While 2021 is a big year for games overall, the Pokemon franchise is having an especially interesting year. 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the Pokemon series, so fans are expecting the year to be a big one for Game Freak. While the studio has yet to make any specific announcements regarding plans or potential releases, the studio has stated that it has some big plans to celebrate this historic milestone for the series.
However, there are some possible announcements that Pokemon fans do expect to see and some that are rumored to be coming in the near future. With that in mind, there’s a ton of possible directions Game Freak could choose to go in.
It’s no question that Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield have been a massive hit since their launch at the end of 2019. They have grown to be one of the largest games in the Pokemon series thanks to their two post-launch DLCs – a first for the Pokemon series. After receiving some hefty criticisms leading up to their launch in 2019, Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield managed to still win the hearts of many players, and win back some that were lost thanks to the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra DLCs which fixed several of the problems that players had with the base games.
Now the question remains: will Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield receive more DLC, or will Game Freak start rolling out the next installment in the Pokemon franchise? 2021, the 25th Anniversary of the series, would be a great time to debut one (or perhaps both) of these ideas to the fanbase. Game Freak has a golden opportunity to introduce a larger DLC for Pokemon Sword and Shield to bridge the gap between the current generation and the next, while also giving fans something to look forward to either later this year or in 2022. Fans have held on to the rumor that Sword and Shield will be getting a large-scale DLC that will let players travel to the Kalos region, marking a big shift the series as multi-region travel has not happened in the series for quite some time.
There’s also a possibility that Game Freak could introduce another entry in the Pokemon Let’s Go series with Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver taking center-stage. Fans have long speculated that the Let’s Go series would be a recurring trend in the games that runs parallel to the main series, so there’s a strong chance that the 25th Anniversary could bring some news about that line of games. Fans have been longing for remakes of the Johto region, and having the remakes be done in the Let’s Go style just makes sense as it would be the next logical step in the Let’s Go series considering Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee followed the story of Generation 1 of Pokemon.
Arguably one of the biggest surprise announcements of 2020, Pokemon Snap is making a triumphant return much to the delight of many fans. Revealed in June 2020, New Pokemon Snap does not have a definitive release date yet, but fans are hoping that it will release in 2021 with the 25th Anniversary Celebration. The game appears to be true to its roots based on the little glimpses fans have seen so far.
Players will be able to take stunning photos of Pokemon from many different generations on the Nintendo Switch, and likely have to solve some slight environmental puzzles to get Pokemon to strike the right pose for more effect. Fans are eagerly awaiting news about this upcoming game, but they may have to wait until later in the year for more information about this beloved spin-off.
Rumors of a Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl remake have been circling for some time and refuse to go away, and many fans believe that Game Freak has been working on this project for some time. The Sinnoh region was interesting for many players as, while some players did not like the games for a number of reasons, Generation 4 has a surprisingly strong following among the Pokemon fanbase. Now, many are calling for Game Freak to remaster these beloved games and give them a proper place on the Switch with updated graphics, mechanics, and perhaps even new Pokemon.
Fans have been hoping for updated versions of these games for quite some time, and are even grasping at straws to try to find some sort of clue that these remakes are in development. Fans are even analyzing Game Freak tweets for clues or hints to the remake’s existence. Fans did a similar practice with one of the Pokemon Company’s livestreams, where fans believed that the arrangement of plush Pokemon in the background alluded to the release of Pokemon Let’s Go set in the Johto region. However, it seems nothing became of that “hint” either. Whether these remakes exist or not remains a mystery, but if there was a year for Game Freak to pull out all the stops with the Pokemon games, it would be this year.
The Pokemon Master Collection is a relatively new rumor that has gained traction among Pokemon fans. While it is most likely a fake rumor, many fans hold out hope that something similar is in the works for the Nintendo Switch. Since the Switch does not have an eShop that offers emulations of DS and Game Boy games, there is currently no way to play older Pokemon titles like Pokemon Red or Pokemon White 2 on current-gen systems. Fans are hoping that Game Freak is working on a way to bring either ports or remakes of the older generations of Pokemon titles to the Switch so that fans can experience the classic games first-hand.
While nothing has been confirmed by Game Freak, perhaps there will be some big announcements as part of the 25th Anniversary Celebration that will confirm new ways to enjoy these classic games, and perhaps even link them to Pokemon Home for those working toward their National Pokedex.
2021 is going to be a big year for Pokemon. The Anniversary celebrations have already started with a beautifully nostalgic video highlighting the history of the franchise up until this point. The Pokemon Company is even collaborating with Katy Perry for a song about the beloved franchise. Nobody has any idea what Game Freak has in store for the Pokemon games this year, but there is a good chance that they will be pulling out all the stops to give Pokemon fans an anniversary to remember.
Pokemon‘s 25th anniversary occurs in 2021.