2021 is a very important year for Pokémon. It marks the 25th anniversary of the series, which first released for the Game Boy in Japan on February 27, 1996. Following the February 25 Pokémon Presents showcase, it's clear that we have an anniversary celebration on par with, if not surpassing, what we got for the Super Mario Bros. franchise's 35th anniversary.
From new games to the anime to crossovers with unexpected musicians, this is everything Pokémon fans can look forward to in 2021.
7. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl
The rumors were true! The new core Pokémon games of 2021 are Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, remakes of the 2007 Nintendo DS games. These remakes look to be extremely faithful to the originals, even adopting a top-down, chibi-like art style to keep the games accurate to the look of the original.
Still, Game Freak is promising that these games will see some modern-day improvements in addition to the visual overhaul. We'll likely learn a lot more about these remakes as we approach their release in late 2021.
This is a breath of fresh air after 2020, which did not feature any new mainline Pokémon games; instead, Game Freak put out two large pieces of DLC for Pokémon Sword and Shield.
6. New Pokémon Snap
That isn't the only Pokémon game coming this year. On April 30, New Pokémon Snap will be released for Nintendo Switch. It's the long-awaited sequel to the Nintendo 64 classic and has players taking pictures of Pokémon instead of capturing them. It is the first of several new Pokémon games this year.
5. MIA Pokémon Games
A sequel to the Detective Pikachu 3DS game that the Pokémon live-action movie is based on was announced two years ago but has not been discussed since. Fans are hoping that it will be released sometime this year as part of the 25th-anniversary celebration.
Pokémon Sleep is another phone app that has also been MIA since its announcement, so we could see it reemerge this year. Nintendo will reveal all of the Pokémon games coming out in celebration of this anniversary in due time.
4. Pokémon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle
2021 will also contain the North American release of the latest animated Pokémon film, Pokémon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle. The film features a new character named Koko and a legendary Pokémon introduced to Sword and Shield last year called Zarude.
3. Virtual Music Concert with Post Malone
On February 27, the day of the series' 25th anniversary, The Pokémon Company is holding a Virtual Concert at 7 p.m. Eastern. It will be live-streamed on YouTube, Twitch, and the official Pokémon website. The concert will be headlined by Post Malone and is supposed to kick off the "P25" music campaign that will feature other artists like Katy Perry.
2. Other 25th-anniversary celebrations
Obviously, lots of other collaboration and in-game events will happen this year in celebration of the anniversary. Pokémon GO Tour: Kanto takes place on February 20 and challenges players to find all 151 Pokémon in one day. On February 25, a special Pikachu that knows the move Sing will be given away in Pokémon Sword and Shield via a password.
Pokémon TV will play music-themed episodes of the anime on the 27th in preparation for the concert. New 25th anniversary-themed Pokémon cards are also available in McDonald's Happy Meals. The Pokémon Company says that "fans can expect more announcements that week from across the franchise," in a press release about the Virtual Music Concert so more collaborations and events are clearly in store.
1. Pokémon Legends: Arceus
If you've been waiting for Pokémon to abandon old series tradition and make a Breath of the Wild-like open-world game, then Game Freak is finally delivering with Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Check out its trailer below:
Set in Sinnoh during ancient times, players can choose between Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott for their starter Pokémon. Then, they can explore Sinnoh and have the ability to seamlessly throw Pokéballs and catch Pokémon while exploring. It's the most ambitious Pokémon game in years.
While is currently posied for a 2022 release, it's possible that it arrives earlier in the year before the series' 26th anniversary comes around.