The Pokémon Direct just happened this morning, and with it we got some... interesting announcements, which you can read more about here! While we did get confirmation of Pokken Tournament DX for the Nintendo Switch, the revealing of the newest games in the main series was less than exciting. Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are slated for release in November of this year.
While there is no doubt some people who are excited about these games, the general response has been lukewarm at best. Considering all of the speculation that went on for the next main Pokémon game, this announcement is a little disappointing, to say the least. Many wanted something new on the Switch and all that was shown off was an upgraded version for the last gen console.
I'll be the first to tell you that I've loved the Pokémon series since I was a kid, but after playing much of the same games for around 15 years, it's time that something new hit the store shelves. There is so much potential with this franchise and it feels like Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are simply the cookie cutter games that will come out this holiday season. It's uninspired and we believe that those games will end up being quite bad.
Here are 15 reasons why Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will be terrible. In no way does this mean I hate the franchise. It's because of my love why this is being written.
As a game franchise grows, each installment should have improvements over the last one. The first of these is a graphical upgrade. Look at most big franchises and you'll see how the graphics have gotten better over time. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon don't have this benefit. Instead, the games look exactly the same as Sun and Moon because they are running off of the same engine.
People who see this aren't going to be impressed (especially those who are obsessed with graphics). It's no secret that the 3DS is running on dated hardware and it limits the visual presentation that the games can have. That's not to say that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon look terrible visually, there just is no improvement to entice more people to get the games.
When the Nintendo Switch was announced, many people felt that it was the perfect console to release a main game in the Pokémon series. Game Freak held off for so long because they wanted players to be able to take the experience with them on the go. Now that the Switch is a thing, it would be entirely possible to have gorgeous graphics, yet keep the classic experience alive.
But for some reason, Game Freak decided to make Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon on the 3DS. This console is already going out of style ever since the Switch launched, so it's perplexing that such a big franchise would still be coming out on it. Many people are ready for Pokémon on the Switch, but Game Freak seems to be refusing.
There are several problems with Game Freak releasing enhanced versions of their main games. One of them is that there will be no new Pokémon. Instead, I guarantee that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will rely on bringing in other Pokémon from past generations to justify creating a new adventure entirely. What they forget is that we have already met these characters and are familiar.
While there will likely be the additions of Pokémon like Marshadow and maybe a few new Ultra Beasts, the adventure in the Alola Region will not be as exciting the second time around because of the familiarity of it all. The unique Pokémon have been caught already. Our Pokédexes have been filled. Why do it all over again?
Very seldom does Game Freak create interesting stories for the Pokémon series. However, Sun and Moon proved that they still had it in them. Those games presented something interesting that we could also invest in. It was a refreshing change of pace. Unfortunately, traveling through the same region again will only make it more difficult for them to create a unique story.
Game Freak stated in their announcement that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon would have a different story than their predecessors, but that doesn't mean that it will be good. The best case scenario would be for them to continue that whole Ultra Beast storyline and use it as a means of creating more Ultra Beasts, but perhaps that's wishful thinking at this point.
If the graphics, 3DS exclusivity, and November release are any indication, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are playing it very safe. Game Freak doesn't seem to have any interest in building something entirely new at this point, for better or worse. The problem with this is that people who look at it aren't going to see anything new. They'll think that it's just the same game with a few new enhancements.
There could very well end up being a painful lack of new content. There's no doubt that a lot of the same content from Sun and Moon will be making a reappearance, but it has us worried about the new things they'll be doing. It'll probably be something along the lines of a slight new battle mechanic and a few new minigames. Other than, it's practically the same as before.
This potential problem of a lack of new content ends up presenting an even bigger problem: what are Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon doing to bring over people who own Sun and Moon? The short answer is nothing at this point. Based on what we've seen, these titles are going to function very similarly to Sun and Moon. As an owner of Pokémon Sun, I'm simply not convinced that I need these games.
The issue here is that Game Freak is essentially shooting themselves in the foot. At the end of the day, they'll only be hurting their own sales by people who don't want to play the same game. Like I said before, we've already caught all the creatures and Ultra Beasts. We built the Pokémon League. Why in the world would we want to do it again for $40?
One of the easiest ways to bring in Legendary Pokémon from past games is to let them roam around the new region. HeartGold and SoulSilver did it, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire did it, and there's no reason to believe that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon won't do it either. Granted, they could instead decide to program them into the game to have a bigger impact in the story or post-game content. However, knowing Game Freak, that likely won't be the case.
