It's a good time to be a Pokemon fan. The ongoing celebrations of the franchise's 20th anniversary have shown no sign of slowing down, the property is expanding with unusual new games like Pokken Tournament and Great Detective Pikachu, the launch of the hotly-anticipated "augmented reality" smartphone app Pokemon Go looms in the not-too-distant-future and the most powerful movie studios on the planet are fighting over the rights to a live-action Pokemon movie.
And the main series? Still going strong. Nintendo has the official box-art and Starter Pokemon options for the newest game installments of the franchise - Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon - along with a confirmed release date of November 18th, 2016.
The announcement arrives exactly two years to the day that the previous titles (traditionally, Pokemon games are released in two-part editions on the same date) Pokemon Ruby and Pokemon Sapphire were similarly made official. While a Holiday 2016 date was already widely expected and the titling (Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon) was already known, the biggest news of today's announcement was the debut of the three available Starter Pokemon: Rowlet (Grass/Flying Type), a ball-shaped creature resembling a baby owl, Litten (Fire Type), a cat, and Popplio (Water Type), a seal/sea lion-esque creature.
Additionally, the trailer revealed the games' setting (or at least one setting) as the new Hawaiian/Polynesian-themed "Aloha Region", promising a tropical spin on this particular Pokemon journey complete with beaches, palm trees, beachside towns and what looks to be an inactive(?) volcano as territories to explore and hunt for new Pokemon in. Additionally, reports from the special Pokemon-dedicated Nintendo Direct noted an abundance of vehicles in the game (some of which appeared to be operated by the Pokemon themselves) and the return of skin-tone selection options for character-creation. There appears to include a greater variety than previously available in other installments, in that respect.
Here are the official details on the starters for Pokemon Sun and Moon:
Category: Grass Quill Pokémon
Weight: 3.3 lbs.
Starting Move: Leafage
The first of the potential partners is the highly adaptable Grass Quill Pokémon, Rowlet. This Pokémon can fly silently through the skies, sneaking up on its opponent without being noticed. It can attack its opponents using powerful kicks, and it can also attack from a distance using the razor-sharp leaves that form part of its feathers. Rowlet can survey its environment and turn its neck nearly 180 degrees from front to back, so it can see directly behind itself. When in battle, Rowlet turns its head to face its Trainer when waiting for instructions.
Category: Fire Cat Pokémon
Weight: 9.5 lbs.
Starting Move: Ember
The cool-headed Fire Cat Pokémon, Litten, is the next choice for a first-partner Pokémon. Litten’s fur is rich in oils and is immensely flammable. It constantly grooms itself by licking its coat, collecting loose fur into balls. It then ignites these hairballs to create fireball attacks. When the time comes for Litten to molt, it burns off all of its fur in one glorious blaze.
Category: Sea Lion Pokémon
Weight: 16.5 lbs.
Starting Move: Water Gun
The third possibility is the acrobatic Sea Lion Pokémon, Popplio. Popplio can create balloons made of water from its nose and utilize them to create a variety of different strategies and attacks in battle. This Pokémon is better at moving in the water than on land, and can swim at speeds over 25 mph. On land, it uses the elasticity of the balloons it creates to perform jumps and acrobatic stunts.
Of particular interest to longtime Pokemon fans was accompanying news that the Poke Center and Poke Mart stores would be recieving updates, and that the games will continue to be compatible with the Pokemon Bank. Additionally, not only will players be able to carry over Pokemon captured in X, Y, Omega Ruby and Alpha Saphire; but also those caught on the recently-released Virtual Console versions of the original three titles in the series, Red, Blue and Yellow.
Left unsaid (unsurprisingly) was any news of what the impending release of the next Nintendo console generation, codenamed The NX, means for the future of the series. While very little is actually known about the NX itself, it's expected to be an upgrade to both Nintendo's home-console business model and also the handheld realm where Pokemon has always traditionally staked its prime territory. With the official reveal of the new hardware delayed until early 2017, speculation has begun to run rampant; ranging from rumors of a console/handheld hybrid to theories about the return of the cartridge format.
Pokemon Sun & Moon will release on November 18, 2016.
Source: The Pokemon Company