Almost every Pokémon ever made has been given a “third,” more complete game, but Pokémon doesn’t need that any more thanks to the internet. Any third game that Nintendo releases is just a cash grab.
Every new generation of Pokémon games always releases as a pair. This is done for many reasons, with Nintendo saying that it forces players to be social and play Pokémon with friends in order to complete their Pokédex. You could just as easily argue it forces players to also purchase the game in pairs in order to complete the Pokédex themselves, but we’ll go with Nintendo’s reasoning on this one.
After the first paired release, Pokémon games have historically had a third release. Back in the first generation in Pokémon Yellow, with the second generation it was Pokémon Crystal, while the third and fourth gens saw Pokémon Emerald and Pokémon Platinum, respectively. These games were praised at the time for being the refined, “definitive” version of their respective generations, adding features that were not present in their preceding games.
Back before the internet, this made sense. You couldn’t update games after they were released, so the only way to give a game new content was to release a totally new game. That was even the case for many Pokémon games even after the internet became a thing. But these days, such a “third version” just isn’t necessary because you can add and refine games on the fly thanks to always being online.
The Power Of The Internet
Let’s take something like Pokémon Platinum. When Platinum came out, it was hailed as the best Pokémon game ever made. It added to both Pearl and Diamond with new Pokémon, additional lore, and more end-game content to keep players enjoying Platinum for years before the release of Black & White.
But what it added wasn’t really that much when you look at it: new Pokémon, slightly altered/additional story, end-game content. For most games with an internet connection, that’s just DLC.
Let’s look at more recent games. Since 2008, the franchise has been more interested in providing direct sequels than adding a definitive “third game,” but what they add is usually along the same lines. Black & White 2 and Ultra Sun & Moon might have had more story than a typical third title, but they mostly just used the same game to tell a different story. Again, that’s easily doable as DLC.
So rather than making Pokémon players pay for a whole new game after just a year, why not offer DLC packs instead? Bring Pokémon into the modern era of gaming, where any given game can serve as its own platform to add to over time. DLC can keep a game fresh and exciting for years after its release and it’s a lot easier to manage than completely separate cartridges.
So please Game Freak, don’t make Pokémon Sword & Shield 2 or Pokémon Pike or Battle Axe or Daikyu– just make Pokémon DLC.