The owners of the Pokemon franchise have filed a mysterious new trademark over in Japan.
Earlier today, Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures Inc. jointly filed a trademark for the phrase "Ultra Shiny," with no other context provided. The three companies are the joint owners of the Pokemon franchise, so most are assuming that the new phrase has something to do with Pokemon.
The trademark covers a wide range of potential use, including video games, cards, merchandise, television, and even songs, so it's unclear exactly what the new phrase is related to.
Fans will be excited because a new trademark implies some sort of movement within the Pokemon franchise, which has largely been silent since last fall's release of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. We know that Game Freak is developing a new Pokemon game for the Nintendo Switch, and everyone is hoping that it comes out sometime this year. However, since the trademark doesn't actually contain "Pokemon" in it, it's unlikely that "Ultra Shiny" is the name of a new game.
Of course, there's tons of speculation as to what "Ultra Shiny" could mean. The most recent set of Pokemon games have focused on the mysterious Ultra Space, an extradimensional world filled with strange Pokemon classified as Ultra Beasts. It's possible that this new trademark is somehow related to the Ultra Beasts, which means that they could be a centerpiece of the Pokemon franchise moving forward.
The most obvious inference is that this has something to do with Shiny Pokemon, rare Pokemon with alternate colorations. Shiny Pokemon are popular among hardcore Pokemon fans (and have been used by Pokemon Go to great success in recent months) but it's hardly a new feature that would rock the Pokemon franchise to its core. However, Japan calls Shiny Pokemon "Different Color" Pokemon, so it's not a guarantee that the Pokemon franchise is about to introduce a new type of Shiny Pokemon.
Other possibilities include a new type of Pokemon trading card, or even a full-blown Pokemon TCG expansion. Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures Inc. haven't filed trademarks related to past expansions, so that seems a little unlikely.
We should also keep in mind that not every trademark sees the light of day. For instance, we saw a trademark related to a new Pokemon Rumble game earlier this year, but haven't heard any news since.
What do you think "Ultra Shiny" means? Let us know in the comment section!