Of the many disappointing Pokémon announcements this year, Pokémon Masters was the one bright spot. Okay, that might not be entirely true. Despite the National Dex debacle, many people are still excited for Pokémon Sword and Shield. And to be fair to Game Freak, the two Switch titles will probably be a delight. However, even their staunchest defenders have to admit that they'll also be the exact same game with slight story tweaks. Pokémon Masters, though, that's shaping up to be something unique. It's also coming next week.
Pokémon Masters will launch on August 29th, says Destructoid, and change the way we battle. Pokémon will still be doing the fighting, but there's a catch. You won't be collecting them. Instead, you'll collect their trainers. Famous trainers from throughout the games' history will be available, and they have special abilities that empower their chosen critters. Player characters from various generations will make an appearance, as will fan-favorites like Cynthia and Barry. Brock and Misty are there, too, for all the people who insist the cartoon was Pokémon at its peak.
The game was announced earlier in the summer during a Pokémon press conference. The same event saw the announcement of a game called Pokémon Sleep. We still don't know what that really is, but the name alone implies a very strange and unnecessary game. At the same time, Pokémon GO got a Sleeping Snorlax event. As you'd imagine, the Pokémon was neither competitive or really desirable.
Soon after, Game Freak made the dreaded E3 announcement that Pokémon Sword and Shield would not support all Pokémon. In fact, it signaled a shift for the series as a whole. No game will ever again let you catch 'em all, instead limiting you to whatever creatures the developers feel like spotlighting. This announcement combined with the rise of two more mobile games angered the fandom. They indicated that the series we love is going downhill, prioritizing quick mobile games and a rushed holiday release for Sword and Shield at the expense of quality.
Fortunately, Pokémon Masters looks to be made with fans in mind. It will put emphasis on beloved characters that have been ignored for years now. The battle system, 3v3 real time, is fresh for the series. The only concern is that it will probably feature gacha mechanics, making the more popular trainers harder to get and incentivizing microtransactions. But hey, if that's the price we pay to get Cynthia back, it's worth it.