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“In anticipation of Pokemon Black and White” by Melkor

by Arty2

3DSpeculations on the new Pokémon generation

Written on July 16, 2010 by Melkor of Pokéxperto.net

The origin
of the debate

Since the new
Pokémon Generation was announced last January, many Pokémon fans have
wondered whether the release of the new games would be for the already
old Nintendo DS system, or else for a new but yet unknown portable games
console.

They pointed
out that previous releases of new Pokémon generations were made on
different generations of portable Nintendo consoles. Pokémon Green,
Red, Blue and Yellow were all released on the original Game Boy platform.
Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal came out for Game Boy Color. Pokémon
Ruby, Sapphire, LeafGreen, FireRed and Emerald all were for Game Boy
Advance. And, finally, Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold
and SoulSilver all worked on Nintendo DS devices.

As weeks passed
by and rumours about a new Nintendo portable device with 3D screen and
gyroscopic control spread all around the Internet, these speculations
started to have some more factual basis, if yet nothing was said by
Nintendo about the new console. Apparently, people at Game Freak had
already their hands on the new console devkit, and were excited about
its new features.

Pokémon
Black & White confirmed for Nintendo DS

The new Pokémon
Generation was finally revealed: Pokémon Black and White were officially
announced on April, 9th. With the release of the official
website, a plain Nintendo DS logo seemed to end the debate. The Pokémon
Company could not publish false information on an official website,
and if they were planning on releasing the game on a new console, they
could very well have left that logo out.

Several months
passed by, during which we could see some Coro Coro scans featuring
Pokémon Black & White gameplay on a Nintendo DSi. Also, the box
art was released, and as Filb pointed out, game codes placed in them
further confirmed that the games would be released for the old good
Nintendo DS. The codes are actually TWL-IRBJ-JPN and TWL-IRAJ-JPN, with
the TWL part meaning they would have DSi features (e.g. Live Caster),
in contrast to the NTR code for non-DSi-enhanced games.

Even with all
the information pointing to a probable Nintendo DS release, some fans
still had some hope, and eagerly waited for the E3 Nintendo’s showdown
to reveal the new portable gaming device. Indeed, Satoru Iwata surprised
all us with the new Nintendo 3DS, confirming all the rumours that had
been circulating on its existence for the previous months. But, with
a huge number of top tier games being announced for the new console
that day, Pokémon Black & White were simply left out of the show.

Also, the Japanese
release date of Pokémon Black & White had already been confirmed
to be on September, 18th. With the new console expected to
be released on Q1 2011, how could Pokémon Black & White come out
for a yet unreleased console?

The 3DS-enhanced
features theory

There are still
several reasons that could push Game Freak and Nintendo to release the
new Pokémon Generation on a new console. For this I must resort to
history again: Pokémon Gold & Silver could work on an original
Game Boy, but were released for Game Boy Color. Their “third version”
Pokémon Crystal was Game Boy Color exclusive.

Following this,
what if Pokémon Black & White were released for Nintendo DS but
had 3DS exclusive features? That could very well explain why all the
information points to the games being released for Nintendo DS, but
people at Game Freak already had their hands on the 3DS devkit back
on February.

These features
could have already been released, but not quite explained. The C Gear
shows that Pokémon Black & White will feature wireless communications
using InfraRed (“IR”). Off course, that is exactly what Pokémon
HeartGold & SoulSilver use for communicating with Pokéwalker, and
as such the IR transmitter could be placed in the game card. But still
the functions this IR is expected to fulfill go far beyond those carried
out by the HG/SS card transmitter, including Pokémon battles and mini-games.

Other features
that still must be addressed include the recently released IR mini-games
(e.g. Feeling Check), which could use some 3DS exclusive features like
the gyroscopic or motion control; and the Pass By function, which could
work on Nintendo DS but seems to match one of the 3DS features Mr. Iwata
enhanced at the E3 showdown: “Nintendo 3DS hardware is designed so
that even when not in use, it can automatically exchange data with other
Nintendo 3DS systems or receive data via the Internet while in sleep
mode.”

Finally, allowing
these 3DS features to appear in Pokémon Black & White would be
of strategic significance to Nintendo. These would be minor features,
as development of the games must have spanned far greater time than
just some months since Game Freak first had the 3DS devkit, but could
contribute to a succesful release of the Nintendo 3DS system.

Under this
theoretical strategy, Pokémon Black & White would be originally
released for Nintendo DS. This would allow The Pokémon Company to take
advantage of the huge user base the device has developed over the years.
This is a far less risky strategy than releasing the games as launch
titles for Nintendo 3DS, since they would be competing against many
top tier titles being launched at the very same time, and would have
less potential buyers as people would still have to buy the new console
first.

Additionally,
an announcement would be made on or just before the release of Pokémon
Black & White indicating the existence of 3DS-enhanced features
in the games. The seed of hype would have been planted: A hype that
would last for several months until the Nintendo 3DS is released. A
hype that could lead to Nintendo selling more units of their new console
at launch. The hype of Pokémon in 3DS.

There is only
one thing for sure: The third version of the new Generation Pokémon
games will lead us to the third dimension.

About the author

Arty2

Heracles is an Athens-based architect and designer.

He founded LegendaryPKMN in 2001.


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