Pokémon Direct Roundup

Pokemon Bank LogoNintendo hosted a Nintendo Direct presentation today that focused entirely on this October’s handheld gaming mega-blockbusters, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y. News was light, which is why we won’t be doing an entire Nintendo Direct Roundup feature this time, but when things weren’t traveling down memory lane, they were focusing mostly on one revolutionary new feature for Pokemon X and Pokemon Y; Pokemon Bank.

Pokemon Bank finally brings the Cloud to the series. It will allow players to store an additional three-thousand pokemon within an online Cloud server, able to easily search for and withdraw them as needed, using detailed and flexible search parameters. The service has been touted as a very handy way to manage large-scale pokemon teams for competitive players, particularly those who compete in tournaments.

Not only that, but you can also pool together pokemon from multiple games, which is handy for people who plan to purchase both Pokemon X and Pokemon Y together. The fact that pokemon are mapped to a Cloud ID and not a certain save file or game can also be handy if you were to misplace your game card or lose your save data, or perhaps your SD card if you bought one or both games from the 3DS eShop. This way, even if you have to start your adventure over, you don’t lose the pokemon you worked so hard to train before, which are always kept safe on the Cloud server. Awesome!

Long-time Pokemon players will recall that Nintendo already tried something similar in Pokemon Box: Ruby and Sapphire for GameCube. This time however, it seems that the technology is much more accessible and easy to work with. It’s no doubt great news for die-hard Pokemon players who feel that the series’ previous titles don’t give them enough shelf space for the series’ ever-growing roster of pokemon to capture and train.

Mega VenusaurPokemon Bank gets better too! Using an application called Poke Transporter, you can upload any pokemon you have in Pokemon Black Version, Pokemon White Version, Pokemon Black Version 2 and Pokemon White Version 2, and store them in Pokemon Bank. From there, you can download them into your Pokemon X and/or Pokemon Y game, officially allowing you access to pretty well any previous pokemon, rendered in full three dimensions for the Kalos region! This way, you don’t have to give up the collections and teams you’ve probably amassed in the prior DS titles as well. Fantastic!

Unfortunately, Pokemon Bank does come with a slight catch; It will require an annual fee to activate and use. Nintendo didn’t specify exactly how much this fee would be, though they did explain that it was necessary to ask for one, since the service will require maintenance, and must be patched and upgraded to provide support for future Pokemon games. This perhaps suggests that, like the many series offerings on Game Boy Advance and DS, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y may not be the only mainline Pokemon games to release on 3DS in the end!

To soften the blow, the official Pokemon website does claim that a free trial period will be offered for Pokemon Bank, though, again, it didn’t specify exactly how long this trial period may be, nor how it will work.

While much of the Direct was solely meant to announce and explain Pokemon Bank, there were a few added nuggets thrown in to help whet the appetites of fans.

Mega CharizardChief among these was the revelation that your trainer character will not receive his or her starter from the Kalos region’s Professor Sycamore. Instead, they’ll receive one of the three starter pokemon, the grass-type Chespin, the fire-type Fennekin, or the water-type Froakie, from a friend of theirs in the story.

Oh, but they’ll still get a pokemon from Professor Sycamore later on! The professor will offer them another choice of three pokemon, this time one of the three original starters from Pokemon Red Version and Pokemon Blue Version; Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle! Not only that, but developer, Game Freak also confirmed that the highest evolved forms of the three Generation-One starters, Venusaur, Charizard and Blastoise, will all have Mega Evolutions, which were then shown in action within game footage. Legacy fans were no doubt thrilled at the sight!

Mega Evolutions in general were also given more detail, showing that they’re activated by connecting a trainer’s Mega Ring accessory with the Mega Stone that a pokemon is holding. It was then teased that Mega Evolutions are one of the most enigmatic phenomena of the Kalos region, and that they’ll likely tie into a trainer’s bond with their pokemon. Hopefully you’re keeping your pokemon plenty happy before sending them into battle!

Mega BlastoiseLastly, Nintendo finally confirmed that the blue and red Pokemon X and Pokemon Y-branded 3DS XL designs are in fact coming to North America and Europe, after previously only being announced for Japan, and merely rumoured for Western release. Not only that, but they’ll be arriving early, on September 27th, rather than alongside the games’ release date in October.

The two handhelds are said to be limited edition, with both simultaneously featuring legendary pokemon, Xerneas and Yveltal, displayed on the box art of Pokemon X and Pokemon Y respectively. The handhelds appear to be packaged standalone, without Pokemon X or Pokemon Y sold within them, perhaps predictably, given that they’re releasing weeks before the games themselves.

The Direct presentation concluded with the reminder that Pokemon X and Pokemon Y are releasing worldwide, both physically at retail and digitally via the 3DS eShop, on October 12th. The games will support seven different languages at launch, all of which are apparently selectable in any version of the game.

Eggplante will continue to bring you all of your Pokemon news, as we can catch it!