Can the Pokémon Let’s Go games and core series exist together?
Last week saw two big Pokémon announcements. Firstly that we are set to return to Kanto in a reimagining of Pokémon Yellow when Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee! release this November. The second big announcement was that these are not the ‘core’ Pokémon RPG games that were teased at last years E3. Those games are set to release late next year.
Now that it seems two RPG series are being developed simultaneously I thought it would be a good idea to look at how these parallel series could effect the future of the franchise.
Let’s Go Series
With Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee! Game Freak looks to be creating a more accessible game for players to experience a Pokémon RPG without having to worry about the deep gameplay systems that the core series has developed.
These games will take players back to Kanto in, what looks to be, a reimagining of Pokémon Yellow that incorporates elements of Pokémon Go to make the game more recognisable to the mobile audience. Although many hardcore fans of the series have criticised this casual approach it appears Game Freak are making the perfect game to introduce players to the RPG series.
Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee! will focus on Kanto and the original 150 Pokémon however, if these titles are successful, I would expect to see more games under the Let’s Go banner that are based around other regions and Pokémon generations.
A continuation of the Let’s Go concept could provide players with a more casual series that allows them to explore an RPG style Pokémon game without having to worry about some of the more complex features found in the core games.
Long term fans of the Pokémon games shouldn’t be concerned over the Let’s Go games however. The series is established enough with a hardcore fan base that Game Freak would be foolish to abandon the tried and trusted formula. If anything the Let’s Go games could provide Game Freak with the perfect opportunity to move the core series in a more series direction now that younger fans have the Let’s Go games to enjoy.
Given time the core series could even grow to rival other AAA RPG games in terms of scope and depth. Now that the series has transitioned over to the Nintendo Switch, Game Freak will have a lot more power available to them when creating these games. Although still not as powerful as the PS4 and Xbox One developers have managed to achieve immersive open worlds on the Switch, just look at Breath of the Wild and Skyrim.
I wouldn’t expect next years core game to be this giant leap but its definitely something that we could see in the future while the Let’s Go games can retain the more linear world that is classic for the series.
2019 core game
Now that it has been confirmed that the Let’s Go games are not part of the core series many fans have speculated over what we might see in that 2019 game.
The general theory is that we will see a new region and generation of Pokémon however I feel this might be sort of true. With Game Freak also releasing the Let’s Go games this year which sees a brand new 3D Kanto I can see elements of this world replicated in the 2019 game.
Rumours floating around were that the new games would see Kanto after a natural disaster that transforms the region and sees new land masses incorporated alongside the altered Kanto. This would make a lot of sense as it would feel like a new region while still allowing Game Freak to use already made assets to save time. It would also then provide players of the Let’s Go games a solid transition point where they can see how the world they just explored has changed.
The change in topography would also allow Game Freak a narrative platform to introduce new Pokémon to this changed Kanto that could be the 8th generation.
I also expect several new features that are being used in the Let’s Go games to transition over to this 2019 core game. I would be shocked if following Pokémon don’t make the cut in this new game. Fans have wanted this feature to return for years and now its in the Let’s Go games I think its a feature to stay. I also think the the motion controls to catch Pokémon will also feature in this new game. I do think that wild Pokémon battle will return but motion controls could be an optional feature to throw Poké Balls. After all most AAA Switch exclusives have had optional motion controls included to make the most of the Joy-Con’s capabilities.
If the 2019 game does use a transformed Kanto then I would love to see Johto also included to help build out the world and make the biggest Pokémon game to date. The development of a HD Johto could then be used in future Let’s Go games to allow fans that want a more casual experience to play that region and capture those 2nd generation Pokémon.
Now that we know know we are getting the Pokémon Let’s Go games this year and the next core title in 2019 I wonder if we are seeing the foundations for future titles. Are Game Freak now creating two RPG series, one for the existing hardcore player and one for more casual fans? Or are Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee! one off titles just to build a player base on the Switch?
We likely will have to wait at least a year to find out some of these question but for now let me know in the comments what you think.