Earlier today, the Pokemon Company held a special conference regarding the Pokemon franchise, revealing and detailing titles. We also got some news regarding Mario Maker 2.
2019’s Pokemon Company Business Strategy Conference aired from Shibuya, Tokyo, and was available live on both YouTube and Twitch. The video is embedded at the bottom of the article. The conference was presented by CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara. The conference was delivered in Japanese, English – and Chinese. “This is because, going forward, we plan to deliver more of our services to Pokemon fans who are native speakers of Chinese,” Ishihara stated.
Ishihara began the conference with the announcement that Toho’s Managing Director, Hiro Matsuoka, was joining the company’s Board of Directors. Matsuoka stated that he was excited to work with both Toho and the Pokemon Company to experience ‘new creative challenges in the future’.
A port of the original Detective Pikachu game released on 3DS was announced for the Switch. This title was stated to have a conclusion to the cliffhanger of the 3DS version.
Citing the success of the new Pokemon Centre store in Singapore, Ishihara invited Yoromi Uego – CEO of the Pokemon Centre initiative – to discuss a new Pokemon Centre in the Shibuya district. Opening in Autumn 2019, this Centre will ‘merge Pokemon and technology’, and have a stylish, lab-looking interior. A Nintendo Tokyo store will also be opening near the location.
NetEase’s Ethan Wang took to the stage to announce the first official Pokemon side-game ported to China, Pokemon Quest. The Chinese version of Pokemon Quest will include social media features, and PvP.
Managing Director of GameFreak, Junichi Masuda, next took the stage, announcing Pokemon Home. A successor to the Pokemon Bank, Pokemon Home will allow players to transfer Pokemon to and from that app in addition to Pokemon Go, Pokemon Let’s Go, and upcoming Sword and Shield. ‘A place for Pokemon to gather’, Masuda stated, the program will also allow for both online and local trading as well. It is intended to launch in early 2020.
Ishihara returned, and revealed Pokemon Sleep. Inspired by Pokemon Go’s ability to make walking more enjoyable, Pokemon Sleep hopes to gamify sleeping, using information on sleep schedules and time spent sleeping in an as-yet unannounced manner. Nintendo’s Kazuhiro Maruyama, Head of their Hardware Development, came to the stage to elaborate on the flat Pokeball-like device shown in Pokemon Sleep’s presentation. Called the Pokemon Go Plus +, the device can be used as a regular Pokemon Go Plus (notifying players of Pokestops, etc.), and also with Pokemon Sleep to help record sleep data. Pokemon Sleep, developed in conjunction with Select Button (Magikarp Jump), is expected to release in 2020.
Niantic’s John Hanke joined the group, and announced that Pokemon Go will also be looking into promoting healthy sleep, and that a weeklong Snorlax event was now live to promote the initiative, with the Sleeping Pokemon appearing in large numbers during the event.
Once again alone on stage, Ishihara discussed the rumoured mobile game in development with DeNA, confirming it to be a title called Pokemon Masters. This title, suggested by Pokemon creator Ken Sugimori, will allow players to challenge the various trainers and champions of video games past. Although still in development, gameplay footage showed 3D characters roaming a space similar to the modern Pokemon titles, with familiar looking battles, too. One notable addition was that trainers seemed able to ‘power up’ their partner Pokemon, unleashing a deadly attack – in the demonstration, Brock powered up his Onix, who used a special attack against his enemy. The title is to launch on mobile and iOS later this year.
The conference ended with Ishihara revealing that the original 150 Pokemon have been incorporated into patterns for stylish shirts, with each shirt focusing on one particular Pokemon in their design.
In news unrelated to the conference, it was also revealed that Super Mario Maker 2’s multiplayer won’t actually allow friends to connect and play with eachother, with friend co-op being local only. The announcement has confused and disappointed some fans.
So, what do you think about all this? Let us know in the comments! Also, if you want to watch the Conference in its entirety, the video is embedded below.