The Actual News:
While it’s not officially “Pokémon Day” in the US, it IS “Pokémon Day” in Korea! … and I guess Japan as well. This means that a new Pokémon Presents has been released worldwide! So it gives me a chance to take a look and review what was announced today! HUZZAH!
First off, here is the Pokémon Presents 2021.2.27, Korean edition.
Oh… you don’t speak Korean? Fine, here’s the English one:
HOLY CRACKERS! There’s a lot here to unpack….
First off, I love how international the intro video was. Nice to see Korea representing Gen 5 outright with Black & White and B2&W2; it’s worth pointing out that Gen 5 was the first generation that brought Korean compatibility to all versions of the game. That is to say, while there WERE Gen 4 games in Korean, you couldn’t trade Pokémon between Korean Gen 4 and other Gen 4 games, but Gen 5 broke that barrier down. This also happened with Gen 7—Sun & Moon—and Chinese. Korean was also represented in the “#Jump” portion, with the Magikarp Jump mobile game. Finally, I love how they have to point out that Gen 1 and Gen 3 games were NOT released in Korea (*국내 미발매), like when Ishihara raised up Japanese copies of Red and Green. On the flip side, when Gen 1 was released on the 3DS Virtual Console a few years back, Korean players at least had a chance to choose between the English and Japanese versions.
Anyways, let’s cover what I see, bit by bit.
New Pokémon Snap
So here we’re introduced to Professor Mirror and his assistants, Rita and Phil. Hey, I like that Phil kid, he’s already pretty cool in my book! Definitely has the best name! By the sounds of it too, Rita and Phil’s names are universal, at least in both Japanese and Korean. Especially since Phil’s Korean name (필) matches up with mine (필립).
Looking good there, Phil!
Anyways, looks like there was only one new Lentalian phrase in the video. As a reminder, this is the Lental alphabet as it has been deciphered since the last New Pokémon Snap trailer:
And so… here’s the phrase. It appears between 7m11s and 7m20s, as well as ~8m14s:
I suspect that the first word is something like “Florio” or “Glorio”, or basically a proper noun, and therefore not yet decipherable.
That said, the name clearly is some kind of “Latin-esque” form of an actual word, perhaps something like:
- Florio = “flowery”
- Glorio = “glory”
Otherwise, there wasn’t anything new to decipher. Moving on!
Pokémon Day Events
Alas, I haven’t gotten around to making the most of those games features, so I don’t have much to say about them. That said, I REALLY need to get back into my Pokémon GO game! I logged in recently and discovered SEVEN new Friend Requests! I feel back for not getting to them now! ㅠㅅㅠ Don’t worry, I’ll get to you guys soon!!
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl
AHAHAHA THIS IS JUST TOO OBVIOUS! But a welcome bit of obvious news none-the-less. I now wonder what they’re gonna do with the inevitable Black & White remakes, seeing as it as also a Nintendo DS release. Will it use the same engine as Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl, or will it start from scratch?
I ask this because the game footage shown so far was pretty… meh, bland. It’s almost as if they took the original NDS game models, increased the resolution of their skins, swapped out the flat pixel character models with 3D-CG ones… and called it a day. It feels less like an upgrade relative to its original source material as FireRed/LeafGreen and HeartGold/SoulSilver were to their original Game Boy versions. Even OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire was definitely a step up from its GBA source—even if it left Emerald’s updates out of it.
I mean, take a look at one scene from the BD/SP trailer (right) compared with its original DPP version (left):
Now compare that with a similar comparison between a scene from HeartGold/SoulSilver on the NDS (right) compared with its original GSC version from the Game Boy Color (left):
The BD/SP version definitely is “better” than what it originally looked like in DPP, but clearly the steps it took to be “better” isn’t anywhere what it was between HGSS and GSC. True, this could just be me comparing apple-to-apples versus apples-to-oranges; afterall, both the NDS and Switch were 3D-CG based platforms, while the Game Boy was strictly sprite based, so basically anything in CG compared to an equivilant sprite-based picture will look extremely more complex than comparing a CG to CG. And true, the battle scenes are definitely fresh relative to their original DPP versions, so… But then again, comparing Resident Evil for PS1 versus its remake for the GameCube does show an apples-to-apples step up in terms of quality…
And it’s not even like the GameCube remake was in HD or anything, both were standard defintion games. And yeah, of course the GameCube was more powerful hardware than the PS1, but that’s the point… look at the step in quality of Resident Evil 1 between the PS1 and GCN, then look at the quality between DPP and BDSP…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still gonna play it. I also am not gonna knock BDSP too much because I’m ultimately sympathetic to Game Freak’s organization and generally don’t buy the “they should be better” argument. But all of the prior remakes have generally been produced by the “B-Team” at Game Freak… so for BDSP to look so bland, I dunno, maybe Game Freak should stop farming stuff out (in this case, to ILCA, who also worked on Pokémon HOME). In any case, it’s clear most of their “Gen 4” attention and energy was spent more on… well, we’ll get to that part.
All this aside, the in-world character models have a cute little “Link’s Awakening“, “Megaman: Powered Up” chibi style to them… I kinda like it! I mean, I know the chibi style is generic, but all three of these seem to share a specific subset-style within the chibi concept.
Finally, the preview video showcased a number of signs which clearly look like words! Is there to be a Sinnohese language to be deciphered here too??
