Recently, the internet was set aflame by a series of rumors about the upcoming Pokémon game for Nintendo Switch. For those who are unaware, last year during Nintendo’s E3 presentation, president and CEO of The Pokémon Company Tsunekazu Ishihara announced that “Game Freak has begun developing a core RPG Pokémon title on Nintendo Switch,” and that “it may not release for more than a year.” That was all the information that was given at the time and no new information has been revealed since. Naturally, this has led to a plethora of rumors and “leaks” pertaining to this new game. Most of these rumors were obvious fakes, but one rumor in particular has been gaining a ton of traction lately, and that is the rumor of Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s Go! Eevee.
Why are rumors about these games seen as potentially more legitimate than all these other rumors? Well, that question requires a long explanation. Let’s start from the beginning. Back in March, a 4chan post by a user called Real Leaks gave a bunch of details about these supposed games. There were a lot of reasons to not take this initial post seriously. For one thing, it was posted on 4chan, which doesn’t exactly give a ton of credibility to the poster, as people post all kinds of ridiculous rumors and supposed “leaks” on there all the time. Also, the poster’s username is “Real Leaks.” Yeah, real inconspicuous. Not to mention that the post was originally posted on March 31, but due to timezone differences, many people saw it posted on April 1, April Fool’s Day. So it was super easy at the time to brush this off as just another rumor that wasn’t real. Looking back, however, the post seems to tie in very well with a number of other alleged leaks that have come out more recently. So let’s look at what exactly the post says. It starts off by saying “Let’s go,” then gives the following bullet points:
- Yellow remakes for Switch
- Two versions, Pikachu and Eevee
- Red and Blue play a role in the story, you and your rival are new trainers
- Following Pokémon return
- HMs still replaced with Pokeride from alola
- Online has a hub for players
- Pokémon Go integration
- Catching Pokémon works like in Go
- Rewards in game and in Go for linking the two together
- New accessory can be used with both Go and the games
- Announcement soon, releasing this year
Looking at this list, there are plenty more reasons to be skeptical. Yet another return to Kanto? Pikachu and Eevee versions? Pokémon GO integration with a mainline game? It doesn’t seem very likely. But now, let’s skip ahead a couple of months…
Yesterday, May 15, is when things started to really take off. Well-known leaker Emily Rogers posted about the Pokémon Switch game on her blog, stating, “As we wait for an announcement on the upcoming Pokémon title, which will be revealed before the end of this month, think about what Pokémon Go might mean for the future of the Pokémon series. I suspect that the naming/branding for this year’s Pokémon Switch title (there’s two versions) might raise a few eyebrows.” Immediately we can see some similarities. Rogers mentions that Pokémon GO could have something to do with the Switch game; Real Leaks discussed GO‘s integration with the games. Rogers states that there will be two versions, rather than one game; Real Leaks stated that there will be a Pikachu and an Eevee version. Rogers says the names and branding of the new games will “raise a few eyebrows”; if Real Leaks is right and these games utilize Pokémon GO and the cover Pokémon are Pikachu and Eevee, rather than the usual Legendaries, that surely would raise a few eyebrows. Some people see Rogers as a credible source, so her blog post was taken more seriously than Real Leaks’ post. However, there are also many people who note that many of Rogers’ past predictions never came to fruition, giving reason to remain skeptical about this whole ordeal. Not to mention the fact that Rogers stays pretty vague in her descriptions of the new game(s), so this blog post on its own isn’t much to go on.
That same day, Real Leaks returned to 4chan to post what is allegedly the logo (above) of Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu Edition while stating that both this game and the Eevee Edition are set to release this fall. Now, if you weren’t inclined to believe Real Leaks’ first post, you’d probably brush off this logo as just a fake as well. However, after this logo reveal, another well-known leaker called Pixelpar tweeted about the logo. Before we get into that, however, here’s a little bit about Pixelpar’s history with the Pokémon Switch game. Back in March, before the original Real Leaks post, Pixelpar lost a bet that resulted in him agreeing to draw out his tweets from that moment forward. Throughout March and April, he posted a number of drawings of Pokémon and Pokémon-related things. After all, the bet that he lost was about if Pokémon Switch would be announced or teased within 30 days of the bet. On May 15, he finally revealed that a lot of his drawings had secretly been clues. In a video compilation of his drawings throughout the two months, we see that he started off with a crude drawing depicting Pokémon Yellow Version, then later drawing Pikachu and Eevee. He even drew a comic with the phrase “Let’s go” in it. Once Real Leaks posted this alleged logo, Pixelpar posted this video, claiming that he had known about Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee all along. He later stated that he started a bet that he knew he would lose on purpose so that he could make all these drawings, effectively dropping hints until the games’ leaked May 15 reveal.
