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What was ‘Pokémon Stars?’: Everything we know about the rumored Switch game

'Pokémon Stars' development reportedly pivots to a new game

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With the Nintendo Switch burning up the sales charts in its first nine months, lots of early adopters have one question on their minds: When will we get a proper, new Pokémon game?

We know that a new role-playing Pokémon game is in development for Nintendo Switch, but The Pokémon Company has been tight-lipped on just what that game is going to look like. Here is what we know about Pokémon for Nintendo Switch, including official announcements as well as reports and rumors.

Is it an HD remake of Pokémon Sun and Moon … or something more?

In December 2017, Eurogamer reported that Nintendo ultimately decided to develop an all-new Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch, instead of its initial plan to release an enhanced port.

Nintendo decided against an upgraded port for the Switch due to the new console’s strong sales figures, reassuring them that they didn’t need to rush the game out the door. Instead, development apparently began on a new Pokémon game in late 2016, and the game is scheduled to be revealed in 2018.

The decision to alter development was reportedly also made, in part, to continue supporting the 3DS alongside the Switch. Though development of most of Nintendo’s lineup has shifted to the Switch, recent titles like Monster Hunter Stories and Metroid: Samus Returns have released as 3DS exclusives, keeping the dedicated handheld relevant more than six years after it launched, and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon released in 2017.

Rumors surrounding a Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch date back to November 2016. Eurogamer reported that Nintendo planned to release Pokémon Sun and Moon for the Switch as a new title code-named Pokémon Stars. It’s not the first time two Pokémon games have later been followed by a third, updated version — it happened with Pokémon Yellow coming after Red and Blue, and Pokémon Platinum succeeding Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.

According to the report, Pokemon Stars would launch in 2017, featuring the same map as Sun and Moon, but with new, higher-resolution art assets. The game would also include new Pokémon that didn’t appear in the first two games, with Pokémon being tradable between all three titles with the Pokémon Bank app. The story also noted shots from the Pokemon Sun and Moon announcement trailer, which shows developers working on 3D models for Sun and Moon that are far beyond the rendering capabilities of the New Nintendo 3DS.

In the meantime, there is a Pokémon game available on the Switch, Pokkén Tournament DX, which is an enhanced version of the fighting game originally released on Wii U. It was never as popular as the main role-playing games, but it developed a modest esports following supported by the 2017 Pokkén Tournament Championship Series.

It’s unlikely that the majority of the ideas for Pokémon Stars will make their way into Pokémon for Nintendo Switch. In fact, they’re likely two entirely different titles, and we expect the Switch game to have changed substantially over time. If Eurogamer’s report is correct, we should know more in 2018.

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