Pokémon Sun and Moon will see a fresh information blowout on June 2nd this year, so now is a fine time to assess what we know about the games so far. And we do know quite a few things, as it turns out. Here’s 6 things that we know about the games so far that we think you ought to know, from the starters you’ll be meeting to the region you’ll be gallivanting about in to when the games are scheduled to come out.
#1 A New Generation with New Pokémon
To get it out of the way, yes, Pokémon Sun and Moon present a brand new generation of Pokémon games, specifically Generation VII (the last one was Generation VI, featuring Pokémon X and Y and the remakes Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire). This means that the game are set in a new region, complete with many, many new Pokémon, new characters, new friends and foes, and so on and so forth. Despite this, the games are coming out on the same console as the previous generation: the Nintendo 3DS. It has been confirmed that they are also compatible with the Nintendo 2DS.
#2 Where They’re Set
Pokémon Sun and Moon take players to the brand new region of Alola, which, as the name suggests, is based off of Hawaii, USA. This is the first properly tropical region we’ve seen in a Pokémon game, featuring rainforests, palm trees, volcanoes, beaches and islands. We don’t know an awful lot about Alola, such as the names of the cities and villages that we’ll encounter, but it does look like the resident professor wears a Hawaiian shirt.
You’ll also have a cousin in the game, named Kukui. It would seem that he is named after “kukui”, or the candlenut, which is Hawaii’s state tree. This goes to further reinforce the Hawaii connection the game has. It also seems that the game’s protagonist (that’s you) will not be a native to Alola region, but rather, arriving there from somewhere else. More information about the region is forthcoming.
#3 The Starters
We first learned about the possible names for Pokémon Sun and Moon’s starters thanks to Japanese trademark filings. Thanks to a Japanese twitter bot that tweets out trademarks, we learned that the starters might be called “Mokuroh”, “Nyabby” and “Ashimari”. Pokémon are typically named after wordplay, so delving into these names for more details was a no-brainer.
“Mokuroh” has “moku” in it, which is Japanese for “tree” or “wood” and the latter part alludes to “fukuroh”, meaning “owl”. “Ashimari” points to “ashika”, meaning “sea lion” and “mari”, short for “marine”. With the first two names pointing to a non-descript Grass starter and a sea lion Water starter, that leaves out the Fire starter “Nyabby”, which points to a cat Pokémon – “nya” means “meow” in Japanese, and the latter part of the name likely alludes to tabby cats.
It turns out those were indeed the names of the starter Pokémon, albeit the Japanese names. In English, the names have been localised to Rowlet (Mokuroh), Popplio (Ashimari) and Litten (Nyabby). As expected, Popplio is a Water type Pokémon and Litten is a Fire type Pokémon. Rowlet, however, is a Grass and Flying type Pokémon.
#4 The Starters’ Possible Evolution Types
We’ve already learned the Pokémon types the Starters belong to. But what’s interesting is that the games’ official website may have spoiled what types they will evolve into. This is thanks to the URLs that point to an image representing the type of Pokémon. This URL [taken down for now], for instance, takes us to the Japanese-language image for one of Rowlet’s types: Grass. If you replace “icon01.png” in the URL with “icon02.png”, you get Rowlet’s second type: Flying. Simple enough.
But interestingly, if you type in “icon03.png” and “icon04.png” respectively, you get Ground and Fire types respectively. “icon05.png” and “icon06.png” take us to Water and Fighting respectively, and that is where the chain ends. There is no corresponding URL for “icon07.png”. What this suggests is that the evolutions of these starter Pokémon will eventually feature the Ground and Fighting types as well. Most fans are speculating that due to the order they are stored in, Litten will evolve into a Fire/Ground Pokémon, while Popplio will evolve into a Water/Fighting Pokémon.
#5 The Cover Legendaries
The cover legendaries were revealed in the same trailer that announced the release date and revealed the starter Pokémon for the games. However, no names have been announced for them yet. That said, trademark registrations were spotted for “Solgaleo” and “Lunaala“, two names that sound suspiciously like names for the cover legendary Pokémon of Pokémon Sun and Moon.
“Solgaleo” includes two important roots: “sol”, meaning “sun” in Latin and “leo”, meaning “lion”. Essentailly a “sun lion”, if you will. And if you take a look at the cover Legendary for Pokémon Sun, you’ll notice that he looks very much like a lion. The other name, “Lunaala”, uses the root “luna”, meaning “moon” in Latin. While that name doesn’t tell us what kind of Pokémon it is referring to, the cover for Pokémon Moon suggests a majestic bat-like Pokémon.
#6 Release Dates and Languages
Pokémon Sun and Moon will be releasing worldwide on November 18th, 2016 and in Europe on November 23rd, 2016. For the first time, the games will be localised in Chinese (both Simplified and Traditional variants), marking the entry of mainline Pokémon games into the Chinese and Taiwanese markets. This should considerably expand Pokémon’s appeal worldwide.