Since then, a ton of other alleged leakers, such as Nibel and TheGamerBird, among others, have begun posting things about Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee. So why do so many people perceive these rumors to be more legitimate than the ton of other Pokémon Switch rumors we’ve gotten over the past year? Nobody really knows who Real Leaks is, so he/she shouldn’t have much credibility. Both Emily Rogers and Pixelpar are well-known leakers, but like many well-known leakers, they’ve gotten some things right and some things wrong, so their credibilities are shaky at best. So now let’s get into some of the reasons why these rumors in particular are being taken more seriously.
For one thing, people just seem to be impressed that a number of leakers seem to all agree on these leaks, whereas leakers usually operate pretty individually, making their own predictions based on their own supposed sources. But when it comes to Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee, we have Real Leaks, Emily Rogers, Pixelpar and a number of others all leaking similar information. It would be easy to explain this away, however, by assuming that Pixelpar and Real Leaks are in cahoots with each other (or may even be the same person, who knows?) and then realizing that Rogers’ blog post was vague enough to just happen to fit in with what the other two have leaked. Then, all the other leakers who’ve jumped on board could just be piggybacking off of these three in an attempt to increase their own credibility.
There is still one more leak we should discuss before jumping into some other things, though. Some of you may remember that on March 31, a supposed screenshot of Pokémon Switch was leaked that featured the player character riding a Lapras. The image is below, for those of you who have yet to see it.
When this image was first leaked, many fans were upset that the graphics appear to be more or less the same as those in Pokémon Sun and Moon, rather than being completely revamped graphics for the Switch. However, this image makes a lot more sense when taking Real Leaks’ original post into consideration. For one thing, if this game is a remake of sorts, then it would make sense that the graphics haven’t been terribly improved. Pokémon remakes always contain the graphics of the current Generation rather than having next-Gen graphics. FireRed and LeafGreen were released during Gen III and had the same graphics as Ruby and Sapphire. HeartGold and SoulSilver were released during Gen IV and had the same graphics as Diamond and Pearl. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were released during Gen VI and had the same graphics as X and Y. So it would make sense that if Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee are remakes or re-imaginings of Yellow, as Real Leaks states, then they would have the same graphics as Sun and Moon. Furthermore, upon the image being leaked, many stated that the area seems to resemble Route 21 from Kanto, which further backs up the claim that these games take place in Kanto. Also, though the image is blurry, you can vaguely make out an Eevee perched atop the player character’s head, which would seem to coincide with Real Leaks’ claims about the return of the Pokémon-following-its-trainer mechanic, as well as the option to have Eevee follow you, whereas in the original Yellow only Pikachu could follow you. Real Leaks also states that catching Pokémon in these games will be like Pokémon GO, and we see that in this image as well, with Pokémon appearing in the overworld, the way they do in GO, rather than appearing in random encounters. Lastly, we see the player character riding on Lapras in a style similar to the PokéRides from Alola, just like Real Leaks stated.
Coincidentally (or perhaps not coincidentally), this image was leaked right around the time that Real Leaks made his/her original post about Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee. But where did this leak come from? Well, it turns out that the one who leaked the image was none other than Pixelpar. So yeah, a lot of alleged leaks about the new Pokémon game seem to coincide with each other, but they also all seem to come from the same few sources, namely Real Leaks, Pixelpar and, to some degree, Emily Rogers. Basically, these leaks are only as valid as you perceive these three leakers to be.
