Pokémon X & Pokémon Y Coming to Nintendo 3DS in October

Today, Nintendo held its first Nintendo Direct of 2013. Or rather, as they call it, “Pokémon Direct,” as it focuses exclusively on the hit franchise. Nintendo Co. Ltd. President Satoru Iwata kicks off the ten-minute video presentation with a look back at the history of the core games in the franchise, including the innovations the series has brought, such as the Wireless Adapter and the Pokéwalker.

But the big news comes when he announces the next two installments in the popular franchise, Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, are coming to the Nintendo 3DS with a worldwide (sort of) release this October. Iwata notes that since the beginning, there has always been a delay between the Japanese and Western releases of these titles, but that this installment will be available in Japan, the Americas, Europe, and Australia at about the same time (different regions release new games on different days, so there might be a slight gap– better than the months-long waits of the past, at least).

Iwata goes on to point out the challenges they’ve faced before in localizing the games in a timely manner while meeting the needs of each region and maintaining a standard of quality. This time, he says, they’ve managed to overcome those challenges, hence the release across multiple countries at once.

From there, he states that Pokémon has always taken advantage of the release of new hardware, and that Pokémon X and Pokémon Y will be no different, incorporating the new hardware features of the Nintendo 3DS into their gameplay. Most notable is that the game is going fully-3D, apparently abandoning the 2D artwork which has been prevalent in the series for so very long.

In the company’s press release, The Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara stated that “The worldwide launch of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y this October allows players to begin their adventures at the same time. Now, Pokémon fans across the globe can discover the secrets of Pokémon games and can collect, battle, and trade with each other immediately.”

“We brought Pokémon into an entirely new dimension and we’re incredibly excited to bring Pokémon X and Pokémon Y to fans,” added Junichi Masuda, video game director at GAME FREAK inc. “The stunning visuals, a completely redesigned environment, game scenario, music, and communication features will bring smiles to the faces of video game players around the world.”

Pokémon X and Pokémon Y will be the blueprint for an exciting array of new animation, Pokémon TCG, and toys debuting around the world,” the press release notes.

All said, it’s surprising to hear this announcement so soon after the release of Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 late last year. Admittedly, this makes it sound as though Nintendo is looking at taking a “Catch ‘Em All of Duty”-style approach with the franchise, which could cause some worry. However, from the footage we’ve seen, it seems that Pokémon X and Pokémon Y will mark a significant leap forward, much more than last year’s iterations were.

With that said, if Nintendo is willing to give so much Pokémon to its fans in such a short period of time, perhaps they might consider giving us some more New Super Mario Bros. or Super Mario 3D Land before the generation runs its course?

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David Oxford

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