Pokémon Black Version and White Version (ポケットモンスターブラック・ホワイト, Poketto Monsutā Burakku & Howaito, “Pocket Monsters: Black & White”) comprise the upcoming fifth generation of the core Pokémon series of RPGs. The games are set to be released on September 18, 2010, in Japan. As of September 2010, there have been a total of 30 new Pokémon officially announced, two of which debuted in the thirteenth Pokémon film in Japanese theaters on July 10, 2010. The games will be released outside Japan in the second quarter of 2011. As of August 2010, Black and White are the fastest DS games to reach one million consumer pre-orders in Japan.
On January 29, 2010, the Pokémon Company announced that a new game was in development for the Nintendo DS to be released later that year.Director Junichi Masuda stated that several aspects of the series were being revamped for the new generation. On April 9, 2010, the Japanese website updated with the titles of the versions as Pokémon Black and White, and announced a Q3 2010 release date. The games will feature an improved visual style from other Pokémon games, with an increased use of 3D computer graphics than any other of the handheld series. It also has a special feature that allows the user to upload their saved game to the Internet, allowing them to do certain things on an official website. Another new feature in the game is the implementation of different seasons tied in with the games’ internal clock.
On August 3, 2010, Masuda announced on his blog that the Black and White game versions will initially only contain brand new Pokémon to evoke a feeling of it being a brand new game, like when the original Pokémon games were first released. In all of the games following the first generation, there were a series of new Pokémon introduced interspersed with Pokémon from the previous generations. For example, Pikachu was introduced in Red and Green, and was obtainable in Blue, Yellow, and all subsequent main series games; however, Pikachu will not be obtainable in Black and White from the start of the game.
A silhouette of a new Pokémon was shown by Junichi Masuda on the February 7, 2010 episode of Pokémon Sunday, stated to be in the upcoming film for the summer and to be identified in a future episode on February 21. This new character would also be featured in the March 2010 issue of CoroCoro Comic available on February 15, and is the start of the fifth generation of the Pokémon franchise. Since then, the character has been named “Zoroark” (ゾロアーク, Zoroāku), and it evolves from a character named “Zorua” (ゾロア, Zoroa). Both are to be featured in the upcoming film Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl The Movie: Phantom Ruler: Zoroark. For pre-order ticket holders, an alternate-colored Raikou, Entei, or Suicune was available for transfer to their Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, or SoulSilver games. At the theater, players would be able to download a Celebi to the same games. Both of these Pokémon would activate special events in Black and White involving Zoroark and Zorua, respectively.
On April 18, 2010, the episode of Pokémon Sunday showed game footage of a player character walking around in a 3-D environment and a single screenshot depicting a battle between the player’s Zoroark and an enemy Zorua. Host Shoko Nakagawa made note of how the player’s Zoroark’s sprite was a full body sprite as viewed from behind, when in the past all such sprites only showed a smaller portion of the player’s Pokémon’s body. On May 9, 2010, the episode of Pokémon Sunday revealed silhouettes of the three Pokémon available to choose from at the beginning of the games, which were later revealed to be the Grass Snake Pokémon Tsutarja (ツタージャ, Tsutāja), the Fire Pig Pokémon Pokabu (ポカブ), and the Sea Otter Pokémon Mijumaru (ミジュマル). Other information revealed is that the game takes place in the Isshu Region (イッシュ地方, Isshu-chihō) which includes the Hiun City (ヒウンシティ, Hiun Shiti) metropolis. On May 16, 2010, the episode of Pokémon Sunday showed game battle footage, illustrating the new in-battle animations and dynamic camera positioning; also described were Zoroark’s Illusion (イリュージョン, Iryūjon) ability and the special Zoroark acquired by the movie ticket pre-order gift Pokémon.
On May 28, 2010, both the official Japanese and English Pokémon websites revealed names and designs of the two major Legendary Pokémon of these games, who also serve as the game version mascots: the White Yang Pokémon Reshiram (レシラム, Reshiramu) for Pokémon Black and the Black Yin Pokémon Zekrom (ゼクロム, Zekuromu) for Pokémon White. The July 2010 issue of CoroCoro Comic revealed the C Gear (Ｃギア, Shī Gia?) wireless interactivity features, the ability to upload game data to the internet and the player’s computer, several brand new Pokémon, new Pokémon moves, Reshiram and Zekrom’s Pokémon types, details on the Celebi/Zorua event, and a new character: Professor Araragi (アララギ博士, Araragi Hakase), the first female Pokémon professor to appear in the video games. The June 27, 2010, episode of Pokémon Sunday, made the announcement of the release date as September 18, 2010, and a yet-to-be named character. The June 28, 2010, episode of Oha Suta, showed a trailer, which included its release date, new gameplay footage, several new characters, more new Pokémon, and a three-on-three battle system. The August 2010 issue of CoroCoro Comic elaborated upon many new game mechanics: the three-on-three system, the online Global Link system, an online Dream World that can allow for access to other Pokémon, access to an area that uses the Wi-Fi called the High-Link (similar to the Underground), a special feature called Live Caster for video chat on the Nintendo DSi and Nintendo 3DS, kanji support, aesthetic differences between the two versions of the game, areas exclusive to the game versions, new characters, new moves, new abilities, and new Pokémon.
The July 25, 2010, episode of Pokémon Sunday introduced the new phantom Pokémon Victini (ビクティニ, Bikutini), which initially appeared in a trailer for the 2011 Pokémon film that was shown with screenings of Phantom Ruler: Zoroark. It is noted to be Pokémon No. 000 in Isshu’s regional Pokédex, and is only accessible by downloading a special item from Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, DS Stations, and Nintendo Zones (such as those found in Japanese McDonald’s restaurants) to a game save. This will initially be available for a month following the games’ release date.
In August 2010, one month before the games’ release in Japan, Pokémon Black and White gained a total of 1.08 million pre-orders, becoming the fastest game on the Nintendo DS to break the one million mark. Japanese magazine Famitsu Weekly awarded the game a perfect 40 out of 40 score, becoming the 15th game to receive such as distinction, as well as obtaining the highest score ever given to a Pokémon video game by the publication.
|Publisher(s)||Nintendo, The Pokémon Company|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|