But now let’s talk about some non-leaked information that some believe is tied into all this. First of all, back in 2016, long-time Pokémon director, producer, designer and composer Junichi Masuda stated in an interview that he wants to connect Pokémon GO with the main series games in some way. He said, “We want people who picked up Pokémon and learned about it through Pokémon Go to also play Sun and Moon and the main series games. We want to have a kind of way to connect the two, or have a way for people who enjoyed one to enjoy some of their progress in the other. But that will definitely come down the road.” Many have used this interview to validate the rumors that Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee, if real, will utilize Pokémon GO in some way or another.
Fans have also noticed an abundance of attention spent on Eevee lately. This comes in the form of a new line of products in Japan featuring both Eevee and Pikachu, as well as the recent creation of the Twitter page Project Eevee, which shares videos and pictures of Eevee, including the Pokémon’s trips to various Japanese businesses. Pikachu, as the series mascot, already has all the attention it needs, but people think that all this new attention that Eevee is getting is an attempt to set the stage for Pokémon Let’s Go! Eevee alongside the Pikachu version.
— 増田順一@GAME FREAK inc. (@Junichi_Masuda) May 11, 2018
Another non-leak that has gotten fans talking is a Tweet made by Masuda just days before all the supposed leaks came out on May 15. This Tweet simply shows someone, probably Masuda, holding a plush PokéBall in front of three other plushies. These three plush toys are Pikachu, Eevee and a Pikachu dressed as Luigi. This is another example of Pikachu and Eevee being seen together, but given that these are two incredibly popular Pokémon (even if one has more popularity as the series mascot), it very well could be nothing. However, some fans, adamant on believing the leaks, claim that there is more to this picture than meets the eye. Some claim that the Pikachu dressed as Luigi is supposed to be a stand-in for the phrase “Let’s go!” One of Mario and Luigi’s catchphrases is “Let’s-a go!” and some will say that the “L” on Pikachu’s hat stands for “Let’s go!” Some also think that the way Masuda is holding the PokéBall is supposed to look like the way PokéBalls appear in front of a Pokémon when trying to catch them in Pokémon GO, bringing it all together. It’s all a pretty big stretch if you ask me, but Masuda has been known to give vague clues in the past. Probably the most well-known example of this is when he Tweeted a picture of the moon during the day, mentioning how the sun and moon were out at the same time, just days before Pokémon Sun and Moon were officially announced.
There are still a few more things pertaining to Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee that are worth pointing out. For one thing, one of the most trusted names in Pokémon news, Serebii.net, reported on these rumors. Many people are skeptical of the information supposedly leaked by Real Leaks, Pixelpar and Emily Rogers, but Serebii.net tends to only report on facts and actual news, so even though Serebii.net was sure to also state that these are only rumors and are entirely unconfirmed, the fact that Serebii.net reported on them at all lends them some more credence in the eyes of the Pokémon community.
It’s also worth mentioning that a lot of these “leaks” and rumors state that an announcement is coming soon, with Emily Rogers going as far as to say that there will be an official announcement before the end of this month. This actually seems to be in line with some other information we have. First of all, some may find it weird that this announcement would be made so soon before E3, rather than Nintendo saving such a huge announcement for the event itself. However, huge Pokémon announcements have traditionally been made by The Pokémon Company themselves, rather than by Nintendo, and these announcements are almost never made at E3. In fact, the announcement of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon was made last year just a few days before E3, so it’s entirely possible that this could happen again. Some have also pointed out that back in March, the latest Pokémon Direct stream was removed from Nintendo’s Japanese corporate site. This seems odd at first, until you realize that this is actually part of a trend. Typically, the newest Pokémon Direct stream is removed from this site when a new Pokémon Direct is scheduled within the next month or two. For example, the Pokémon Direct stream that revealed Sun and Moon was removed not long before the stream announcing Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon took place. Since the stream in which Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon was removed in March, many suspect that a new Pokémon Direct stream is due for May. You could easily argue that this discredits Emily Rogers legitimacy as a leaker, since a May Pokémon Direct is something that many in the community have predicted at this point, meaning you don’t have to be a legitimate leaker to provide that information. What this does mean, however, is that we should know if there’s any truth to Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee within the next two weeks. If Emily Rogers and the other leakers and predictors are right, then we’ll get an announcement soon. On the other hand, if we don’t get an announcement before E3, then Rogers, as well as a number of other supposed leakers, will lose their credibility (though many leakers, including Rogers, have gotten information wrong before and still maintain their credibility, go figure) and we can probably safely assume that the Pokémon Let’s Go! games were just rumors concocted by Rogers, Pixelpar and Real Leaks.
