In October of last year, Pokémon X and Y were released for the Nintendo 3DS, launching a frenzy that resulted in sales of 12 million for the games.
Since then, interest in the games has been pretty tepid, with no help from Nintendo whatsoever. After the bungled release of Pokémon Bank, the online service where you could store Pokemon and transfer them between games, there has been near-radio silence regarding the series, except for the upcoming film Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction.
Then, like some kind of super stealth Santa Claus, Nintendo announced the release of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the 3DS remakes of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the third generation games released in 2003. The games will be released in November, a year after the release of X and Y.
Fans will only have to wait six months for the worldwide release of the remakes, compared to the ten month wait for X and Y. There is also the thirteen month difference between this and the last release. Considering the capabilities of the 3DS, specifically the ability to download updates, Nintendo could be forgiven for simply pumping out updates to X and Y and extending the game’s shelf life with a whole bunch of DLC (new Mega Stones would be nice). Instead, it seems like they are moving on quickly to the remakes, practically leaving X and Y in the dust. Why?
Maybe Omega Ruby and Aqua Sapphire will be the true Pokémon 3DS games?
The remakes were practically confirmed back in 2013, as we edged closer to the release of the sixth generation games. When the new Mega Evolution mechanic was announced in June, one of the first Pokémon to receive one was Blaziken, one of the final starter evolutions from Ruby and Sapphire and arguably one of the most popular Pokémon in the series. It was even the star of the first event distribution for the generation: players could download a Torchic, with the Hidden Ability Speed Boost, that carried the Blazikenite that allowed it to mega evolve. If you used Torchic in the X and Y games, you could see that he was not a part of the regional Pokédex (his number replaced with ???). This essentially means that Torchic wasn’t part of the original gameplay, an Easter egg of sorts. While the inclusion of Torchic spoke to the potential of more Mega Evolutions through game updates, it now seems a primer for the remakes. I mean, imagine a Mega Swampert or Mega Sceptile?
X and Y were also ripe with references to Hoenn, the third generation’s region, if you looked closely. There was one character in particular who talked about a faraway land you could would be able to visit soon enough.There were also a number of Hoenn Pokémon present in the Kalos Pokédex, including Zigzagoon, Zangoose, Seviper and Bagon, all of which were available early in the game. It could explain why there was such a low number of new Pokémon introduced this generation, only 70. It wouldn’t make much sense to throw out 100+ new Pokémon if they wouldn’t be featured in the Hoenn remakes until the postgame.
One more thing, that hasn’t even been announced yet: Mega Latios and Mega Latias. Back when X and Y were released, someone revealed through hacking the existence of a bunch of unreleased Pokémon, including the recently announced Diancie. They also revealed what appeared to be a Mega Evolution of Latios and Latias, the third generation’s roaming Pokémon. While Nintendo has remained mum, it doesn’t seem like merely a coincidence that twos of the Hoenn legendaries would have a Mega Evolution baked into the games, albeit hidden. Remember, the only other legendary Pokémon so far to have a Mega is Mewtwo.
It seems to me that X and Y, while excellent games in their own right, may have been a stepping stone to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. All of the hints and easter eggs are too plentiful and purposeful to be coincidental. These remakes were on the table for a long time, by logic alone; the third generation is the only one not remade for a modern audience. X and Y were a test of what Pokémon was capable of in a 3DS, digital download over cartridge, hyper-connected world. With all of the feedback that Nintendo received from those games, as well as Ruby and Sapphire’s truly excellent storyline, the upcoming remakes could very well be the true star of the sixth generation.
Bow down to Groudon.