As it turns out, the leaks were real. Nintendo just unveiled Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, the first proper Pokémon titles exclusively for the Switch.
The two games, which will be launching later this November, bring players back to the Kanto region, where the first-generation titles were set. Director Junichi Masuda claims they're almost a remake of 1999's Pokémon Yellow.
"Let's Go! Pikachu and Let's Go! Eevee are kind of inspired and based on Pokémon Yellow version," said Masuda, as Polygon reports. "They had added elements from the animated series, like Team Rocket and the characters that appeared in the animated series."
That influence is made clear in the trailer: players return to Pallet Town, where they'll once again start their journey toward becoming a Pokémon master. Only the original 151 Pokémon are going to be available, and there will be no wild battles — these games are focused on catching, a decision clearly inspired by the popularity of Pokémon GO on mobile.
Core 'Pokémon' RPG Title Coming In 2019
As such, Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! aren't core Pokémon titles. Presumably, they're stopgap entries to tide players over until a core Pokémon RPG titles comes out in 2019. That's right — a brand-new mainline game in the style of X and Y and Sun and Moon is coming next year. That will be the proper one fans have been clamoring loudly for.
It's understandable why some would be disappointed at the titles coming this November for the Switch. But it's equally understandable what The Pokémon Company, Game Freak, and Nintendo are trying to do here: they're covering all their bases. Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! are for Pokémon GO players. The 2019 core Pokémon game is for longtime hardcore fans. A free-to-play title called Pokémon Quest, announced alongside the two new titles, is for new fans. In other words, there's something for everyone.
'Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu!' And 'Let's Go, Eevee!'
The two new titles require just one Joy-Con controller, which players fling toward the screen to imitate throwing a Poké Ball. What's more, the footage suggests there'll be gym battles, trainer battles, and a storyline. In a sense, these are console versions of Pokémon GO that will most likely cost $50 or more.
It's a hard sell, to be sure. But again, it's a smart move: Nintendo is catering to its new fans aside from its older core base, and when one steps back and looks at its strategy more broadly, it's easy to see the companies are playing their cards intelligently.
But more than anything, Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! are promising refreshed versions of Pokémon GO. Are they worth the full price of a Switch game? Time will tell.
Thoughts about the two new titles? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!