Pokemon Presents Recap: 2/27/23
March 15, 2023
By: Mike Alexander
Welcome, children and elder millennials, to Pokemon Day 2023! Every February 27th, The Pokemon Company and Pokemon fans, in general, celebrate the launch of the original Pokemon game series, which began with Pokemon Red and Green on February 27th, 1996.
Like every year, we were treated to a special Pokemon Presents broadcast, which announced a slew of new and upcoming Pokemon content that we can enjoy throughout the year. Some of it is excellent news, some of it is… fine, and some stuff went ignored entirely. Was it the crippling performance issues in Scarlet and Violet? You'll have to read on to find out!
But yes, of course, it was.
So grab some popcorn, throw on your Pikachu ears, and join us as we review everything shown at Pokemon Presents 2/27/23!
Intro: We Began With So Much Promise
The broadcast certainly began on the right foot, with the incredible Pikachu animatronic that was relegated to a blurry cameo in last year's video now directly in front of the camera and perfectly in focus. At first, I wasn't sure if the adorable yellow rodent was a robot or CGI, thanks to the smoothness of its movements. Before too long, that stint in the uncanny valley was over, and I was free to fall fully in love with this perfect physical recreation of one of my favorite characters in any media ever.
Oh, and The Pokemon Company's president and CEO, Tsunekazu Ishihara, was also in the frame, sitting directly next to the Pikachu like the equals they are. He said something about there being more than 1,000 different Pokemon now, but I was too mesmerized by Pikachu's antics to focus on what he was saying.
Breaking that spell, Ishihara handed things over to Chris Brown to talk about the upcoming Pokemon World Championships.
Pokemon World Championships: The (Second) Most Magical Place on Earth
When Chris Brown, the Director of Global Esports and Events Producer for The Pokemon Company International, came up on the screen, I was a little disappointed (but not surprised) to be laying eyes on a regular guy and not Chris Brown, the singer. Oh well, at least he had some cool info to share, so let's run it.
The Pokemon World Championship is a massive event where Pokemon fans of all ages meet to compete in all their favorite Pokemon games, whether physical or digital. The event went on hiatus for 2020 and 2021 due to COVID but returned last year with an event hosted in London (likely to capitalize on Sword and Shield's European setting). The PWC has been hosted all over the US and Canada previously, with events hosted in California, Washington D.C., Hawaii, and Vancouver.
Here's a fun fact: the first PWC in 2004 was held in my hometown in Orlando, Florida! The fifth PWC also returned to Orlando, but unfortunately, I didn't attend either.
Excitingly, PWC 2023 will be held in Pokemon's home country of Japan for the first time ever! From August 11th through the 13th, the Pacifico Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan, will host a weekend full of battles in Pokemon GO, Pokemon Unite, Pokemon TCG, and Scarlet and Violet with trainers from all over the world. Will Scarlet and Violet be stable by August? It's difficult to tell, but I wouldn't put money on it. Reports of the last patch imply that the game is even more broken than before.
To cap off the announcement, Chris Brown made everyone 'look at him now' so he could show off the PWC Yokohama key art, which is gorgeous. Pikachu enjoying a bowl of ramen isn't something I knew I needed in my life until now, and I will buy a poster of this art as soon as it's available. Maybe even right here on Poggers.com!
If you cannot make it to Yokohama but want to attend the festivities, you can tune in to the event's live broadcast, which will run all weekend.
Pokemon TCG CLASSIC: Be Ready to Battle Anytime, Anywhere
When Chris Brown finished 'takin' us down,' Mr. Ishihara gave us a quick intro leading to a live-action trailer. It began with a man walking down a hallway, holding a very expensive-looking briefcase marked "Pokemon Trading Card Game CLASSIC." He enters a room with a very serious woman sitting at a table and sets the briefcase down. That briefcase is then unfolded to reveal an immaculate, elegant play area for a Pokemon TCG battle.
The package appears to contain its own set of cards and a container of plastic play pieces. A series of exciting camera angles and dramatic cuts imply that an intense battle is unfolding, and the man seemingly wins when he manages to fully evolve Charmander into Charizard. This is how most Pokemon TCG battles end, in my experience.
According to Mr. Ishihara, this product is "designed to be a premium Pokemon TCG set that will last a lifetime," and production prototypes of the product will be at PWC in August. Something designed to last a lifetime is likely very high quality and will probably have a price tag to match. Unsurprisingly, no prices were announced, but prepare your poor wallets now.
Pokemon Netflix Project: Pokemon Like You've Never Seen Them Before
With the drool-inducing Pokemon TCG CLASSIC set out of the way, Mr. Ishihara handed the show over to Minyoung Kim, the Vice President of Content for Netflix Asian Pacific. Then, Ms. Kim announced Pokemon Concierge, a brand-new stop-motion animated Pokemon series being made in collaboration with Netflix and The Pokemon Company and being animated by Dwarf Studios.
This is far from the first Netflix Pokemon product, as plenty of new animated series and movies are making their way to the service in recent years, including the just recently released part 2 of Pokemon Ultimate Journeys, which dropped on Netflix on February 24th.