Roaming Legendaries are fun and all, but it's easy to know when there's too many of them. People get burnt out very quickly and have no motivation to catch them all through this method. Whatever happened to traveling to a spot where a Legendary Pokémon sat, then battling it to either catch it or knock it out?
Ever since Pokémon Platinum, Game Freak has gotten into the habit of justifying enhanced versions of their main games by creating a new form for the Legendary Pokémon in question. Giratina went through it, Kyurem went through it, and Groudon and Kyogre went through it. As they go down the list, it seems that Solgaleo and Lunala are the new guinea pigs.
I see a couple potential problems with this. The first is that it could point to there being no new Legendary Pokémon and they would just expect us to be excited about catching enhanced versions of the same Legendaries we already have. The second is that new forms are kind of lazy when done this way and will further motivate people to stay away from the games.
While this has yet to be confirmed or denied, I strongly believe that Game Freak will not bring back the partner Pokémon mechanic from HeartGold and SoulSilver into Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. While there were initial plans to include it in Sun and Moon, a revelation that was discovered thanks to some dataminers, it seems that it was left out due to hardware restrictions.
Because Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are also coming out on the 3DS and running on the same engine, why would we have any reason to believe that we would be getting partner Pokémon in it instead? Furthermore, to believe that it would happen would only be an expectation. If defied, it could make many people hate Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon even more.
In regards to this Pokémon Direct, it could mean one of two things: the first is that Game Freak is getting their smaller announcements out of the way so that they can bring in the big guns for E3 this year. It seems that Nintendo has been going that route, so it makes sense that they'd bring Game Freak on board as well.
The second is that they simply aren't creating any new ideas and are instead focusing on bringing old content back and reselling it. Remember that the Pokémon Direct also announced Pokkén Tournament DX for the Switch and Pokémon Gold and Silver on the 3DS Virtual Console. I desperately want to believe the former, but my gut tells me that the latter is true.
The defying of expectations almost always leads to a negative response and never has this been more evident to me than with this Pokémon Direct. There were so many rumors about Pokémon Stars coming to the Nintendo Switch as the enhanced version of Sun and Moon. As a matter of fact, just about everyone was reporting that this game could be in production. However, as we all know now, that was not the case.
What poured more salt into the wound was that Game Freak opened up by talking about the Switch, then announced that the first Switch game would be Pokkén Tournament DX. From there, it was an extreme disappointment to many to discover that the next main entries would only be on the 3DS, which will greatly hurt the sales for Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
While having a holiday release in and of itself is not a bad thing (most Pokémon games release around that time anyway), it could serve to harm Game Freak rather than help them this time around. Understand that the Nintendo fans are craving new Switch games at the moment. There are only a handful of titles to sink our teeth into at the moment, so there is a lot of excitement for upcoming games, especially Super Mario Odyssey.
Super Mario Odyssey will be releasing in November, the same month as Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. These games will be competing with each other in terms of sales and I guarantee that Mario will win out in the end. If it were a Switch game, Game Freak could release it on a different month and their sales wouldn't take a hit.
I'm mostly referring to the first trailer shown off in the Direct this morning. The trailer itself was for Pokkén Tournament DX. Some older kid was practicing his moves so that he could take on his brother in the end. While that happens, there are a few kids in the background playing Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. This communicates an interesting message from Game Freak.
It is no secret that the Pokémon games are extremely popular among young children. However, there are plenty of adults that are still into the series. Yet, by sending this message, it could be evident that Game Freak doesn't intend to make waves among the adult crowd, but instead among the children. Perhaps they feel that young kids will be the only ones really excited for enhanced versions of Sun and Moon. If so, that's a serious problem.
Sun and Moon ended up becoming some of the biggest entries in the entire series. Events were held everywhere at GameStop and people lined up to venture into the Alola Region. There were so many different things done with the series in those games alone that it got people excited for Pokémon again and reminded them why they started playing in the first place.
I suppose, in this right, it's not surprising that Game Freak would start work on Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. They're simply slightly better versions of their best-sellers on the 3DS. On a business level, it makes sense. However, the hype and reception of Sun and Moon alone won't be enough to get people excited for these new titles. The games need to be different and well-crafted.
All of these complaints present the biggest problem with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon: they're not anything new (based on what we know). This is a painful reality considering how much effort went into making Sun and Moon the most unique entries in the series. It seems that Game Freak will simply try to capitalize on that success by continuing their trend of releasing enhanced versions of their games.
The series has been around for about two decades now. People who played since the beginning are beginning to notice that the series is turning into other franchises like Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed. Granted, the games are still well-polished, but there isn't any imagination put into Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. If Game Freak wants to sell more games, they need to start listening to the fans and throw their history out the door.