However, there is still one last piece of possible evidence. Today (May 16), word started to spread that on May 15, the domain names for both pokemonletsgopikachu.com and pokemonletsgoeevee.com were registered on the same site that Nintendo used to register the website for Pokémon Sun/Moon back in 2016. However, unlike the Sun/Moon website, the Pokémon Let’s Go! websites aren’t registered to Nintendo, but rather to “Domain Administrator.” This could mean a number of things. It’s possible that it could mean that Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee are real and that, after yesterday’s leaks, Nintendo decided to register the domain names before someone else did. It could also mean that the games aren’t real and someone other than Nintendo registered the domain names either to try to sell the rumors more or to somehow capitalize off of them their self (though both sites are currently just blank pages). It’s also worth noting that companies often register domains and trademarks that they don’t intend to actually use, so it’s possible that the games aren’t real, but Nintendo wanted to register the domains anyway to prevent anyone else from registering them for the purposes of making fan games with those names or something. It’s worth pointing out, however, that Sun and Moon were officially announced the day after their website’s domain was registered, so if there’s any legitimacy to Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee, the fact that their domains were registered recently might mean an official announcement is coming very soon.
So there you have it. That’s all the information I could find on the alleged games Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s Go! Eevee. So how are fans reacting to all this information? Well, in a number of different ways. Of course, there are those who are always up for another trip to Kanto, including people who stopped playing Pokémon games after Gen I, those who came back into the fold thanks to Pokémon GO and those who simply love the first Generation more than those that came after. But there are many fans with plenty of grievances as well. Lots of fans are worried that a mainline game in which “Catching Pokémon works like in Go” will mean the dilution of the traditional battle system, replacing it with the tap-fest that is the battle system in Pokémon GO. However, a more likely scenario is that battling Pokémon will still work the same, but the actual act of catching Pokémon will resemble Pokémon GO, with players using the Switch’s touchscreen to throw PokéBalls, or using motion controls when the Switch is docked. Also, if the leaked screenshot is accurate, the mechanic of Pokémon appearing in the overworld rather than in random encounters seems to be something taken from GO. Some fans are more open to these changes, as encountering Pokémon in the overworld would likely cut down on the amount of grinding that is inevitable with random encounters, which often leads to progress being impeded. Still, there are those that simply don’t want Pokémon GO anywhere near their main series games.
There are also plenty of fans who are simply sick of the Kanto region. Generation I took place in Kanto; Gen II had a return to Kanto in the post-game; Gen III saw Kanto again in the Gen I remakes; Gen IV returned to Kanto in the Gen II remakes; Gen VI saw a lot of references to Kanto, including the obtaining of a Kanto starter pretty early on in the game; Pokémon GO started off with only Kanto Pokémon; Gen VII saw even more Kanto references, with the player character coming from Kanto, a main character leaving for Kanto at the end of the games, the Kanto-themed Gym in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the plethora of new forms for Kanto Pokémon and the fact that Giovanni is the leader of Team Rainbow Rocket. There has been SO MUCH KANTO, and a lot of fans want to just leave it behind already and move on with Gen VIII, or at least Gen IV remakes. However, if Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee are real and actually act more as re-imaginings of or sequels to Yellow with a new story and even a new version of Kanto, maybe it will be more fresh than a lot of people think.
Regardless of how people feel about the games, as of right now they’re still only rumors, and though the internet has seemed to collectively decide that they are more legitimate than most other Pokémon Switch rumors, there are plenty of reasons to remain skeptical. All these leaks could just be entirely fabricated by supposed leakers looking for attention. The new attention being showered upon Eevee could be due to the fact that Eevee is and always has been a very popular Pokémon. The registering of domain names could just be Nintendo protecting their copyright on Pokémon with no actual intent on using those names for games. The whole thing is pretty up in the air right now. Until we get an official announcement from Nintendo, Game Freak or The Pokémon Company, the only official information is that there will be a Pokémon game for the Switch and it will come out in 2018 or later.