The Pokémon Direct has passed, and it brought us three announcements: Pokkén Tournament DX for the Nintendo Switch, Pokemon Gold and Silver for the Virtual Console and - the most notable one of the trio - the new main series Pokémon arrivals, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon on 3DS.
So, what do we know about these upcoming 'Ultra' games? There's not much out yet, but here's all we can discern from the small amount of footage we've got.
It's on the Nintendo 3DS, not Switch
This may seem like an obvious point, but yes, the new Pokémon games - after many rumblings and rumours of a Pokémon Switch version - are in fact coming to the Nintendo 3DS 'exclusively' this year. We can only assume the reasons why this is, but regardless they are on the 3DS so you don't have to worry about getting a Switch for them if you haven't jumped onto the new hardware yet.
An Alternate Story
The question is, is this a sequel akin to Pokémon Black 2 & White 2, or an enhanced version like Pokémon Platinum? The answer is not quite clear, but it seems closer to the latter than the former. Series director Junichi Masuda describes it as an "alternate story", so there will probably be some familiar and some unfamiliar elements to this game. This is matched by the new looks for the playable characters.
A Return to Alola
Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon are back in the Alola Region, but there's a significant change. Alola feels far more lively now, with more interaction with the Starter Pokémon, far more flowers along Route 1 and more wild Pokémon flying overhead. You can even see a Wingull fly over the trainer in the footage.
While it is Alola, there also appear to be various new areas found in it, such as the place showcased in the trailer with the Pikachu caravan, with a cliffside behind a river where more Pikachu dwell. On a quick look through our Alola maps we can find nowhere that matches it, so there's going to be a lot of new areas.
Pokémon Sun & Moon were probably the most story-driven Pokémon games thus far, but Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon seem to be including even more story driven elements. In the trailer we saw small snippets of action scenes featuring Togedemaru, Mimikyu and Lycanroc Midday Form. The trailer also ended with the new trainer activating his Z-Crystal, but then turning it to a 90 degree angle. Could Z-Moves be getting even more powerful?
The trailer mentioned new Pokémon being in the game, which of course raises questions. Do they mean truly new Pokémon, or are they once again referring to alternate forms as new Pokémon? We don't know yet, but it did showcase two new forms of Pokémon. These forms are essentially Solgaleo and Lunala, but with new elements that seem to match the Prism Pokémon, Necrozma. Why Solgaleo & Lunala have Necrozma elements remains a mystery but will undoubtedly be a large part of the game's story. We can't wait to find out!
Will there be more forms and even more Alola Forms for Pokémon in the game?
Pokémon Gold & Silver
Pokémon Gold & Silver are coming to the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console on September 22nd 2017. These are the classic second generation Pokémon games for the Game Boy Color and can now be played on the 3DS. To top that off, using Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter, you'll be able to transfer these Pokémon up to Pokémon Sun, Pokémon Moon, Pokémon Ultra Sun, and Pokémon Ultra Moon, which makes it so Pokémon from all generations can now be brought up to the latest games!
There's bound to be more to come for Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon over the coming months as we lead up to its November 17th release!
There are exciting times ahead.