Pokemon games tend to be a yearly affair, right? Ever wondered why you haven’t heard an announcement concerning a 2015 installment? After all, one usually shows up in time for the holiday shopping season. 2014 had Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, X and Y took 2013, and Black/White and their sequels, Black Version 2/White Version 2 had 2011 and 2012 covered. One would think 2015 would get one too, but the absence makes sense.
Look at Nintendo’s 2015 lineup. Notice anything? Level-5 has two Pokemon-style games in North America this year. LBX: Little Battlers eXperience was released on August 21, 2015, and Yo-Kai Watch will be out on November 6, 2015. Combined, the two releases are occupying the spot a Pokemon would typically take.
LBX: Little Battlers eXperience is a robot creator and battler, sure. Still, it has plenty of common with Pokemon. You’re customizing the robot with pieces from 130 sets. Each person’s figure could be different. Once you have a team put together, you can battle in-game virtual opponents or locally against a friend with the game. It’s pretty familiar, right?
Yo-Kai Watch is even more similar. You’re collecting Yo-Kai, supernatural creatures with the potential to learn new abilities and evolve. You send them off to fight other Yo-Kai. Many of these characters were inspired by the same animals, myths and items as ones seen in Pokemon. It’s the same thing without being the same thing, if that makes sense at all.
With both of these Level-5 Pokemon-likes coming out at once, of course Nintendo didn’t want to release any additional distractions. The company is publishing these games and wants to make money. These are new IPs for all regions that aren’t Japan. Having something so recognizable available when LBX and Yo-Kai Watch are taking their first steps could be disastrous.
If you wanted a new Pokemon this year and are looking for someone to blame… point those accusing fingers at Level-5.