When Pokken Tournament was announced in August of last year, the news was a surprise for many. Nintendo had initially teased that there was a ‘major’ Pokemon announcement incoming, but very few were expecting the reveal to be that of a Bandai Namco-developed Pokemon fighting game. Fans of the series were given an initial release trailer showcasing a battle between Lucario and Machamp, along with a promise of an appearance in Japanese arcades.
Since then, those looking forward to more Pokken Tournament news have been drip-fed information about the project, with a promise that the title would play differently from Tekken in spite of the developer’s history with fighting games. Meanwhile, it was revealed that Dave & Busters would be receiving a number of Pokken Tournament arcade machines in selected US locations – yet there was no still no news of a console release of the game.
Now, Pokemon fans awaiting news of just when the title would see a home release have had their question answered. The Pokemon Company has now revealed that Pokken Tournament is going be released worldwide in Spring 2016. The news was revealed during the 2015 Pokemon World Champions, which are currently taking place in Boston, before an official release trailer appeared on YouTube.
As well as confirming a home console release and an initial launch date for the title, the trailer also gave players a brief glimpse at another character that will be added to the roster. Players will be able to fight as Pikachu Libre, a Mexican wrestler-themed Pikachu that keeps up its counterpart’s love of electric-based attacks. Pikachu Libre initially appeared in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire as a special Cosplay Pikachu given to the player during a Pokemon Contest.
The special Pikachu joins a strong list of fan favorite Pokemon, with the likes of Charizard, Weavile, and Gengar joining the roster in recent months. With a choice of characters also including Gardevoir and even Blaziken, hopefully there will be a sufficient number of the over 700-strong Pokedex to keep fans happy. The pocket monsters on offer will also no doubt open up more amiibo opportunities for Nintendo, although the company is yet to confirm amiibo support for the title.
It remains to be seen just how successful the Wii U home release of the game will be, and what features the game will have. However, the Wii U is no stranger to third party releases of popular Nintendo franchises, with a strong recent example being that of Hyrule Warriors. The Tecmo-Koei title has been a commercial hit and has developed a strong fanbase amongst the Wii U community. If Pokken Tournament can emulate or improve upon that success, Nintendo may have hit upon another strong title to add to its console’s library.
Pokken Tournament will be released worldwide in Spring 2016, exclusively for the Wii U.