A new version of Pokémon Sun and Moon will launch for Nintendo Switch.
Pokémon Sun and Moon for 3DS will be joined by Pokémon Stars for Switch.
Multiple sources tell Eurogamer the game is already well into development, will launch in 2017, and currently holds the codename of Pokémon Stars.
Earlier generations of Pokémon games have featured a third title launched later with expanded features – Pokémon Yellow followed Game Boy originals Red and Blue to start this trend, which continued through until Pokémon Platinum followed Diamond and Pearl on DS.
With Pokémon Stars, this idea will be revived – but for the first time we’ll see the mainline Pokémon series spanning separate Nintendo consoles within the same generation of games.
Indeed, Switch will be the first Nintendo “home” console to receive a main Pokémon adventure. It only took 20 years.
Nintendo’s new 3DS duo Sun and Moon, available today in North America and Japan or next week in Europe, have shared much of their development with their Switch bigger brother.
As you might expect, Pokémon Stars is being developed by the Sun and Moon team at Game Freak, the studio behind all main Pokémon games since the series’ Game Boy beginnings.
In fact, you may have already seen something from the Switch version. Sun and Moon’s February reveal teaser culminates in split-second shots of Game Freak staff such as series boss Junichi Masuda and director Shigeru Ohmori working on Sun and Moon spliced with quick flashes of in-game concept art and models, including this HD in-game model for new bird Pokémon Pikipek. We’ve heard this is for the Switch edition:
A work-in-progress model for Pikipek.
This parallel development structure has allowed the work-in-progress Pokémon Stars to already feature working versions of Sun and Moon content. I’m told that GameFreak largely paused work on the Switch version a couple of months ago to polish Sun and Moon in time for their launch this month, but that work on Stars will now resume with the development of features not found in the 3DS versions.
Pokémon Stars’ development shouldn’t be seen as taking anything away from Sun and Moon’s launch – this is how all third entries in the Pokémon franchise are developed.
And there will be reason to play both: Pokémon will be tradable between Sun/Moon and Stars via the Pokémon Bank app. We’ve also heard suggestion there will be more creatures to collect in the Switch version, although not all of our sources could confirm this.
Expect the Switch version of Sun and Moon to feature the same map – the same routes and cities – and the same art style, although be built using separate, higher-resolution assets.
It may be some time before Stars releases, however. We heard the game was initially a summer 2017 launch for Nintendo Switch, but has since been pushed back to later in the year.
Both Nintendo and The Pokémon Company declined to comment for this article, although I asked Sun and Moon director Ohmori about the…