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Nintendo's monster fighting franchise may have finally hit a wall after having so many releases year after year.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

August 14, 2023

2 Min Read
Promo art for Nintendo's Pokémon Scarlet & Violet.

The Pokémon franchise may be winding down from its semi-annual release schedule. In a translated interview at ComicBook, The Pokémon Company's COO Takato Utsunomiya acknowledged that the company is considering a change to its release cadence for the long-running series. 

"If you look at the past, the path we've taken up until now has been this constant release, always regularly releasing products on a fairly fixed kind of a cadence," said Utsunomiya. "Always having these products able to be introduced and new experiences for our customers, and that's how we've operated up until now."

Since the original Pokémon Red and Green released in 1996, the series often launches one game (or more) per year. In recent years, the formula has been mixed up with the release being DLC (split into two parts), remake, or spinoff, but the "annualization effect" is still felt. 

Last year's Pokemon Scarlet and Violet was beset with bugs and performance issues to the point that Nintendo publicly apologized for the games' state. Utsunomiya acknowledged that as "development environments change," it may be time for the series to slow down and take its time with future installments. 

"There's more and more conversations...about how we can continue to do this," he continued, "while making sure that we're ensuring really quality products are also being introduced."

Why change how Pokémon is made now?

Concerns about the Pokémon franchise's release schedule have existed for years, but those discussions have grown amid investigations into how games (and big tentpole titles specifically) are made. To this point, Nintendo hasn't received quite as much scrutiny as other large studios. 

The Pokémon Company publicly disclosing they may change how the games are made and released is an admission that it realizes its current model is unsustainable, and has been for some time. 

It's worth noting that this news is coming some months after Game Freak announced it is working on a non-Pokémon title with Private Division. Game Freak has been intrinsically tied to Pokémon for decades, and that project may also play a factor into whatever conversations are happening over at Nintendo regarding the series' future cadence.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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