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How will Pokémon celebrate its 25th anniversary?

How will the Pokémon Company celebrate their 25th anniversary? We have a few ideas.

While the date February 27, 1996, might not seem like much on its own, it would be a day that would change the gaming landscape forever. On that unsuspecting Tuesday almost twenty five years ago, a little game released on the Gameboy would go on to become one of the bestselling videogame franchises of all time.

Pokémon, or Pocket Monsters as it’s called in Japan, was an immediate success, and it wasn’t long before Pikachu and the other 149 monsters became household names all over the world. Today, with over 700 Pokémon and countless spin-off games, movies, TV shows, and a trading card game, Pokémon remains one of Nintendo’s most popular IPs, and the recent installments, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, are some of the best games available on Nintendo Switch, as well as some of the best RPGs on the system.

As Nintendo gears up to celebrate Pokémon’s 25th anniversary, we can’t help but wonder how it will be celebrated. Will we get new games? A remake? Or something different entirely? Nintendo is currently going all out to celebrate Mario’s 35th anniversary, so we can only assume that their blockbuster monster-collecting franchise will receive the same treatment. We’ll take a look at what has already been announced to celebrate the occasion, and what we think is on the horizon.

Pokémon 25th Anniversary: Plenty to celebrate

You’d be lying if you said you didn’t have a memory of Pokémon. Whether it’s karaoke singing the anime’s catchy theme songs or crushing the Elite Four for the first time, Pokémon has been a major presence in the lives of many who grew up in the 1990s and 2000s, especially if you were a gamer. To kick off the 25th anniversary festivities, the Pokémon Company International launched a campaign that will feature music from a series of musical guests that include rising artists and award-winning global superstars. The first of those artists is none other than American Sweetheart, Katy Perry.

While the Pokémon 25th anniversary website alludes to more Pokémon gear, we actually don’t know everything that’s in store, but they did confirm some goodies for the anniversary. We know that we’ll see a 25th anniversary line of Pokémon Cards, titled the First Partner Pack, to commemorate the event, and a special edition binder. We can also expect hordes of new plushies, t-shirts, figurines and more, including a limited edition skateboard.

For Pokemon’s 20th anniversary in 2016, there were many distribution events throughout the year that gave away many level 100 Mythical Pokémon for Pokémon X & Y, as well as Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Chances are we can expect the same distribution treatment for Pokémon Go and Pokémon Sword and Shield this time around. Judging from Pokémon Go’s popularity and stream of steady updates, I’m sure there will be many unique events in that game as well.

Pokémon 25th Anniversary: The series is still evolving

But what’s in the pipeline on the videogame side of things? During Pokémon’s 20th anniversary celebration, both Pokkén and Pokémon Go were released, and there were many crossover events in games like Super Mario Maker and Splatoon to mark the occasion. So far, we’ve received a new trailer for New Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo Switch, the sequel to the N64’s Pokémon Snap.

What other announcements can we expect? Nintendo has been pretty quiet about its upcoming free to play MOBA Pokémon Unite since they announced it during a Pokémon Presents presentation back in June 2020. While the announcement may have generated more negative backlash than they may have expected, a reintroduction during Pokemon’s 25th anniversary seems more than likely.

We also haven’t heard much about Detective Pikachu and its sequel either. While the game was released late in the Nintendo 3DS’s life span, it spawned a live-action movie adaptation, and a sequel was announced for the Nintendo Switch that promised a conclusion to the original game’s cliffhanger ending. The 25th anniversary seems like a perfect opportunity to check in on the gumshoe Pokémon.

There are also plenty of crossover opportunities in Nintendo’s other properties, like Splatoon 2, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Nintendo celebrated Mario’s anniversary with similar crossovers in addition to the announcement of Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. Considering the 3DS saw the original Pokémon games re-released during Pokémon’s 20th anniversary, maybe we’ll see older Pokémon titles show up on the Switch. Hey You, Pikachu, anyone?

Pokémon 25th Anniversary: A return to the Sinnoh region?

Speaking of revisiting classics, there’s a good chance we might see a remake of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl announced as part of Pokémon’s 25th anniversary celebration. There’s nothing confirmed as of this writing, but there is some evidence to support the idea. For one, the last true remake of the core series was Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire on the 3DS. Since Diamond and Pearl followed Ruby and Sapphire, it would make sense if the Sinnoh region was the next area to receive a proper remake.

It would make sense if the Sinnoh region was the next area to receive a proper remake.

Rumors have been circulating for years about a Diamond and Pearl remake, but just recently, Centro Pokémon, a popular Pokémon fansite, claims that a credible source told them that a reveal of the remake will happen sometime in February to coincide with the 25th anniversary celebration. We don’t know much about the Nintendo Switch’s release lineup beyond March, so the timing would makes alot of sense.

Finally, if we look at the recent Pokémon Snap trailer, you’ll notice that there are a good amount of fourth generation Pokémon on display. Coincidence? Maybe, but what better way to generate hype than to place that generation’s Pokémon front and center in an upcoming release. Pokémon’s 25th anniversary culminating in a full remake of one of the series favorites would make many fans very happy.

Pokémon 25th Anniversary: 25 years and counting

Pokémon has been a large presence in my life as I’m sure it’s been for many videogame fans. Whether your introduction to the series was by trading cards at school or catching them with your phone, the series seems poised to deliver more family-friendly experiences that capture the attention of both new and old fans alike.

As we march through 2021 and wait for Nintendo to confirm more Pokémon goodness, it’s nice to think about the many directions the Pokémon series can go. From fighting games to adventure titles, Pokémon seems to have done it all, but what would you like to see to celebrate Pokémon’s 25th anniversary? Let us know in the comments.

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