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Why Pokken Tournament is the best thing to happen to the series for over a decade

  1. Doctor Oak

    Staff Member Overlord

    The concept of the guys at Namco Bandai's Tekken coming together with The Pokemon Company/Nintendo to build a Pokemon version of Tekken is, on paper, so insane sounding that despite multiple indications over the past year that exactly that was happening, even the most open minded of us found it hard to commit to the theory.

    So it probably doesn't really add up that I would espouse that the upcoming, actually being made, game could possibly be the best thing the series has done since the height of the original launch. But I am.

    Some of the wide, wide range of Pokemon today. [Source]
    That's not to imply that the on-going march of games, tv shows, movies, toys, manga and trading cards are any less significant - but remember that every single major element of those core pillars of the franchise have continued relatively unchanged since the series first exploded into the worldwide multimedia beast we all know and love at the end of the 90s. We have had some pretty major moments in video games outside of the main series - the N64 Stadium and Gamecube Colosseum/Gale of Darkness titles being especially important - but, as it should be, those were primarily supplementary to the main series and don't really exist separately enough to chalk out their own division.

    What Pokken Tournament brings to the table that none of what has evolved from the franchise's core elements has done so far, is a genuinely new branch that opens up an exciting new world for the series. This isn't like Smash Bros - a fighting game that features Pokemon - this is a real arcade tournament fighter starring Pokemon.

    There's a fair amount of understandable consternation at the announcement that the game will, so far, only be released in Japanese Arcades. But that's actually a very good thing. Firstly, there's literally no chance that this won't see a Western release - the trademarks were filed all over the world over the past year and we even saw the Pokemon Company International uploading an English language trailer for the game immediately after announcement in Japan today. The game is coming to the West, and it's almost definitely coming to the Wii U (and it wouldn't surprise me to see it on the 3DS as well). No-one is going to be leaving money on the table with this one, so while it may take a frustrating amount of time, it will come nonetheless.

    Although often limited to sideline amusements in bowling alleys here in the West, arcade gaming is not only still massively popular in Japan, it's at the core of the competitive fighting game community in the country.

    However, to be specifically announced with the intention of putting this in arcade cabinets next to Street Fighter, Soul Calibur and Tekken, the point is made clear: this is not a throw-away effort. This is about taking the much loved Pokemon characters and delivering a genuine tournament-level fighting game to stand alongside the best in the world. We can infer that from the intent to focus on the arcade release as, by far, this is still the biggest arena for competitive fighting games in Japan; by the gameplay trailer that highlights the move sets of Lucario and Machamp with a level of toe-to-toe brawling action that stands up well against its partially-shared namesake; and by the fact that one of the 3 biggest, dedicated tournament fighting game development teams in the entire world are working on it.

    Namco Bandai also sprinkled a shedload of Nintendo-themed fun on top of their Wii U release of Tekken Tag Tournament last year - one of the earliest fruits of their increasingly close relationship with Nintendo as part of Smash Bros' development.

    That same team were drafted in to help bring us this year's Smash Bros games, and you can be guaranteed that this game has evolved from that deal. My suspicion would almost certainly be that the guys at Namco Bandai have, like plenty of us, often imagined what a true fighting game starring Pokemon would really be like after a taste of the party fighting in Smash Bros and that this game genuinely comes from a place of great love and respect to deliver that ideal.

    The reason why, if they really do deliver, Pokken Tournament could lay claim to such a lofty title as the one I've ascribed in the headline, is because a serious tournament-level fighting game starring Pokemon would develop a whole new competitive community within the franchise. Such competitive communities are, undoubtedly, part of the lifeblood of the series at this stage in its life. Yes, there is a very defined 'basic' audience of young children that the series will inevitably rotate through for the rest of time, but it's the competitive communities that keep the franchise alive in the older fans. You don't need to look very far to see how true that is - just over a week after thousands of people descended upon Washington for this year's Pokemon Worlds Championship and thousands more watched Korea's Se Jun Park win the adults-only Masters video game championship with a Pachirisu.

