Pokémon series developer Game Freak has announced that the “culmination” of the franchise on the Nintendo 3DS will be the upcoming Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, with the series expected to transfer to the Nintendo Switch soon.
Speaking to IGN, Game Freak director Shigeru Ohmori explained that the company has seen its 3DS games as the full extent of what could be achieved on the handheld console:
“When we were making Pokémon X and Y, we really were trying to push the 3DS system to its absolute limits—which is what we thought we’d done. But when Sun and Moon came around, we completely redesigned the system, and actually ended up pushing the 3DS even further to what we thought was the most we could draw out of it.”
The director’s comments indicate that the process of improvement has ended; the upside is that Game Freak will move to new challenges after the games’ release on November 17:
“With Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon,” explained Ohmori, “we’ve tried to eke that out more and really, really push the system to its absolute limits, and we’re now feeling that perhaps this is the maximum of what we can get out. So we’re really treating Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon as the culmination of our work with the 3DS system.”
At this year’s E3, The Pokémon Company revealed a core Pokémon RPG is in development for the Nintendo Switch. Kazumasa Iwao, director of the latest 3DS releases, explains that the development team for Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, at 80 people, is around half the size of Sun and Moon’s total staff, and was a “comparatively young team”.
Iawo and Ohmori would not give any details on what the remaining staff are working on, but the majority of the rest of the studio is presumably working on the upcoming Switch game.
While next to nothing is currently known about the franchise’s move to the Switch, Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara has indicated that the development is working towards better visuals, multiplayer capacity, and extra accessories.