Quite a while ago, I was browsing a video gaming forum and in some discussion about the WiiU there was an animated gif showing a scene from a game rumored to be in the works, a 1-on-1 fighting game involving Pokemon. I didn’t think too much of it, assuming that it would be one way Nintendo would bring Pokémon fans over to the WiiU. There were also some small blurbs about the game talked about at a Pokemon event last year. But E3 came and went without so much as a hint to the game so it was filed away.
Today in conjunction with the popular Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Nintendo dropped a surprise bomb on everyone – not only was the game in the works, it wasn’t intended for the WiiU but for arcades. Called Pokkén Tournament, I may not follow the Pokemon brand at all but even I know that is some big news. While the series isn’t known for action fighting like Tekken, I think it makes perfect sense. It not only appeals to kids but to people who grew up on the series; It also has a character roster ready to go that those players can get behind. Often a lackluster roster kills fighting games.
Also of note, this game is being developed primarily by Bandai Namco. To calm any concerns players might have about the fighting quality of the game, Katsuhiro Harada (Tekken series) and Masaaki Hoshino (Soulcalibur series) are involved with this title. We can assume that many others who have experience in developing Namco’s fighting games are also involved in the development process. I haven’t heard any talk about this yet but given that the graphics look like they are operating on a WiiU(the way the characters are lit as an example), perhaps Namco has put together a special arcade version of the U, which would not be unusual given the history of doing such a thing.
Here is the Pokken Fighters trailer:
I have to wonder what this means for Tekken X Street Fighter, which at E3 was teased to still be in development but without any news about it for a while, it seemed like it had been quietly canceled. Or at least put on the backburner. Where Namco is also working on Tekken 7, it seems like they have a lot on their plate already.
The Big Question For Us: Will This Come to the USA?
As you see at the end of the trailer, they do state in English that it is intended for a release to Japanese arcades in 2015. I reached out to Bandai Namco Amusements America for comment and here is what they said:
“ Unfortunately, I can’t confirm or deny any new games coming over to the US market. At the moment, the only new game we’ve announced/shown is Lost Land Adventure. Stayed tuned for an announcement before IAAPA.”
As usual, the IAAPA tradeshow in November is the time where we can expect all of the big announcements to make their way to our ears. I know for certain that Bandai Namco has something big in the works but whether it was this or a new light-gun (or both) I cannot determine based on the little information we have so far.
I would say that chances are good. We did get Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Unlimited, although that was only as a kit release which wasn’t broadcast very well. Of course given the nature of the fighter genre, I have to imagine that at some point this would get a console release to the WiiU, although the rarity of an arcade exclusive fighter for once would be welcome for operators. We will have to wait and see.