Earlier last week, The Pokémon Company promised shocking news regarding a new Pokémon game. Even earlier than that, they trademarked the name “Pokkén Fighter” and “Pokkén Tournament.” Even before that, fans at the Pokémon Game Show caught a tiny glimpse of a screenshot of Lucario and Blaziken facing each other down, with graphics unlike any existing Pokémon game.
Now we know how the pieces all fit together, as the company has announced “Pokkén Tournament,” a new fighting game made in collaboration with The Pokémon Company and Bandai Namco Games.
The name “Pokkén” is a portmanteau of “Pokémon” and “Tekken,” which tells us all we need to know about the game. It’s an arcade fighting game, featuring Pokémon in combat with more than just four moves, and certainly isn’t turn-based.
The newly-released trailer shows Lucario and Machamp fighting each other, showcasing Lucario’s aura-powered moves and Machamp making use of its four arms. If the screenshot from the Pokémon Game Show is any indication, Blaziken will be on the roster as well.
As of this generation, there are 28 different lines of fighting-type Pokémon (the number would go up significantly if we counted all the Pokémon in each evolutionary line, and this is not counting Meloetta in Pirouette Forme, Mega Mewtwo X, or Arceus holding the Fist Plate). That’s enough for quite the hefty roster, especially if we include the pre-evolutions and various forms I didn’t count. Four of them (Cobalion, Terrakion, Virizion, and Keldeo) do not have arms with which to punch, but that doesn’t necessarily rule them out. However, we will not know how many of them are included for some time to come.
Namco’s experience with creating fighting games will be vital in creating the Pokkén games, bringing in graphics and combat systems rather different from the Pokémon games we now know. According to Masaaki Hoshino, the producer of the Soul Calibur games, it’s designed with adult Pokémon fans in mind, although that naturally does not mean that we’ll have an M-rated Pokémon game, or that kids can’t enjoy it too. After all, Namco’s Katsuhiro Harada explains that “Whether you are a casual player, a regular player, or a hardcore player, anyone who likes Pokémon can have fun.”
The game is currently set to be released in arcades in Japan some time in 2015. There is no news on a console or Western release yet, but we’ll learn more as it’s revealed.