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Nintendo drags Pokémon into the modern age with Pokémon X and Y

Nintendo pushed its monster battling series kicking and screaming into the year 1996 on Tuesday, announcing Pokémon X and Pokémon Y for the Nintendo 3DS, the very first Pokémon games to use fully polygonal graphics. It’s not just the environments that are wrought in three-dimensions this time out. The Pokémon, the battles, the characters, everything: These games are as 3D as Super Mario 64. It’s only taken Nintendo and Pokémon studio Game Freak seventeen years to make it happen!

Shiny new graphics aren’t the only changes Nintendo is bringing to the new game. During the Nintendo Direct announcement of the games on Tuesday morning, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata detailed some of the new beasts that will feature in the games. As is common for new entries in the mainline Pokémon games, Pokémon X/Y have three new frighteningly adorable monsters to start the adventure with. Among them are Fennekin, a sort of fiery dog, Froakie, a blue, skeptical-looking frog, and Chespin, what looks like an overly cheerful squirrel wearing a helmet made of lawn shavings. Also, as is common with main series games, there are two new legendary Pokémon, one for each new game. Iwata did not specify how many total Pokémon would be in the new game.

The most interesting part of the announcement, though, wasn’t the game’s new look or the new monsters that will be featured in the game. Nintendo said that for the first time in the Pokémon series’ history, Pokémon X/Y will see a simultaneous global launch in October 2013. In the past, new Pokémon games were released in Japan and only released in the US and Europe months after the fact. In the 1990s during the first Pokémon boom, this saw many US retailers selling imported games for the first time. Now, though, the US, Europe, and Japan will all get the games at the same time.

There’s still a great deal about the new games that’s unknown, though. While Nintendo is modernizing the presentation of Pokémon with these new games, it didn’t say whether or not Pokémon X/Y would have new online features. Many players have begged for a Pokémon game that offered more complex online play than basic battles and Pokémon training. For now, people will have to wait for Nintendo to discuss what other ways the series will evolve in 2013.

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