    Thousands of people watching other fans playing a children's card game. World class sports teams have had smaller turnouts.

    Competitive communities are why the Pokemon TCG is not only still around, but more popular than ever. They're why Nintendo are releasing a Gamecube Controller adapter for Smash Bros Wii U. And crucially for Pokken Tournament, they're why so many people descend upon the EVO tournament fighting championships every year that Nintendo not only had to take notice at Super Smash Bros' popularity at the tournament, they have now completely embraced it.

    Pokken Tournament promises to not simply be a new spin off game to pass the time while we wait for the next main series title - it stands to be a third competitive pillar alongside the main GameFreak games and the TCG. It wouldn't even be unreasonable to see it also featuring at Worlds in due course and even eventually EVO.

    This is the first time since the late 90s that the Pokemon franchise has actually produced a genuinely new layer of their increasing dominance. That's, frankly, even more notable than if Ichihara-San had announced Generations VII through IX all at once today. Our Pokemon world just got a little bit bigger - and it's about time, too.
    #1 Doctor Oak, Aug 26, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
    Sy Kage, Linkachu, Flygonn and 9 others like this.


Discussion in 'Pokécharms News' started by Doctor Oak, Aug 26, 2014.

    1. AzureEdge
      I was really surprised at this announcement.
      First it was on nico nico, where I usually see Namco doing their live streams.I also heard rumors about a tales of series (just with tales of characters) mash over tekken game that might happen in the future and then I got really excited.
      I've gotta say Namco is going to mash games with everything they have. They already did a huge crossover with capcom and sega,project x zone.
      Just like you said,I think this is a new leap for the franchise, to actually have their own fast paced fighting game. My hopes for the game is to see a playable gallade.
      This will probably come to the west in a couple of years. *fingers crossed*
    2. theclownfish
      im amazed and excited. so many games that im excited for to be released! however ive never played tekken but i have played one of the soulcalibur games which seems similar. however i hope it can be for household consoles and not just arcades...
    3. Jhan Garc
      Jhan Garc
      This is indeed far more notable than 3 Generations at once. The Pokemon franchise is growing even more now! It's not only limited to RPG's,and this game surely increase our love for Pokemon even more.
    4. Alllukario
      I will surely wait for Gardevoir to be a playable character in that awesome game.
    5. TheChaoticNerd
      swampert should be playable as well as blaziken and sceptile
    6. baratron
      This isn't the sort of game I enjoy playing, but I welcome it anyway since it's the first time I've ever seen the people who make Pokemon actually standing up to take notice of their adult fans. It's one thing having a division for adults in the Video Game and TCG Championships, and quite another to make a game which is firmly pitched at an older audience.

      I live in hope of a Skyrim-style full open world Pokemon adventure one day existing :8B:.
    7. The Voltagonist
      The Voltagonist
      If that ever happens, I will die a happy man.
    8. Keleri
      I'm hopeful that we'll see a port of this one, I wonder what pokemon we'll end up having as playable characters. Someone on reddit whipped up a comparison to existing Tekken characters and I lol'ed.

      Yeah, basically when I say that "I want a Pokemon MMO", I mean "I want Skyrim but with Pokemon and optional Co-op".
      baratron likes this.
    9. The Voltagonist
      The Voltagonist
      I'm pretty pumped to see this come out in the Americas. I love 1v1 Fighter games, and after playing Pokemon Type-Wild, (fan-game) I'm very enthusiastic to see this game transfer over from the arcades towards our direction.

      Am I overly excited for this? ;_;
    10. SwiftNinetalez
      I love Pokken Tournament, I can't wait for it to be released in other countries. :D Has my favorite pokemon, Lucario.
    11. J-bot
      i know this game to be released in the U.S. and i know that because why would they make a English trailer for a Japanese only game?
      (also add some psychic types like mewtwo and gallade, i know there will be more than just fighting types)
    12. Skyspoink
      I want Pangoro and Medicham

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