The upcoming Pokemon Concierge will take place at a Pokemon resort. Ms. Kim shared a short teaser trailer with use that consisted of a very confused (as always) Psyduck walking on a beach, followed by a still of the same image with the inclusion of a human character. Ultimately, it was not much to go on, but I'm always down for stop-motion media. Combine that with Pokemon, and I'm SOLD.
Pokemon Game Updates: Now, For the Good Stuff
Pokemon Concierge looks great and all, but we're here for the GAMES! The focus now rests on the COO of The Pokemon Company, Takato Utsunomiya, who allegedly has some updates for various Pokemon games to share. He teased some Scarlet and Violet news at the top, which excited me, but Pokemon Unite was first up.
The Pokemon MOBA is celebrating its second year in service and the milestone of 100 million downloads with a few new developments. First, Zacian, the legendary Pokemon Sword mascot, is coming to Unite. Some gameplay was shown, including the Pokemon's Sovereign Sword Unite move, and an adorable suit and top hat holowear was also revealed.
Extra goodies like a new event called "Adventure in Zacian's Weald," a new boss rush event, a free gift code for a Gold Zacian boost emblem, and the announcement of an invitation-only Asia Champions League wrapped up this segment.
Pokemon Cafe REMIX
The food-making puzzle game now includes Paldea region Pokemon, and successful progress will allow players to add Sprigatito, Fuecoco, or Quaxly to their staff. Players can also get a free Geninja Great Chef costume until March 17th just by signing in.
Pokemon EX Masters
This mobile game celebrates 3.5 years of service with a special rally event featuring Galar region Neo Champions. Through March and up to April 9th, players can battle Hop & Zapdos, Bede & Articuno, Marnie & Moltres, and Leon & Charizard return with max moves unlocked. There are also special log-in rewards like up to 100 free sync pairs (10-pair tickets scout every day) and 3,000 free gems.
After a long wait and many rumors, Pokemon Sleep has finally been formally announced and given a release window.
The smartphone app was first given a charming live-action trailer, which featured people in their 20s and 30s getting into bed, opening the app, and waking up to find Pokemon in their bed with them. Ah, the dream.
Mr. Utsunomiya returned after the trailer to provide more details. He says, "the idea behind Pokemon Sleep is to be a game that makes you look forward to waking up in the morning." Good luck, Mr. Utsunomiya.
Another trailer outlining the game's story and mechanics played next, which clarified what we saw in the previous trailer. In Pokemon Sleep, Professor Neroli is studying the sleep patterns of Pokemon, and he needs your help to learn about them. The app records and analyzes your sleep patterns and populates an island with Pokemon who share the types of sleep you experience. Several sleep styles include Slowpoke's "goofy sleep" and Pikachu's "droopy-eared sleep."
The game's goal is to collect all these styles while you snooze away with your phone on your bedside table, but I see what's happening. This is really just an elaborate ruse to get Millenials to commit to their eight hours of sleep, and it might just work. It will work on me, at least.
Pokemon Sleep is coming to Android and iOS later this year.
Pokemon GO Plus +
To accompany the announcement of Pokemon Sleep, we also got an announcement for a new device to enhance that experience: Pokemon GO Plus +.
Yes, it's really called that.
It is essentially a revamped version of the Pokemon GO Plus designed to be used by rabid Pokemon GO players. The original version was a glorified pedometer, but GO Plus + adds some useful new functionality.
It works as a sleep tracker for use with Pokemon Sleep and also "has a Pikachu inside," which will sing lullabies to you and become more attached to you the more you use it. Frequent use will also unlock new alarm sounds for the Pikachu to make.
Since it also works with Pokemon GO, there are future plans to include the sleep data of Pokemon Sleep in Pokemon go, and you just gotta love that cross-pollination of apps and services. Pokemon Go Plus + will be available in July, and connecting the product to Pokemon GO will unlock access to special research that will add a Snorlax with a nightcap to your game.
Leave him alone; he's just a big sleepy boy!
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
Just as we were getting ready to fall asleep, thanks to Pokemon Sleep, the broadcast changed to focus on Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for! It must be the announcement of a complete overhaul for Scarlet and Violet to make them actually playable!
- New Paradox Pokemon Walking Wake (Scarlet) and Iron Leaves (Violet) in Paldea
- New Tera Raid Battle for each, available right after the broadcast
- Pokemon GO integration
- Pokemon Home Support is coming early this year
- New DLC, The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero
- Part 1 releasing in Fall, and Part 2 releasing in Winter
- DLC expands the game past Paldea
And that's it. There is no mention of the severe performance issues and no promises of improvements to come via updates. Just… more stuff for a game that's been a grueling experience for most people. With the most recent patch reportedly resulting in corrupted save files and losing players hundreds of hours worth of progress, things don't seem to be looking up for Scarlet and Violet. Oh well, look forward to that DLC!
At least Pokemon Concierge looks good. I'm gonna watch the hell out of that.