Maybe? Kinda? … Probably not. I think these are intended to just be generic “letters” which are just intended to signify that it’s a sign to be read, but that’s about it. Apart from the middle signs are literally copy-and-pasted elements used wherever it’s needed, the letters on them appear on other signs as well:
So I don’t think this will be anything that will mean anything like Galarian and Lentalian. But hey, who knows? Maybe it’ll actually be some kind of alphabet… afterall, these symbols DO appear in the post-trainer promo on the cover of an old Asian-style bound book:
So we’ll just have to wait and find out, won’t we? That said, I’m not putting any money on it being anything more complex than random symbols used randomly.
Anyways, what’s next on the slate?
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
WHA WHA WHA
Well, it’s clear THAT is where all the energy for a Gen 4-based Switch game went! OK fine, whatever, clearly they knew that they could get away with a weaker looking DPP-remake if they can do something else even more awesome with the Sinnoh region. Especially seeing as they’re working on this in-house; clearly this explains why BDSP looked so bland.
First of all, I’m sure THIS didn’t slip past anyone:
Of course I’m sure now the REAL mystery is… what does the player character and/or the “mysterious” Professor have to do with Team Galactic? Is it Cyrus’ ancestor? Will the Professor actually LOOK like Cyrus??
It also looks like maybe the Sinnohese script is going to be everywhere here! Maybe the characters used in BDSP won’t be random symbols afterall!
And finally, it looks like there’s gonna be some new type icons AND colors.
I guess I’m gonna have to update the Colordex and my Type Font in soon!
Anyways, but the looks of it, Pokémon Legends is going to be Legend of Pokémon: Breath of the Wild… and that looks pretty friggin’ AWESOME to me!
Now one sidenote… one big reason why I place a level of extra focus on Korean Pokémon news is because it’s a good way to sort of add a level of clarity to what is happening in both Japan AND the US, and what Nintendo/Game Freak/etc’s intent and focus is. To be specific, the Korean versions of Pokémon places a sort of filter or prism upon it, allowing me to get a better idea of just what is planned for an upcoming title.
For example, if the Korean version of a new game uses its Korean logo and name—포켓몬스터—then it’s a more main line, primarily Japanese-intended game which just happens to also be sent out to be consumed by foreigners, and Nintendo/GF/etc’s confidence in its success is assured. This is exactly the case for the DPP-remakes, the logos of which utilize the full Korean language name.
On the other hand, if the Korean version uses the ENGLISH logo and name, specifically the “international Pokémon” logo we Westerners have grown up with, then I’ve come to understand that game or project to have a more internationally focused effort, or at least a lessened local “Pocket Monsters” goal. As in, it’s intended first and foremost for foreigners more than the original Japanese audience. This is the case with the games made by outside/foreign devs like Pokémon GO, Pokémon Masters EX and Pokémon UNITE, and in this case with Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which uses the Western Pokémon logo—although the “Arceus” subtitle is still written in Korean (아르세우스).
Basically, if the Korean (and especially Japanese) version DOESN’T call itself “Pocket Monsters” and instead uses the international Pokémon logo, then it means to me—in my humble opinion, of course—that Pokémon’s Japanese owners have a sort of detatched feel for it. It may be part of the overall world of “Pokémon”, but not exactly part of THEIR “Pocket Monsters”, if that makes sense.
In the case of Pokémon Legends, both the Korean and Japanese version uses the international Pokémon logo. I don’t want to claim that this spells bad things for the game or anything, just that, Game Freak may see it less of a connection with it. Which is odd seeing as Game Freak is working on this one in-house; it just might be that they realize they’re maybe taking a risk with this, and want to minimize the risk by making it slightly outside their “mainline” Pocket Monsters branding. This way, if it fails… well, it’s because somehow the international audience and foreigners somehow mucked it up. This is actually very unlike what they did with their previous spin-off game, Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee, which utilized localized “Pocket Monsters” branding for both Korea and Japan.
Basically, the fact that the Korean and Japanese versions of this game uses the international Pokémon branding instead of the more localized Pocket Monsters (포켓몬스터) brand was NOT an accident. But that said, hopefully this doesn’t imply anything bad about this game, and I certainly don’t want to claim anything of the sort, seeing as I think this looks like a pretty awesome concept!
I’m definitely hyped for these announcement! But, I’ll admit they do feel a bit more “normal” than what should be an announcement worthy of a 25th Anniversary event.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is clearly supposed to be the crown jewl of the lot, but… why not make it its own thing? Why not have it just be plain ol’ straight-up Pokémon Legends and have it take place in either Kanto or a completely new region? Why make it a mere spinoff with a subtitle? Something about this doesn’t sit right with me… but I hope I’m just over-thinking this. In the end I really hope that this ends up being a first serious taste of a truly open world Pokémon game, so much so that PLA is remembered as simply the beta version of the next Pokémon Legends game, which is what REALLY hits things out of the park.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl looks way too bland for its own good, but I can hand-wave its weaknesses away fairly easily, seeing as it’s development is being farmed out, and all of the “Gen 4” energy and attention is being spent on PLA… so this is looking more like an inexpensive cash-in more than anything else. Hopefully they won’t try to sell it for $60… unless there are some extra features which make it worth $60, such as incorporating Platinum’s story and features, unlike how Emerald was ignored in ORAS.
But clearly the big winner today is New Pokémon Snap, and only because your apparent rival is named “Phil”. Clearly today’s big winner.
God bless you, you absolute legend!
Anyways, that’s everything today. This was a serious big deal so I spent more time than I should’ve thinking about all this and working out what my thoughts are. Hopefully you enjoyed reading it! Huzzah, good times.