Most people likely haven’t thought about Pokkén Tournament since the most recent teaser trailer way back in the middle of 2014. That’s also assuming that you even heard that this Tekken–Pokémon love-child even existed, as the announcement was rather low-key. If you’ve been looking forward to this fighting title, no worries, the development appears to be going swimmingly.
Earlier today, YouTube user MaxEzzy was gracious enough to share eight matches of the in-development title with us in an hour long live stream. No need to fear, it’s still available for your viewing pleasure.
After the hour-long video, we have been left with quite the wealth of new information. Considering that the teaser was just a video of a Machop and Lucario going toe-to-toe and nothing else, that’s not surprising.
First off, the roster has expanded a bit and now features the psychic Pokémon Gardevoir, the ice-type legendary dog Suicune and, last but not least, the mascot of the franchise, the electric mouse, Pikachu. One is left to wonder what has happened to the Blaziken that appeared in the original footage.
On top of the roster, new gameplay mechanics have also been revealed. From watching a single match, it can be gathered that the battles will feature power-ups (picked up by running over them), as well as partner Pokémon (who serve as assists) and super-modes which can be triggered once a bar fills. It looks like Pokémon with mega evolutions will show them off once their super mode is triggered.
The most unusual thing shown was the controller. Most arcade fighting cabinets have a fight stick, a joystick protruding from the main body of the cabinet with buttons for attacks. Pokkén Tournament is apparently turning this idea on its ear by going with a controller, which sports a D-pad and four buttons.
The Pokémon also have archetypes, it seems. Gardevoir has technique as her marked style, Lucario is standard and Machop is power. These archetypes likely correlate with how hard a Pokémon hits, as well as informs a player of which fighter they should play. A player who tends to go with brute force likely shouldn’t be playing a technique type and vice versa. When choosing a Pokémon, there is also a level number listed, and a stats diamond, implying that your Pokémon will likely have a level of customization depending on how you’ve played (or trained) them.
Last but not least, we got to see that there are trainers in the game. However, it is unknown if the trainer is customizable or if they have any effect on the matches. We were also privy to checking out another arena, Phos Volcano. The stream revealed the name of the original, town-looking locale as well, which is Chrom Town.
Over time more will be revealed, but for the moment this hour of content likely answers quite a few questions. There has been no solid release date yet, just that Pokkén Tournament should be expected sometime this year. Whether or not Pokkén Tournament will see a console release is still up in the air as well, as it’s currently only expected to be a Japanese arcade release.
I still think this is a very cool concept. The Pokémon universe lends so well to a fighting game that I’m not sure why this is just now happening. That and the fact that Bandai Namco Games is handling this should set any worries to rest. Bandai Namco Games are the folks behind Tekken, so it’s clear that they’ve got the experience which is necessary to get this IP off the ground. Pokkén Tournament won’t be the killer app that makes me shell out the cash for a Wii U, but it would certainly help justify the decision.