Since its debut in 2016, greater than 1 billion folks have downloaded Pokémon Go, which is considerably greater than have performed each earlier entry within the collection mixed. At its peak, tens of tens of millions of individuals performed month-to-month, swarming metropolis streets and turning Pokémon Go into the primary world real-world online game. It launched new folks to the franchise, and rekindled an curiosity in lapsed followers.

Usually, when a leisure property reaches that form of mainstream success, significantly with a streamlined take like Pokémon Go, followers fear concerning the dumbing down of their beloved video games. However that’s not what occurred to Pokémon: as a substitute, Pokémon Go impressed a inventive growth for the franchise, resulting in a few of the greatest, most approachable Pokémon video games thus far. And with yesterday’s reveal of Pokémon Sword and Shield for the Nintendo Switch, that development seems to be to proceed.

Issues began out pretty slowly. In the summertime of 2016, when Pokémon Go mania was at its zenith, Nintendo revealed that sales of older Pokémon games on the 3DS were exploding, due largely to the elevated consideration introduced on by the cell AR sport. A couple of months later, Pokémon Sun and Moon became two of Nintendo’s fastest-selling games ever. Unsurprisingly, these numbers started to have impression on the video games themselves.


Pokemon Go

Pokémon Go.
Picture by James Bareham / The Verge

In 2017, Nintendo launched Extremely Solar and Extremely Moon, enhanced variations of the earlier 3DS video games. And these video games had various options that had been particularly impressed by Pokémon Go, together with a extra streamlined person interface and the power to seize stronger monsters a lot earlier within the sport. “We knew we had a very good fanbase, however in fact we had been stunned by the sheer variety of customers who got here out as large Pokémon followers when Pokémon Go was launched,” Sun and Moon director Shigeru Ohmori told The Verge back in 2017. “We need to draw on that pleasure that’s been constructed up over the previous 12 months.”

Issues went a step farther final 12 months with Pokémon: Let’s Go, a sport designed explicitly to mix the approachable nature of Pokémon Go with a extra conventional role-playing sport. It eliminated collection and style staples like random battles, and stripped out many different inessential parts, whereas including extra playful options like motion-controlled throws for capturing pokémon and the choice to have your favourite monster observe you round, similar to within the cartoon.

Prior to those video games, the collection typically felt prefer it was in one thing of a holding sample, with new entries that barely improved on their predecessors, but additionally added more and more convoluted options that appeared pointless. However with the inspiration of Pokémon Go, Pokémon games became more welcoming, simplifying the formula without ruining what makes it work so well in the first place. “Pokémon Go actually did signify the second Pokémon growth, so to say, and it was actually a uncommon alternative that nobody might have counted on,” long-time series director Junichi Masuda told The Verge last year.

It’s nonetheless too early to inform whether or not this 12 months’s Sword and Protect will observe this development. From yesterday’s transient, early glimpse, they seem like far more conventional than Let’s Go. Importantly, they’re additionally the primary mainline Pokémon video games to debut on a house console. Meaning this may possible be the largest and most lovely entry within the collection thus far — and with that, we might see one more Pokémon growth.

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