This morning Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announced two new entries into the Pokémon series: Pokémon X and Y for the Nintendo 3DS, coming October 2013 worldwide! For the first time in the franchise's history, there is a simultaneous (or near-simultaneous) release date for most major markets. For a text-heavy RPG, this will be a great accomplishment of localization. Hearing this news was well worth my waking up early.
The announcement is unusual for the quantity of information we were given. Rather than the usual slow trickle of title, followed by vague screenshots and silhouettes of new Pokémon, we had a full trailer showing gameplay, starters, and version-exclusive legendaries. There is a lot of room for speculation in said trailer, and I have a few ideas.
It finally seems like we're moving from a pixelated, sprite-based style to CGI-rendered models for nearly everything in the game. For Pokémon fans this is a drastic change as the series has used the sprites since its first incarnation in 1996. This makes sense, however, since the series is moving to a new, more-powerful machine that can handle these models better. Not everything is changing however: based on the trailer, grid-based movement is still present (no diagonal movement). The trailer also shows what looks like skating as a movement option, in addition to the running fast movement present since Ruby/Sapphire.
One of the more exciting possibilities is suggested by the first shot of the trailer: the male trainer standing in front of a mirror. His pose particularly resembles character customization screens from series like The Sims or Grand Theft Auto, leading me to believe we finally are able to personalize ourselves in the game. To what extent is unseen, but wouldn't be too hard to make it a grand feature. The fact there is no art of the trainers available yet may be further evidence of this feature.
Another cosmetic uplift for the series is its presentation of battles. In generation V (Black/White) we were introduced to sprite movement, making battles seem less stale. In Pokémon X & Y, however the battle system closely resembles an updated version of the classic Pokémon Stadium series.
And finally we have the setting of this game, which I think will be based in Europe, specifically France. The Eiffel Tower appears in one of the opening shots, marked specifically on the globe in its proper location. Other shots of locations in the game show European architecture. Black/White showed us that the designers were looking outside Japan for location inspiration (its world is based on New York City). In Japan, Paris is often seen as a European cultural mecca, the ideal destination for a vacation, to the extent disillusionment after visiting it has a name and Wikipedia article. It will be interesting to see if the team will stick to just Paris, France, or branch out to other parts of Europe.
And here's the starters, because those are awesome:
Remember you can also discuss the Pokémon series in general in the forums!