A vaguely worded report is causing an uproar among Pokemon fans.
The infamous "Chinese Riddler," a supposed insider that has correctly leaked several details about recent Pokemon games, recently teased that the upcoming Pokemon Switch title would be a "reboot" of the franchise. While the insider deleted the thread a short time later, they weren't quick enough to prevent the rumor from spreading across the internet like wildfire.
Here's a screencap of the original post:
Chinese Riddler openly posted that the Pokemon Switch title will be a reboot of the franchise.— Jynx Club ルージュラだいすき (@JynxClub) March 8, 2018
However, the thread is quickly deleted. pic.twitter.com/Jet5FhWQ66
Of course, the initial source of the rumor didn't exactly explain what they meant by "reboot," so the rumor could mean just about anything. Some assume that the "reboot" means massive changes to Pokemon's established gameplay system that uses turn-based combat and overworld exploration maps. If Nintendo could successfully "reboot" the Zelda franchise with Breath of the Wild, maybe the Pokemon franchise would get a similar radical departure. Others think that a "reboot" would mean a return to the Kanto region, the setting in which Pokemon Red and Blue took place.
Most established Pokemon franchise observers assume that, if a reboot would happen, it would most likely be a soft reboot a la Pokemon Black and White, in which gameplay was similar to older games, but players could only capture new Pokemon in the game until they completed the main storyline.
There's also a question as to the validity of the source. While the Chinese Riddler correctly mentioned details about Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon like the inclusion of Team Rainbow Rocket, they also incorrectly claimed the game would feature new Alola Forms of established Pokemon. The Chinese Riddler clearly has an inside track to the Pokemon franchise, but their source isn't always accurate.
For what it's worth, Junichi Masuda, the director of the Pokemon franchise, has stated that they would never reboot the Pokemon franchise and that the familiarity that players have when picking up a new Pokemon game is one of the franchise's strengths. Of course, he made those comments three years ago, so maybe he radically changed his mind after seeing the success of Pokemon Sun and Moon and Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, both of which made minor changes to the Pokemon franchise while incorporating nearly 20 years of continuity. After all, nothing says "tear down a franchise and rebuild it" like 20 years of runaway success.
The Pokemon Switch games are expected to come out in "2018 or later." Until we get a firm announcement of some sort, we'll have to continuously hear about wild and outlandish rumors every other week or so.