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What does Marshadow mean for future games?

The announcement of the next Mythical Pokémon came surprisingly early. What does Marshadow suggest about the next games in the Pokémon franchise?

Last month a new Mythical (event-exclusive) Pokémon, Marshadow, was announced for both the Pokémon Sun and Moon (SM) games and the upcoming 20th Pokémon movie. How to get it hasn’t yet been revealed, but its identity is most certainly out in the open. It is destined for an event-only distribution, much like Magearna before it, and the Ash-Hat Pikachu forms (to be released for fans in Japan who pre-order tickets to the 20th movie, and presumably by event for the west down the track).

However, there are two curious aspects to this announcement. One is the timing itself. We are not even at a full six months after the release of the first pair of games for the generation, and yet we already officially know that Marshadow exists. The second is that, as far as we currently know, Marshadow is the last of the generation seven Mythical Pokémon. The newest games in the Pokémon series were data-mined even before release (thanks to hackers scrapping information from the Pokémon Sun and Moon Special Demo). Let’s compare when this occurred for the last event Pokémon in previous generations for Japan:

Generation Start Date of Generation Last Mythical Pokémon Date Announced Date Released
2nd 21st Nov 1999 Celebi Jun 2000 24th Aug 2000
3rd 21st Nov 2002 Deoxys 12th Dec 2003 19th Jun 2004
4th 28th Sep 2006 Arceus 14th Feb 2009 18th Jul 2009
5th 6th Mar 2010 Genesect 14th Jul 2012 11th Aug 2012
6th 12th Oct 2013 Volcanion 14th Dec 2015 16th Apr 2016
7th 18th Nov 2016 Marshadow 7th Apr 2017 ???

The second generation games come closest with around seven months since Pokémon Gold and Silver first released and Celebi (Serebii) was announced. Of course, that’s with only one Mythical Pokémon in the generation to distribute in the first place. Every other generation took years between their first games’ release and the release of the last new Pokémon within that generation. Deoxys technically is no longer a Mythical Pokémon given it can be caught in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (ORAS), but it was event-only prior to those games.

The fifth generation of Pokémon however was unusual. The release dates for other Mythical Pokémon in Japan has Keldeo on the 22nd of June 2012, and Meloetta on the 14th of July 2012, pairing up with the 12th movie. Three event Pokemon released in three months is rather weird, but it makes sense when you consider that the fifth generation was considerably shorter than the previous two before it. Genesect was released along with Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 in Japan, and Pokémon jumped onto the 3DS the following year with Pokémon X and Y (XY). The generation simply ran out of time to release all the Pokémon planned for that purpose. The sixth generation similarly only had two pairs of games, but had event Pokémon releases better spaced out, suggesting no suddenly change to development plans.

It demands to be released, but popping out this early has implications.

In light of Marshadow’s announcement, is it fair to speculate that the sudden end to the fifth generation games may be repeating for the seventh generation? Like Pokémon Black and White, SM has been released at the tail end of the console it was released for, the Nintendo 3DS. The Nintendo Switch has since released worldwide and with a strong start in sales may well become the successor to the 3DS. While a new 2DS iteration has been recently announced and Nintendo has indicated that it intends for the 3DS to continue selling in the meantime, it is even possible that the next main Pokémon game (or games) may end up on the Nintendo Switch, at least partly. This author thinks this is unlikely now however.

Even if not, it is quite unlikely that the eighth generation will end up on the 3DS console family. It could be that we get either a ‘third version’ to Pokémon Sun and Moon (or sequel or the like), or a Pokémon Diamond and Pearl remake, or even something else that still runs on the seventh generation game mechanics, sooner rather than later. That would then be followed by the next region and new set of Pokémon introduced on a different console. We could also just jump straight into a new generation, but this may be too short even for the Pokémon cycle now used to a main game release every year or two and a minimum of three years spent each generation.

But let’s take a step back before we get our heads way into the stars over such matters. There is another way to examine Marshadow’s early announcement, and that is to presume that there are yet more Mythical Pokémon within the seventh generation games. Pikachu with a hat is still just a Pikachu in the end after all, and the sixth generation games gave us a similar amount. Furthermore, new Mega Evolutions were introduced mid-generation in ORAS for which no data existed in XY. It’s not even the first instance; generation four for example had alternate forms (or formes with an ‘e’) for Giratina and Rotom in Pokémon Platinum, and Spiky-eared Pichu for Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. It’s quite possible that the next generation seven games will in turn introduce data for a new Mythical, event-only Pokémon. Perhaps they could even implement that data through an online update.

Is there another Mythical Pokémon after Marshadow?

The takeaway is that Marshadow alone does not necessarily spell the end already for the seventh generation – yet. Time will tell. What is certain is that if the next game will release this year rather than in 2018, time is running out for Nintendo and The Pokémon Company to announce it.

Many event dates courtesy of Serebii.net.
Edited by wolf.