Eleven Predictions for the January Pokémon Direct

Save State: Game On Jan 07, 2020

It’s Direct season!

Perhaps, though, this isn’t the Direct announcement you were expecting. It certainly seems like it wasn’t the one most were, to be fair — but it does make a fair bit of sense.

In 2018, we received Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee and Let’s Go Pikachu alongside the Poké Ball Plus accessory. In 2019, the first main-series Pokémon titles made their way to Switch with Sword and Shield.

In our review, we found that the art design and streamlining of the newest titles elevated them to some of the highest points of the series.

Now, we’re speculating again. What’s the 2020 announcement? Will there be more than one? Will it be a new game or a remake? We have eleven predictions for the January 9 Direct, ranging from the safe to the slightly absurd.

(We also don’t expect all of these to happen, that’d be unprecedented and wouldn’t make sense for a 20-minute presentation. We’re just giving plenty of space for us to get things right, or more likely, screw things up)

1: New Content for “Pokémon GO”

Pokemon GO Official Art/Niantic

PREDICTION METER: Low Risk
Against all odds, Pokémon GO has stayed fairly popular beyond its 2016 viral debut. Not only will you still find people playing it on the bus regularly, it’s been getting a consistent stream of content since release. 20 minutes feels like a long time for a single-license Direct, and this is a good way to fill the space.


2: “Pokémon: Rumble Rush” Debuts on Switch as a Free-to-Play eShop Title

Pokemon Rumble Rush Promo Art

PREDICTION METER: Low Risk
Pokémon Quest didn’t make a big impact as a mobile port, so why not try again with a series that was born on a console?

Rumble Rush was released in 2019, so it might be a fairly easy port.


3: Do Some Good Deeds with “Pokémon: Mystery Dungeon: Your Rescue Team”

“Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon” Box Art

PREDICTION METER: Medium Risk
This has been a largely dormant series since Pokémon: Super Mystery Dungeon was a 3DS bust, but it’s got too much potential to stay silent. Blue Rescue Team is a big source of nostalgia for a lot of people in Nintendo’s target audience now, and it’s a perfect fit on Switch as a roguelite dungeon-crawler. Adding online support would be a big hit too.


4: Shocker: “Pokémon: Sword and Shield” is getting free DLC that adds 150 of the missing Pokémon to the Wild Area, with promises of more

Pokemon Sword/Shield Promo Art

PREDICTION METER: High Risk
This is inspired by the games-as-a-service model. If Pokémon wants Sword and Shield to be the Switch’s Pokémon games for a couple of years, they can release “Pokémon Pack” DLC to the Wild Area. It would be sure to please fans, but is it really that realistic? It would bring an end to the “dexit” complaints for sure.


5: “Pokémon Red and Blue” are headed to the eShop for $5.99 USD and include the wireless additions from the 3DS ports

Pokemon UK/YouTube

PREDICTION METER: Medium Risk
The only thing that makes this somewhat less likely is the inevitability of Game Boy Online for Nintendo Switch Online, but otherwise this feels like an easy thing to do, and Gen 1 Pokémon is always a slam-dunk for fans.


6: “Pokémon: Trading Card Game: Online” is coming to Switch as a port from the iOS app

Pokemon TCG Online/TPCI

PREDICTION METER: Low Risk
Card games were at home on the iPad even back when it first released, and online-exclusive card games like Hearthstone are mega-popular. You’d think it would have made the jump to Switch, but nothing yet. So, why not jumpstart it with Pokémon: TCG Online? Porting the iPad app seems like it would be a no-brainer, and making it Free-to-Start would be ideal for a January release.


7: “Pokémon Showdown” will be acknowledged by Nintendo in their first mention of a fan-game

Pokemon Showdown

PREDICTION METER: High Risk
Time to get bold. Pokémon Showdown, despite all odds, has continued surviving, and the only explanation we can think of is that Game Freak themselves use it to evaluate balancing for the official games. We can see them finally mentioning it, and maybe advertising on the site in the future to redirect any money back to Nintendo while keeping it alive.

This feels like the least likely one on the list though, to be perfectly honest.


8: “Pokémon: TV” will also get ported to the Switch, using the iOS version as their base

Pokemon TV/TPCI

PREDICTION METER: Low Risk
This doesn’t feel like a particularly bold one, considering the iOS app is mobile-friendly and Nintendo has the rights to the content. The Switch is lacking in video apps right now outside of YouTube and Hulu, and this could be a way to kickstart more content arriving.


9: Pokémon’s music catalog will head to streaming services

GAME FREAK/iTunes

PREDICTION METER: High Risk
Japanese games don’t tend to have their soundtracks on streaming services, and Nintendo’s track record is even worse, but it’s time to be bold! Game Freak has the potential to turn away from Nintendo in this part of their marketing, and it would make a lot of people happy. After all, they aren’t bad about getting their music on iTunes


10: New content for Pokémon Masters

Pokemon/DeNA

PREDICTION METER: Low Risk
This feels like another safe one. Masters is still fairly new and likely to get new content, and the 20-minute presentation is going to have smaller announcements.


11: Pokémon’s Sinnoh remakes are revealed, they are part of the “Let’s Go” brand, but we only get logos

Pokemon/GAME FREAK

PREDICTION METER: High Risk
Sinnoh remakes: this is the one people want, without a doubt. We’re expecting an internet outrage after Game Freak announces them as part of the “Let’s Go” brand and unveils no gameplay.

That feels a bit pessimistic in some ways, but Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee was actually pretty solid in a lot of ways. It was very balanced, and while the GO-inspired additions were a bit forced, the game also streamlined catching Pokémon in a way we haven’t seen before or since. While Pokémon fans might want a remake similar to HeartGold/SoulSilver, those days appear to be long-gone.

Generation 4’s aged fairly well regardless, and it might be a better idea to remake the Sinnoh games in a new style rather than in the disappointing style of Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire.

(h/t Johnny)

Patrick Melbourne

641. Editor-In-Chief, College of Sports Media Graduate (2019), Broadcaster for Rogers TV in Barrie.

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