Upon confirming that Pokemon Gold and Silver would be arriving on the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console, many fans immediately began to wonder why Pokemon Crystal was left without a release as well. Since the definitive version of Pokemon Red and Blue, Pokemon Yellow, arrived alongside both of those games on 3DS, many thought that the title donning the legendary dog Suicune would do the same. Evidently this was not the case, but a recent datamine of the re-released games indicates that the software may not be all that far behind.
The same dataminer responsible for outing the remake of Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, SciresM, has resurfaced with new code indicating that Pokemon Crystal is en route to the Nintendo 3DS. The data in question is said to have been found within a patch in the ROM fileworks for the recent versions of Pokemon Gold and Silver on the handheld, indicating an inevitable Virtual Console release for the Game Boy Color classic.
ahahaha they left the patches for Pokemon Crystal's VC release in the GS VC ROMFS -- "CGBBXTJ0.534.patch". Classic.— Michael (@SciresM) September 21, 2017
If that weren't convincing enough, SciresM previously drew attention to the Gold/Silver Virtual Console release title IDs earlier this month, pointing out evidence of a very suggestive "Gap" left by developers for a future release.
Ahaha the Pokemon GS VC release title IDs are pretty damn suggestive....https://t.co/nTFeNQZS8k -- Gold, Silver, Gap, Gold, Silver, Gap, ...— Michael (@SciresM) September 13, 2017
The business sense behind holding back on Pokemon Crystal appears to be clear, provided that the game is indeed en route to 3DS owners. It's likely that Nintendo and The Pokemon Company saw the opportunity to sell two versions of Pokemon rather than one, as is likely a result of Pokemon Yellow's quality and corresponding sales advantage on the platform. Staggering the release of Pokemon Crystal, in turn, allows Gold and Silver versions time to sell before the consumer-preferred amalgamation arrives on the eShop.
It's a smart play by all parties involved, and it should result in higher sales across the board for the original Pocket Monster sequels – provided that the Nintendo Switch hasn't cut into the 3DS user base too aggressively by the time Pokemon Crystal arrives.
Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver arrive for the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console on September 22, 2017.