A new Pokemon Direct is on the way, and the timing is pretty interesting. Since the first Nintendo Direct way back in 2011, there have been a number of Directs centered on Game Freak's Pokemon games, but today's surprise announcement could indicate that this new one is going to be fairly different from what we're used to.
While Pokemon games have garnered top billing for Directs in the past, before this week Nintendo has centered only six Directs solely on a Pokemon game. Starting with a January 2013 presentation for Pokemon X and Y, these presentations have typically had a common space from previous Pokemon news and a limited duration, two trends that this January's Direct seems to buck.
Pokemon hub Serebii siterunner Joe Merrick posted some thoughts on Twitter about the timing of this week's Direct. On the basis of runtime, which Nintendo says should be about 20 minutes, this will be the longest Pokemon Direct yet. What's more, it's happening much sooner than the typical Pokemon Direct. Merrick charted out the time between a Pokemon game's launch and the next Pokemon game's announcement, and found a somewhat steady pattern over the years.
Time between release of a game and reveal of the next one- Joe Merrick (@JoeMerrick) January 7, 2020
BW->B2W2: 17 months (Sep 10-Feb 12)
B2W2 -> XY: 7 months (Jun 12-Jan 13)
XY -> ORAS: 7 months (Oct 13-May 14)
ORAS -> SM: 15 months (Nov 14-Feb 16)
SM -> USUM: 7 months (Nov 16-Jun 17)
USUM -> LG: 6 months (Nov 17 -May 18)
As he notes in a follow-up tweet, there hasn't been much time since the most recent Pokemon launch in Sword and Shield, so it's hard to imagine this will be a new game announcement. The gap between Let's Go and Sword / Shield was three months, but the case there would be notably different—even when the Let's Go games were announced, Game Freak was saying that there was still a "core" Pokemon game on the way.
To look at what we're likely to see, let's take a look at what Pokemon Directs have commonly included. Some have been game announcements, which include:
- Pokemon X and Y
- Pokemon Sun and Moon
- Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
- Pokken Tournament DX
- Pokemon Gold and Silver (Virtual Console)
- Pokemon Sword and Shield
More recent Pokemon Directs have been centered on Pokemon Sword and Shield, breaking down various gameplay mechanics and aspects of the world, which makes sense as the game was the series' RPG debut on a new console.
The Direct could show off more features for the current generation of Pokemon, as have been shown in Pokemon Directs leading up to and after previous Pokemon games. Special edition consoles would be neat too, if they didn't already exist.
There is the possibility of DLC for Pokemon Sword and Shield, which seems fairly likely. Tom Phillips from Eurogamer tweeted that this wouldn't be National Dex DLC, a reference to fans who lashed out at Game Freak after it was announced that not every Pokemon in existence would make the cut for Sword and Shield. The developers have responded to online frustration, and Phillips speculates the timing of this Direct might suggest a "desire to move forward."
Of course, an obvious inclusion would be updates on some of the Pokemon apps announced last year, like Pokemon Home and Pokemon Sleep. It's hard to imagine a whole Direct about the sleep-aid Poke-program, but it has been relatively quiet since it was announced last May.
Overall, the timing is what stands out most about this Pokemon Direct. It's close to Pokemon Sword and Shield's release last November, but there's been enough time that it could be news of more content for the game, or it could potentially branch out with more games in the Pokemon universe, like Pokken Tournament. The expectation is that there is some news meaty enough to warrant a Direct, rather than a trailer drop or press release. Directs carry some weight, especially when focused so closely on a single topic or franchise.
It's been a while since we went into a Pokemon-centric Direct without much idea of what would actually be shown, but that's pretty exciting for those of us out here who are holding out hope for some other Pokemon games.