The 3DS has had a long, good life — but all things must come to an end. No, the system isn't being phased out or anything like that, but one of the most popular game series will be leaving the platform permanently.
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, sequels to last year's Sun and Moon that'll launch this Nov. 17, have now been confirmed as the last mainline RPG Pokémon titles on the 3DS. There might be some spinoffs in the future, sure, but neither Game Freak nor The Pokémon Company would be making any more main entries for Nintendo's aging handheld.
Goodbye, Nintendo 3DS?
This seems to signal the end of an era for the 3DS platform, which still stands as the best-selling handheld console of this generation. This also appears to be an act of passing the baton over to the Switch, Nintendo's more powerful hybrid console that'll be getting an unspecified RPG Pokémon title sometime in the future.
In an interview with IGN, Game Freak director Shigeru Ohmori explained that the company regards each of its 3DS games as the full extent of what could be achieved on Nintendo's console, which is really showing its age due to underwhelming internals and a low-resolution screen.
Pokémon X and Y, according to Ohmori, was the result of Game Freak pushing the 3DS to its limits. Sun and Moon, on the other hand, completely redesigned how several in-game elements worked, which pushed the 3DS even further.
But Game Freak is moving on, presumably because it has finally reached the limits of 3DS's capabilities in terms of performance and power. The mainline Pokémon RPGs need to evolve, and that's only possible if it moves on to the Switch.
"[W]e're now feeling that perhaps this is the maximum of what we can get out. So we're really treating Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon as the culmination of our work with the 3DS system," said Ohmori.
Sun and Moon were two of the most radically designed Pokémon RPGs in history, with several elements taken out, some taken in, and many refined. Gym battles, for one, were replaced with more streamlined trials, and the Hidden Machine system was completely scrapped. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will include new Pokémon, newZ-Moves, and a new story.
Pokémon For The Nintendo Switch
With regard to the Pokémon title in development for the Switch, there is practically no new information available as of this time. Many had speculated that a remastered port of Sun and Moon, tentatively called Pokémon Stars, was going to be announced at E3 this past June. No such announcement came, but thankfully, The Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara confirmed that a core RPG Pokémon was coming to the Switch.