a guarantee that a new Pokemon game will come out this year, but that won't stop fans from looking for as much new information as they can. So, what do you think? Do these leaks look real or are Pokemon fans wasting their time?