It's no secret that Pokemon is one of Nintendo's tentpole franchises that's always going to pull big numbers whether it's a core RPG entry like Pokemon Sword and Shield or a random spin-off mobile game like Pokemon Quest. Last year's Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu! and Let's Go Eevee!, two reimaginings of Pokemon Yellow, ended up selling almost 11 million copies between them and were the first core Pokemon games to release on Nintendo Switch.
Naturally, the success of Pokemon Let's Go has led to widespread speculation about whether or not Pokemon Crystal would be given the same remake treatment and if so, who could the two big stars from the second generation be? Game Freak introduced 100 new Pokemon in the second generation on top of the original 151, giving players a lot of choice for their lineup in the sequel. With 251 Pokemon to choose from, we've nailed it down to three finalists pairs that could be the big stars of Pokemon Let's Go 2!
Togepi & Marill
GameFreak originally planned for Pokemon Gold & Silver to be the final games in the series and therefore introduced two regions for players to explore. With so many new Pokemon to choose from, two major standouts for potential starter Pokemon are Togepi and Marill. While anime lead, Ash Ketchum, never captured either of these Pokemon, he traveled with companions that did for a significant amount of time giving both Pokemon decent exposures with fans long before they could be obtained in the games.
Well over a year before the release of Pokemon Gold & Silver in Japan, and two years before the worldwide release, Togepi was introduced into the anime after hatching from an egg. Togepi became a signature Pokemon that represented the franchise and ended up being almost as iconic to the character of Misty as Pikachu is to Ash Ketchum - not to mention the two evolutions Togepi has received since.
The second is the Water/Fairy type Pokemon, Marill. Alongside Snubbell, Marill was one of the first new Pokemon revealed from the second generation in the Aprill 1999 issue of Japanese magazine CoroCoro. Marill also played a large role in the anime when Tracey joined Ash's adventure during the Orange Islands. Tracey and Marill were both main characters in the anime throughout the Orange Islands and Johto, appearing from Season 2 to Season 6.
Phanpy & Teddiursa
Pikachu and Eevee work as mascots for the series because they're both strong neutral creatures. Their designs are fairly simple from the etchings on their skin to the pet-like size of familiar animals like cats and dogs, and they both look friendly and fun. Two similar Pokemon that really stand out from the second generation are Phanpy and Teddiursa.
Phanpy is a Ground-type Pokemon and Teddiursa is a Normal-type that both made their debut in the third Pokemon movie, Spell of the Unknown: Entei. While no main character in the anime has ever owned a Teddiursa, Ash did have a Phanpy during the Johto League which later evolved into a Donphan during Battle Frontier, and both have been featured fairly prominently.
Togepi and Marill have longer histories with the franchise than their appearances in the game series and both fit the mold of a typical mascot - they represent the franchise, and in all honesty, they suitable for all ages. Mascots need to be cute and loveable, not scary and confusing. Phanpy and Teddiursa also fit that same description, however, having fewer appearances could work in their favor for the opposite reason - these two would be new and exciting for many new players or fans that never played Gen II.
Pikachu & Eevee
Perhaps the most likely and smartest decision that Nintendo and The Pokemon Company could make is to stop trying to find new mascots for each generation and instead double-down on what they've already got. Pikachu and Eevee have both been pretty big hits with fans worldwide since their release and nothing sells better than a sequel with a big number '2' on the box.
So, instead of making a new Let's Go game that reimagines Pokemon Crystal with two new star Pokemon, why not stick to the original duo for each new generation and release Let's Go Pikachu! 2, and Let's Go Eevee! 2?
Pokemon Crystal, the third game and definitive edition of the second generation, takes place after the events of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow, and made a number of big changes to the Kanto region as well as adding to option to play as a female character. For Pokemon Let’s Go 2, keep the core structure of the game, add and improve on the character customization to be more in-line with Pokemon Sword and Shield, and expand the moves and abilities of Pikachu and Eevee so that it feels like a real sequel.
Based on the clear success of the first two games, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company need to make another Let's Go game. Not only was it a whole lot of fun to explore the original games under a whole new light, but the nostalgia was also more than enough to make the experience feel worthwhile and meaning, rather than an easy cash grab.
Pokemon's second-generation leaned strongly into new mechanics and Pokemon types such as the introduction of pre-evolutions, something that fits the 'cute' mascot mold very easily. However, it's these three duos that really stand out above the rest and have enough charm to bring fans back for another round. What about a Pokemon Let's Go 2 with Pikachu and Eevee that ties directly into the first game? That could be fun.
Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee are out now, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.