Last year, at the height of the NX frenzy, Eurogamer published a report about a supposed Pokemon game in development for what we now know to be the Nintendo Switch. The original report, in a nutshell, read something like this: "Multiple sources tell Eurogamer the game is already well into development, will launch in 2017, and currently holds the codename of Pokémon Stars." Needless to say the internet lost its collective mind, and our hopes were soaring.
Now that Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokemon project has been officially announced, and we know that we'll be lucky to see it in 2018, the question arises: What the Hell happened to "Pokemon Stars?" Was this simply a tech demo or proof of concept that got leaked? Was there even a Pokemon Stars to begin with? This morning, Eurogamer published a follow-up report that offers a few plausible explanations.
Eurogamer cites strong Nintendo Switch sales as the primary reason for Stars' absence. Pokemon Stars was an arrow Nintendo wanted in its quiver in case it needed to urgently boost sales. Since its launch in March, the Switch has been selling incredibly well, surpassing 10 million units sold in its first nine months on shelves. A quick-hit version of Sun & Moon was not needed, and the 3DS is still proving to be a lucrative platform after the launch of Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon.
This gives Nintendo and Game Freak the breathing room they need to craft an experience from the ground up solely for the Nintendo Switch. "While Stars had been planned and worked towards while Sun and Moon were in production," the article reads, "it never represented a true leap towards what a Pokémon designed for significantly more powerful hardware might be."
"This had always been an issue, and one which would certainly have dampened excitement - both for its launch on Switch and for Switch itself, getting a fairly straightforward port of a year-old game instead of a fresher experience."
Be patient, dear ones. We are going to get the Pokemon game on Switch that we've all been waiting for, but Game Freak is going to make sure that it's the right game for the right time. If that means a late 2018 or early 2019 launch, so be it. There are currently over 700 confirmed Nintendo Switch games either launched or in the works, so we'll have plenty to play until then.