by Jessica Pahutski – Staff Editor
Pokemon Sun and Moon might have come out last year, which is nothing to ignore. In hindsight, the latest installment in a 20-year-old franchise had a long and complicated prerelease cycle.
On February 26, 2016, rumors about a third game in the Kalos region were shattered upon the announcement of a “seventh generation” on sale later that year. I watched the reveal live on the bus to school that day and probably freaked out the people in front of me with barely-contained excitement. Overall, we knew the title and a rough release date narrowed down using three different press releases. At first, that was to be expected. On March 12, a Japanese magazine known as Corocoro promised news the following month.
What occurred with that following issue defies words. All it had was a bright white silhouette of the game box covers. Even when it claimed nothing could be made of this, fans quickly pointed to the rough outline of a lion’s mane and a bat’s wing. Overall, an absolute joke, only no one was laughing. This mess cheesed everyone right off, cultural dissonance or not. A once-vital resource of info on new games lost a chunk of its reputation in one day. It had been nearly two months since announcement and nothing had gone public aside from some mysterious trademark names.
On the morning of May 10, fans all over the world awoke to a coconut owl, fire kitten, and sea lion dominating the discussion. Rowlet, Litten and Popplio, respectively, immediately gained a following. Locations based on Hawaii added to the sudden emergence of useful info, with more promised on June 2. Wishes came true on those days and at the Electronic Entertainment Expo later that month. As June turned into July, it all would come crashing down for some.
I found out about the July 1 trailer’s content early, as the Japanese version had leaked online. Such an event would happen repeatedly later on to increasingly ridiculous results. When I saw there were no new characters or locations, everything went numb. Though deep down I liked most of those shown, the game did not feel earned or spread out evenly with people or places. Trailers came and went with the same result until August 1. For the first time since early June, something interesting happened. Four new characters and their locations came out at last. However, everything went back to “normal” soon afterwards. Disappointment continued for the rest of August and into the following month.
September 6 began like any other reveal day. The content of that reveal sparked a revival in interest for the game. New characters and plot info made my eyes light up at last. However, the specter of summer underreporting would spring up again just a week later. Corocoro revealed two “Ultra Beasts” on the 12th to some speculation and the next show was set for 6:00 on the 14th. While the Japanese version came out on time, the English one was completely AWOL. No less than forty minutes of repeatedly checking forums, fan sites and the official YouTube channel turned up nothing. Three hours later, the 41-second-long clip dropped with no explanation for its lateness.
After that speed bump sent me flying, exactly one month before the games hit shelves stateside, a downloadable demo went public. Despite the developer’s best efforts to block it, names and designs lay wide open in the source code. As an extra dose of irony, short clips at the end gave players a peek at previously unknown characters and locations. The rest of the month was much better than that, making all of it seem out of place. Partially because literally everything was out due to more hacking, I decided to order Moon off Amazon a week before November 18 rolled around. On that day, I found that overhype exists.