Pokemon is the quintessential gaming franchise, having graced shop shelves and television screens for well over 20 years. A world without ‘Pokemon’ or ‘Pikachu’ not apart of the global lexicon is, fortunately, a non-existent nightmare. When the President of the Pokemon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, appeared in last E3’s Nintendo Spotlight, officially announcing that Pokemon Switch was in development, ‘Poke’ Trainers around the world went wild. The rumour mill, immediately, started turning; Poketubers, both big and small, came out in droves to speculate and pontificate. And now, Pokemania is in full effect.
There are a few movements in popular culture that drive the global population into a state of wild frenzy: Beyonce, Star Wars and Pokemon being the most infamous. On the 30th May 2018 at 2.00 am BST, I was locked to my phone, unable to tear my eyes from Twitter, I bounced between Chris Tapsell (writer at Eurogamer) and Takashi Mochizuki’s (journalist at Wall Street Journal) feeds. My fingers aching under the agonising task of liking, retweeting and refreshing their feeds. In those moments, I completely indulged my inner ‘Maniac’ and it was thrilling. With the initial announcement of Pokemon Quest (out now), the flood of hype and anticipation began to fade. The mood dampeners started to set, then it happened. The official trailer confirming Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee. I was blown away. The gameplay looked better than all of my expectations, seeing Pikachu and Eevee in high definition was enough to bring tears to eyes. But, like most other ‘Veteran’ trainers, I was sceptical about any ‘Pokemon Go’ functionality, the very notion, enough to make any ‘Fan’ physically sick. Yet, they nailed it. The implementation of GO’s capturing mechanic looks fun, unique and has the potential to change a core aspect of the game. However, while I was filled with jubilation and childlike wonder, many trainers were baying for blood.
Gamers are a passionate breed of people when they like a product, they’ll sing, dance and dress up in cosplay. On the other hand, a gamer filled with hate is a force to be reckoned with. Insults will fly, mothers will be cursed, your intelligence will be questioned and volleys of racist, sexist and homophobic slurs will soar through the endless sky of the internet. Unfortunately, many gamers were not filled with jollies after Pokemon Media Event, they were filled with rage. These ‘Let’s Go’ games were not what they expected. Even with Junichi Masuda attempting to satiate their blossoming fury, revealing that a “Core” game was being developed for release in the latter half of 2019; there was still an outcry from distort fans, this wasn’t what they wanted. And now, Nintendo, Pokemon Company and Game Freak have a house divided.
With fans across the world eager, hungry and drowning in expectation. And if Let’s Go is found wanting, then teasing the next Generation of Pokemon will not be enough to satisfy their fury.
But, I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see!