Last week’s Pokémon Direct surprised fans with the announcement that a new Pokémon Snap game was coming to the Switch. While that was cause for excitement in itself, more surprising was The Pokémon Company announcing another Direct to come on June 24th. Naturally, the hype for a second Direct began to grow, as fans wondered what huge announcement Pokémon was saving for its own presentation. Could it be the long-awaited remakes of the fourth generation of main-series games? Or a Let’s Go! versions of Generation II?
Instead, Pokémon announced Pokémon Unite, a Pokémon-themed Multiplayer Online-Based Arena (MOBA) game akin to League of Legends.
The game features 5-vs.-5 team battles, base-capturing, stategizing, and some leveling up, all with a Pokémon sheen. It will be “free-to-start,” and will feature cross-platform availability between the Switch and mobile devices. There is currently no release date for the game.
While the game marks an interesting branch into another genre for the Pokémon franchise, it seems clear from the trailer’s abysmal like-to-dislike ratio on YouTube and a flurry of angry tweets that people are let down by the announcement of Pokémon Unite.
everyone on twitter after the latest pokemon presents: pic.twitter.com/lroLWe9pmi
— Ditzy 🖤 (@DitzyFlama) June 24, 2020
— Vasqueezy (@vasqueezy26) June 24, 2020
— Black Super Saiyan 🥡 (@jakedasenpai) June 24, 2020
— Jane S. Oubre (@OubreJane) June 24, 2020
Of course, not everyone was salty about the announcement. Many seemed to note that the reaction to Pokémon Unite wouldn’t have been so negative had they included the trailer in last week’s Direct instead of hyping a Direct solely for this game.
Ouch…. the big issue here was marketing. If they didn’t have a big game to announce that was fine, last weeks presents was a good enough surprise, but I feel like they made this a much bigger deal than it is, hence the hate for it 😬#PokemonPresents #Pokemonunite pic.twitter.com/DTsLgl1VpQ
— Luke Broadley (@BroadleyBean) June 24, 2020
I’m not mad that #Pokemon Unite exists. I’m just annoyed that they teased us and made us wait a whole week for something so underwhelming. Would’ve been better if they added it to last weeks presentation. I kept my expectations extremely low and I was still disappointed. Thanks. pic.twitter.com/dRalrCyIPW
— Lumiose Trainer Zac (@LumioseTrainer2) June 24, 2020
As a fan of League of Legends and DOTA2, ya’ll can’t kill my hype for this. Please remember that some fans have been waiting for a game like Pokémon Unite. pic.twitter.com/lcvxgYiHTI
— PokéJungle on the Isle of Armor (@pokejungle) June 24, 2020
As Pokémon fans are notoriously vocal about their desires (and very eager to voice their displeasure when they don’t get what they want), it seems Pokémon could have avoided backlash had they included Pokémon Unite in last week’s presentation and concluded with the New Pokémon Snap reveal. Still, it will be interesting to see if Pokémon Unite turns into a serious MOBA game or gets lost along with other Nintendo experimentations with mobile gaming like Mario Kart Tour.