While Nintendo's latest Pokemon adventure, Pokemon Black and White Version 2 may have found itself nestled under many a Pokefan's stocking at Christmas, it seems there's going to be no rest for the wicked - of, for that matter, your 3DS's, as the Japanese giant have kicked off the new year by lifting the lid on the latest in the Pokemon series, Pokemon X and Y, which will be the first games to be exclusive to the 3DS.
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Now on the sixth generation of the popular monster battling, collecting and adventuring games, X and Y promises the introduction of at least fifty new Pokemon to collect and befriend, along with the return of old favourites like Pikachu, Psyduck and the almighty Magikarp to bolster your team with - although whether you'll be able to catch both old and new 'mon from the start, or whether you'll have to finish the game, or jump through some other hoop to unlock the ability to build a team of old favourites remains to be seen.
In something of a break from tradition, Nintendo have been surprisingly open with information about the new game, accompanying their announcement with a trailer (found below), and information about the starter Pokemon you'll be able to choose from when you first start the game. A companion that'll see you through the first few hours of the game (and usually well beyond, providing it's evolutions meet our cuteness standards), the games usually begin with the "professor" of the region packing you off with your choice of a potential three Pokemon as you go to travel the world, discover new Pokemon, train up a team, and defeat other trainers - and it seems X and Y will be no different. And this time we've got a heck of a decision on our hands. Split into the usual water, fire and grass types, it's going to be hard to choose between the moustachioed frog, Froakie, the cute fiery fox, Fennekin, and the single-toothed Chespin, a little rodent-like creature who seems to be a grassier version of the previous game's Oshawott.
With the move to the 3DS comes a whole host of new bits and bobs, most noticeable of which is the fancier graphics, which see the series finally switch from using 2D cardboard cut-outs to a full 3D worlds - including 3D Pokemon. Making battles feel much more interactive, with sweeping, rotating cameras, the battles for Pokemon X and Y will at least look a lot more like those found in N64 classic Pokemon Stadium, or the Wii's Pokemon Colosseum, although the basics behind the battles remain the same, with Pokemon taking it in turns to attack. Everything is bigger, brighter and more detailed, against backdrops of falling leaves, blowing grass and actual scenery, as the camera sweeps from Pokemon to Pokemon to keep track of the action.
While nothing has yet been confirmed, we'd also imagine Pokemon X and Y will make full use of all the 3DS' extra bells and whistles, with StreetPass functionality, SpotPass downloads and of course multiplayer included. What has been mentioned is the new 'Real Play', which is supposed to make "it feel as if you are playing with other players around the world." - but what that actually entails, we're not sure. Perhaps it'll mean dotting real-life Pokemon players around your game world, or featuring other people on TV shows and the like, or perhaps just leaving messages around the place for your friends to find?
Somewhat unusually, Pokemon X and Y will be launching simultaneously across the globe in October this year - a stark contrast to the usual Japan getting it months, or even years, before the rest of the world. We're certainly not complaining, but we'll have to get our skates on if we want to finish Black/White Version 2 before the next game lands this autumn: