It’s very rare for a video game developer and/or publisher to announce their next project so quickly after launching their latest one. But today, Game Freak, the developers of the Pokémon series, revealed we can expect a ninth-generation Pokémon game before the year ends. Considering the fact that Pokémon Legends Arceus launched a month ago, this is a huge surprise and one I’m wishing they held off from making.

Just because it’s Pokémon Day doesn’t mean we need new Pokémon

Feb 27 is considered “Pokémon Day”, celebrating the first game’s Japanese release. Fans already knew we were getting announcements today. Most were expecting updates to the current crop of games currently available. And yes, that is what was shown for the majority of their presentation. We’re getting new content in GO, Unite, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and even Arceus (oddly, nothing around TCGO). But ending the presentation with the surprise reveal of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet completely overshadows all the other news.

The teaser announcement doesn’t go into too many details for the ninth generation. We got a glimpse of the three new starters (Sprigatito – the cat, Fuecoco – the alligator, and Quaxly – the duck) and some of the locales. Outside of that, the game’s official site has a bit more information on locales and characters but the rest is still unknown.

I typically only really play the main Pokemon games, so the updates to GO and Unite don’t really interest me. Diamond/Pearl remakes never interested me, and its update is pretty unremarkable. I was, however, expecting we’d get more on Arceus. Today’s update is a small one. I wasn’t expecting a major update a month after launch. However, I was expecting a teaser of future content for the summer. 

Most games need time to breathe

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy we’re getting another mainline Pokémon game. It’s not like we wouldn’t get another at some point in the future. It’s just that the timing feels rushed. Legends got good reviews and most people commended the direction it’s taking the franchise. I’m only a dozen hours into the game but it’s been a lot of fun. While I wish Pokémon games included voiced dialogue, it’s been a nice challenge with a lot to offer.

But maybe I’m in the minority. Although I’m having fun, I’m still relatively early in the game. It’s quite possible the hardcore Pokémon community is done with the game and they want something else. It’s also possible that The Pokémon Company wasn’t expecting Arceus to be as successful as it was. The plan was always to announce a new game instead of supporting the current one.

A landscape shot from Pokemon Scarlet/Violet

Scarlet and Violet should probably release in 2023

I am super curious about the content plan for all the Pokemon games. Obviously, the free-to-play games have their own live operations schedules. But, can Legends Arceus and Scarlet/Violet coexist? The small update to Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl and no mention of new content for New Pokémon Snap make me think otherwise.

At this point, I don’t see Scarlet and Violet actually releasing in 2022. Nintendo’s Fall schedule looks busy with stuff like Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Breath of the Wild 2, Splatoon 3, and Bayonetta 3. Plus, Nintendo always has a few surprises they reveal at the last moment. A mainline Pokémon game, even with its fanbase, is probably better suited having its own slot to flourish.

If they push it to early 2023, they can start the year in the same way Legends Arceus started this year. It will dominate the Nintendo conversation. It would also allow for more content for Legends Arceus to release and get the attention it deserves.