Go out with a bang.
As the release date for Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon quickly approaches (ten days from this post), more details are pouring in fast and heavy. Most recently, we learned that a super team of villains known as Team Rainbow Rocket, led by Giovanni, will be in the game. In the trailer, Giovanni had a Mewtwo (which certainly says something about his power as a trainer) and it was revealed that players would be able to catch classic legendary Pokemon of their own via Ultra Wormholes. Very exciting news indeed for old school fans of the series that have an appreciation for the nostalgia surrounding Team Rocket, and classic Pokemon like Mewtwo.
Ultra Sun and Moon marks the end of an era, though. This will be the last Pokemon game to appear on the DS/3DS family of consoles. Starting with Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, which released in North America back in April 0f 2007, the series has evolved immensely. Diamond and Pearl split up special and physical attacks from being associated with specific Pokemon types, which made loads of Pokemon more viable and forever changed the way players created their teams. Each generation added similarly noteworthy additions and mechanics that has kept the series in the limelight and, obviously, has removed any doubt that the franchise was a fad. That was, of course, a feeling that some might have had going from the GBA to the DS.
Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon has the honor of being the very last game before a new era begins on the Nintendo Switch. No one other than Game Freak and Nintendo knows how different the Switch’s take on Pokemon will be. It could be really similar, or it could be a dramatic departure. If the latter is the case, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will be the last time fans have an experience like they have grown so comfortable with on the DS and 3DS.
If you’re going to go out, it should be with a bang, right? So far, the direction Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is heading in is encouraging. They are throwing in nearly all of the legendaries, all of the villains we love to beat on, and are even doing something they haven’t done before in adding brand new Pokemon mid-generation via new Ultra Beasts. Hopefully that’s not all though.
If Pokemon is due for some kind of “reset” for the Switch version, let’s get weird with it. We’d love to see new Mega-Evolutions, Alolan forms, regular evolutions of old, outdated Pokemon, a way to return to old regions, and more. This is the final meta and experience for the millions and millions of gamers who have enjoyed the DS/3DS games. Whatever state Game Freak decides to leave the series in with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will be the final culmination of a decade of work. Not everyone is going to be able to grab a Switch prior to the 2018 version of Pokemon, so Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will be all those people have Pokemon-wise for as long as they are unable to upgrade.
It’s certainly possible that the impact of this will be minimized and we’re getting misty eyed for no reason. If the Switch version decides to pick up where Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon leaves off by not messing with the gameplay formula much, and allowing Pokemon Bank transfers, then it’s not as big of a deal. If drastic changes are made though and/or the DS/3DS versions of the game are totally left behind, we’re probably looking at a friendly split like what’s often seen in the Super Smash community. Plenty of people enjoy and compete with the newest version of Super Smash, but there is still a passionate community that hangs onto Melee. Players that take competitive Pokemon seriously, follow communities such as Smogon, and have sunken hundreds of hours and even days into making the perfect competitive team, may not be ready to just pick up and leave completely if the Switch versions marks a change in direction.
The game is only ten days away, so everything is presumably set and ready to go. All we can hope now is that Game Freak didn’t hold back, and that this will be the best version of Pokemon to date. There will be more news in the coming days, so the picture will get clearer as we approach the Nov 17. release date.