Pokken Tournament: The Tekken-Style Pokemon Fighting Game Is Real And Will Be Out Next Year #Blessed
You would think that with the announcement of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the updated remakes of the Generation III titles, would’ve been enough big news about Pokémon for this year, but you, my friends, would be wrong. Today, it was revealed that Namco Bandai, the creators of the Tekken fighting games, were hard at work on Pokken Tournament, a new arcade style fighting game using theTekken engine, starring Pokémon.
To be honest, I initially assumed that this was a prank, but it’s been verified as something that is actually set for release in Japan in 2015 by no less of a source than Forbes — and really, if anyone knows about video games, it’s Forbes. Either way, it’s the most excited I’ve been about a new video game since they announced “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s appearance in Saints Row IV.
A straight up arcade-style fighting game about Pokémon seems like a no-brainer, since they are, at heart, games that are all about tiny little monsters beating, shocking, burning and occasionally ghosting each other into unconsciousness, but one of the key aspects of the core games is how they remove the player from the action. In those, you’re playing as a trainer, so while you still control what the Pokémon are doing, “you” aren’t the one facing the consequences and taking the damage. It makes for a pretty interesting setup and puts a lot of emphasis on managing resources and abilities, creating a distance between the player and the combat.
Fighting games, on the other hand, are pretty much the exact opposite of that. You press a button and someone gets punched. It’s beautiful in its simplicity.
And it’s also a pretty good medium to showcase cool things about these characters. Pokémon like Lucario, Mewtwo and (of course) Pikachu have previously appeared in Nintendo’s Smash Bros. games, which did a great job of translating their distinct turn-based combat styles to real-time fighting, and I’ve often wondered why they didn’t just go all-out and do a full-on Pokémon fighting game using that Smash Bros. engine. As it stands, there are only three or four in there, and as cool as it is to see something like Brawl‘s Pokémon Trainer, who switches between the original three starters in the middle of combat, they end up having to share space with vastly inferior characters like Sonic the Hedgehog.
Yeah, I said it.
With Pokken Tournament, we’ll be getting a roster of nothing but Pokémon, and while the full list has yet to be revealed, the early images show Lucario and the four-armed pro wrestling-themed Machamp, and I think it’s a pretty safe bet to guess that Pikachu will probably show up as well. With over 700 Pokémon to choose from, it’s pretty clear that not everyone’s going to make the cut, but it’ll be interesting to see if they go with some that don’t have the traditional fists and feet that you’d get from a fighting game, and how they’d be translated to the game.
To be honest, Tekken has never been my favorite fighting game — Smash Bros. ranks at the top, followed by Street Fighter/Marvel vs. Capcom, DOA, Power Stone and then Tekken — but if you throw Bulbasaur in there, you have basically gotten yourself whatever you care to charge out of my wallet.
Pokken Tournament is set for release next year as an arcade game in Japan, but one assumes that there will be a release for the Wii U to follow, as not putting this out for a worldwide home release would basically be leaving a Scrooge McDuck-style mountain of money on the table.