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Pokkén Tournament Will be the First Pokémon Game for the Nintendo Switch

Looks like we’ll be waiting a bit longer for a true Pokémon game on a home Nintendo console

When the Nintendo Switch was revealed to be a hybrid home/handheld console, a big chunk of the Nintendo faithful got jazzed up about the possibility of a main series Pokémon game on a home console. Well, earlier this week, those fans had to take that jazzy tune down into the minor key — during a Pokémon-centered Nintendo Direct livestream earlier this week, Nintendo did reveal a Pokémon game for the Switch, but it wasn’t the one those fans were hoping for.

Pokémon generations always launch with two games — Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon for the 3DS, most recently — with a third coming out a little later. The rumor mill suggested that the third game, assumed to be named Stars, would be Pokémon’s coming out party for the Switch.

It wasn’t to be. Instead, the Switch game is Pokkén Tournament DX, an adaptation of a fighting game that originally came out for the Wii U and arcades. It’s a 2D fighter in the same vein as Street Fighter, with players picking from a roster of Pokémon for head to head battles. So, if you were looking to catch them all, just know there’s definitely no catching in this game, unless catching Pokémon hands counts.

This will be a port of the Wii U game, but will include the four arcade-exclusive Pokémon and Decidueye, who will be exclusive to the Switch. That port will come out on September 22.

Although there is a lot more potential for multiplayer fun, both online and local, a port is hard for fans to get excited about. The good news is that Pokkén Tournament, while published by The Pokémon Company, was developed by Namco Bandai instead of usual Pokémon developers Game Freak. If Pokémon Stars is to be real, Pokkén Tournament DX wouldn’t have diverted any development resources.

The bad news is that Nintendo confirmed Pokémon UltraSun and UltraMoon during the presentation, and both of those are going to the 3DS platform exclusively. The new versions of the previous releases will include Pokémon from the back catalog who didn’t make it into Sun and Moon and will have new storylines. Game Freak did develop those, and they’ll be out on November 17.

It’s hard to say where this leaves the prospect of a full Pokémon game on the Switch. A Stars game still seems likely, but a little less likely with the reveal of UltraSun and UltraMoon. It’s also worth noting that Nintendo has stated several times that they do not see the Switch as a replacement for the 3DS platform — a point hammered home by the new 2DS XL that dropped recently. Pokémon has always been a major, if not the major breadwinner for Nintendo’s handheld consoles, which makes us wonder whether or not Nintendo is really willing to undercut their handheld sales by allowing a main series Pokémon game on the Switch.

But, who knows? Nintendo, Game Freak, and the Pokémon Company might still have a surprise or two in store. Nintendo will stream another Direct during E3 next week, although we’re expecting to hear more about other titles like Super Mario Odyssey during that one. We’ll know for sure next Wednesday, so keep an eye on our E3 coverage!

Check out more of our E3 2017 coverage right here!