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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 coming to Nintendo DS, and why that's not a bad thing

Everyone knew another Pokemon game was coming, but it may not be what people expected.

On "Pokemon Smash," a popular Japanese television program, Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 were announced to come out in June in Japan and sometime in the United States. These two games are obviously sequels to the popular games that have sold millions of copies worldwide for the Nintendo DS.

Typically each generation of Pokemon games will release in two colors, with an enhanced remake releasing afterward. Pokemon Gold and Silver was remade into Crystal, while Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire was remade into Emerald. The common thought was the next game would be Pokemon Grey, a remake of Black and White. Nope. Not yet anyway.

Here's another twist in this announcement: These sequels will not be released on the Nintendo 3DS. Instead, it will be released on Nintendo's older handheld. Why would Pokemon developer Game Freak and Nintendo opt for the DS? Well, it has sold more than 150 million worldwide, so the opportunity to sell more software is greater there. The 3DS is at 15 million units in its short lifespan.

Yes, Pokemon is a system seller, but so far the 3DS is outperforming the DS in sales without this juggernaut franchise. Heck, Nintendo released Black and White on the DS in the same month the 3DS released in North America. Releasing these sequels on the DS kind of tells me Nintendo's not panicking over lackluster 3DS sales anymore. But I'm sure certain analysts out there will predict this will be a bad, bad, bad move on Nintendo's part.

Besides, it may be wise for Nintendo to not release all their big guns at once this early in the 3DS lifespan. We've already been spoiled with Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land. Kid Icarus: Uprising is coming in March and a 2D side-scrolling Mario game is in the works. Don't forget about Paper Mario and Luigi's Mansion 2 either. You can't eat the whole cake at once; you got to savor it piece by piece.

No doubt a traditional Pokemon game will be coming to the 3DS but fear not, you will be able to play these sequels - just like all DS games - on Nintendo's new handheld. More details will be released as time goes on.

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