Tomorrow marks 25 years since the first Pokémon titles debuted on Nintendo’s Game Boy in Japan – and developer Game Freak has announced two new games to mark the occasion, both inspired by 2006’s Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.
The first releases are Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, remakes of the Nintendo DS originals for Nintendo Switch, out later this year. Pokémon Legends Arceus, an adventure set in the region of Sinnoh’s past, and resembling a blend of Pokémon Stadium and Breath of the Wild, will be released in 2022, also on Nintendo Switch. It is a significant diversion from the usual turn-based fights and tightly controlled exploration of a Pokémon game, with free movement and wild creatures roaming an open world.
These nostalgic new games tap into the immense fondness that an earlier generation of Pokémon players, now in their 20s, feel for the original Nintendo DS games and their stable of cute creatures. Like Nintendo’s other venerable series Mario and Zelda, which are celebrating their 35th anniversary, Pokémon is becoming cross-generational, as players who first enjoyed these adventures on monochrome Game Boys have children of their own.
Pokémon is one of the world’s bestselling video games series, selling more than 368m copies across all its many titles as of March 2020. It has remained popular since surging to the forefront of pop culture in the late 1990s, and then again in 2016, when Niantic’s Pokémon Go had millions roaming their neighbourhoods catching critters on smartphones.
• This article was corrected on 27 February 2021. Pokémon has sold more than 368m copies across its titles, not 368; the new games are Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, not Shining Diamond and Brilliant Pearl; and New Pokémon Snap is a sequel, not a remake.