25th February 2012; By Patrick
Over the last week or so, Junichi Masuda has been promoting an upcoming announcement in the Pokémon Franchise, saying that it was huge and everyone needed to tune in to a Japanese TV show titled "Pokémon Smash" to hear about this latest news announcement. And big news it was. Masuda announced Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2 -- direct sequels to last year's Black and White. The two titles will launch in June of this year (for Japan) for the Nintendo DS. Here are the top five reasons why this is a bad idea.
! SPOILER ALERT ! This feature includes a minor spoiler on the story of the original games.
Won't a direct sequel confuse the casual fanbase?
Okay, so we're going to start with the weakest reason first and get it out of the way. The way I see it, Pokémon has two types of fans: the hardcore fans that play it for the strategy and collecting, and the more casual fan who plays it because it is cute (or some other trivial reason). For the former -- those that follow the series -- there will not be much confusion, as there is definitely enough lead time between announcement and release to establish the difference. When seen on store shelves, however, unless Nintendo does something to drastically differentiate the boxes, there will presumably be problems. Heck, when Black and White launched in the states, I heard more than one person claim in a store that they already owned Diamond or Pearl, so they obviously didn't care about Black or White because they had their DS Pokémon fix. This brings me to my next point...
Wait, the DS?!
I'm definitely not the only person here to be confused by this. We're coming up on the one-year anniversary of the Nintendo 3DS' launch worldwide, right? Black and White came out in late 2010 in Japan, yes? And finally, didn't Pokémon Team get some of the first-ever access to 3DS development kits and tools? Then why is this game not on the 3DS?! Actually, now that I think about it, the only 3DS game developed by Pokémon Team is Pokédex 3D, which shows hardly any signs of being worked on for over a month or two! Everyone had assumed that the next major releases in the series would be Pokémon Grey/Gray on the 3DS, and given the camera work in Black and White, this seemed highly logical! Actually, speaking of which...
What about Pokémon Grey?
For years now, Pokémon fans have known the drill: new Pokémon games come in sets of three. We got Red/Blue, then Yellow. We got Gold/Silver, then Crystal. We got Ruby/Sapphire, then Emerald. We got Diamond/Pearl, then Platinum. We got Black/White, then...Black/White 2?! What is there to actually gain from creating a sequel-by-numbers, instead of just creating the third game? The third game traditionally let you experience a mix of the previous two game's stories, while adding in new environments. What is the harm in doing that with the Unova region. Anyone? What is this going to be, then? 5 years later? I find that hard to imagine, especially given the way that Black and White's story went. That's actually a good point too...
What could they build a sequel on?
As contrived and weird as the story of Pokémon Black and White was, I don't feel like there is any real way to continue it well. The only thing I could think of would be to bring back N and show his life after the game's ending, but I really don't see that as viable either. This brings me to a good sub-point: does anyone still truly play Pokémon just for the story? I know people who buy the new games for the new Pokémon, I know people who buy the new games for the latest online features, and I know some who buy them for the new region and adventure (like me). Just because I buy them for that, does not mean that I enjoy sitting through pages and pages of text about how Arceus created everything, yet somehow Reshiram and Zekrom are more powerful. Actually, with those two being the Legendaries for Black and White...
What about the Pokémon?
Seriously? The way I first heard the news, with "upcoming Legendaries to be announced", I figured they were adding in a whole new set of Pokémon. This does not appear to be the case, however. In fact, based on the only real teaser images we've seen, it looks as if the legendary for BOTH games will be Kyurem, just different forms of it. Not only does that make me wonder why they didn't just throw together a third game if there was going to be just one main Legendary, it made me realize that by other Legendaries, they probably mean ones that the Pokémon community already knows about. Pokémon such as Meloetta, who have yet to be officially released, are already widely talked about and used thanks to its presence in the Black and White game files. With no new Pokémon to add, this will be another first for brand new main-series games, and even though I complain about how many Pokémon there are, I'm not entirely sure I like it.
Well, those are my opinions on this strange announcement. What do you think? Do you agree with all five points, or are you resolute that this is the best thing that Pokémon Company and Game Freak could have ever done? Let us know!