Nintendo’s Next Direct Could Have a New Pokemon Announcement

The Pokemon franchise has generally kept a pretty tight schedule when dealing with the release of its mainline games. Since the move from Gen 1 to Gen 2, the core Pokemon games tend to release about three years after one another. The only exception to this is Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, which saw about four years between its release and the release of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. With this in mind, it’s starting to look like the Pokemon series might be overdue for an announcement regarding the ninth generation of games.

Lately, rumors have been swirling about the possibility of the first Nintendo Direct of 2022 and what might be in store. Since Pokemon Sword and Shield came out in the fall of 2019, and with 2022 having just started, it should be time for a new Pokemon announcement. The next Nintendo Direct would be a prime time to do it; the first Direct of the year can often set the tone for fans and tends to highlight the biggest Nintendo properties and projects that players can look forward to in the coming months.

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The Next Nintendo Direct

Still, while the first Nintendo Direct of the year does need to make major announcements, Pokemon is a property where only hardcore fans might be thinking about a new generation of games right now. Pokemon Legends: Arceus releases at the end of January, continuing the run that Gen 8 is having. If a Direct happened before then, a new announcement isn’t super likely. A Nintendo Direct that happens after the release of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, however, has a lot of potential when it comes to announcing new Pokemon content, and would seem like the perfect time to announce Gen 9 to the surprise of many fans of the series.

Even though Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl just released, and it would be on the heels of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, a new Pokemon announcement would also track for the timeline that Pokemon games tend to see. A concise release schedule has been kept for over two decades, and breaking the pace now doesn’t seem like the right move.

While this is also the first generation of games to get multiple expansions over a third option, that doesn’t mean that spin-offs like Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl or Legends: Arceus will receive the same treatment that core titles like Sword and Shield have. Pivoting away from Gen 8 could also leave the door wide open for a new game to release this year after Pokemon Legends: Arceus, and an announcement at the next Nintendo Direct would get fans hyped for Gen 9.

Some players are already focusing on Gen 9’s pseudo-legendary Pokemon and the possibility of what it is, making it clear that as time goes on more fan attention is aimed at the future of the franchise. While Pokemon: Legends Arceus will be a big step away from traditional gameplay for the series overall, its flashy new approach isn’t necessarily enough for fans that want to see the next installment in the franchise. The fact that Pokemon Sword and Shield were able to hold on to a late 2019 release date, despite being revealed in February of the same year, also suggests that Gen 9’s unveiling is still a possibility with the next Nintendo Direct.

There’s also a lot on the table for the Nintendo Switch this year that Pokemon would complement well. With Kirby and the Forgotten Land kicking off the spring season, Breath of the Wild 2 could then dominate the console’s summer, which would leave the fall and winter season wide open for the next set of Pokemon games to introduce Gen 9. This fall window, following an announcement with the next Nintendo Direct, would also put a reasonable amount of time between Pokemon Legends: Arceus and Gen 9’s flagship titles, helping to prevent any market saturation that Pokemon could otherwise run into.

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New Pokemon Release Date

There’s of course the possibility that other plans have already been made for Pokemon’s ninth generation that involves new games either releasing early next year, or waiting for the fall of 2023. A lot of games have seen their internal and public dates pushed back despite fan hype as the world continues to cope with a global pandemic. This week STALKER 2 had a major delay from its late April release date back to December 8, 2022. While massive companies like Nintendo might be able to hold onto a release date as early as this year (if one is planned), in the interest of quality, a later release date could be presented for Gen 9 of Pokemon.

An announcement about the next generation of Pokemon games is still likely to happen during a Nintendo Direct, and a release date further in the future doesn’t even completely rule out the possibility of a dedicated Pokemon Direct sometime in the coming weeks. This situation might just mean that instead of fans getting to look forward to a release date set for fall 2022, they would probably be looking at early 2023 as an alternative. Even though this might seem out of character for some, if the next Nintendo Direct announces Gen 9 for early 2023 wouldn’t necessarily be out of the norm.

The most recent generations of Pokemon games have indeed had releases later in the year, but previous generations have played around with the timing of their release. Much of Pokemon Gen 3 was released during the spring and summer months, with Gen 4 in the same position. While the introduction of worldwide releases has helped to streamline how games are delivered to the public, seeing a release date outside of fall was common in regions apart from Japan before Pokemon X and Y.

It might not be the highest probability, but it is worth keeping in mind as fans try and anticipate the next Nintendo Direct. A new Pokemon announcement is likely to be on the horizon, with a release date that could surprise fans one way or another. Given all the other rumors currently surrounding plans about Nintendo IPs, the next Direct could also be packed full of games like a new open-world Mario Kart title, and some key indie reveals as well

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Malachi Lyonsdove (215 Articles Published)

Malachi jumped into video games with the family consoles he played on as a kid. Classic cartridges like Super Mario Bros 3, Aladdin, and Mortal Kombat were almost always loaded in. He continued his gaming journey on Nintendo systems with the Gameboy Advance where he spent countless hours waiting for streetlights on nighttime car rides. The GBA helped to introduce Malachi to games that he loved like the Pokemon Trading Card Game, Pokemon Crystal, and Pokemon Emerald, as well as the Power Rangers. As he got older Malachi’s love for games and storytelling grew with series like Halo. While he enjoys the mechanics and gameplay of newer titles like Destiny 2, The Witcher 3, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, the experiences are what keep him engaged. Malachi looks forward to the rich worlds and deep stories that can be told in the ever-growing games industry and is excited to see how unique ideas translate as hardware gets better.

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