For many of us who tuned in to watch the recent Pokemon Direct we expected to hear about big details regarding upcoming Pokemon releases, maybe some Pokken Tournament, future Pokemon games coming to the Virtual Console, other little surprises, and then the big part a brand new Pokemon game in this case being Sun and Moon. While I can admit that the Direct was certainly busy we did not really see much in regards to upcoming projects, in fact more than half was really a look back at the evolution of the Pokemon franchise, all leading up to the big reveal of Pokemon Sun and Moon. But wait after minutes of footage from past games what got shown? It was only concept art for the game and small places created for it, there was no gameplay, no proper new Pokemon reveal and the whole thing was only ten seconds long at best. What is this we were shown, perhaps we can consider it the future and one of the best game reveals ever made.
Sometimes we don’t need a lot to be impressed, sometimes it is being left with a lasting impression that has us considering what lies ahead, and this can be best delivered by means of basically nothing and a simple reveal that you have to literally pause just to see all the details shown. This is the Pokemon Sun and Moon reveal in a nutshell, where we would have expected a massive reveal full of gameplay, details on new features and of course new Pokemon, Nintendo instead showed us something simple but important. Simple concept art for the two games honestly got me excited for the future of the Pokemon games, in a simple matter of blink and you’ll miss it a whole lot was shown and yet also nothing.
To those unwilling to rewatch in repeat and ultimately consider every details shown nothing was shown that was important, but this trailer acted as the perfect example of getting those willing excited while also making them do the work. You can look at almost any game trailer in recent memory and you will have pretty much been told everything about the game that you need to know, all the important details are shared. These trailers do still leave us excited taking the recent Uncharted 4 story trailer as a prime example but they still show a bit too much, sure they get me excited for the game with the slight mystery left unearthed but all the details are left in the open.
I think it is better for games as they get closer to release to unearth some details but they also give away some of the surprising elements, but this trend does not just relate to games that are close to release, many reveal trailers tell us a whole lot and more then we need to know. Which of course brings me back to Pokemon Sun and Moon, in all honesty what were we shown, a bunch of disjointed images that will eventually form the games? I think this is a good way to think of it because it makes this ten second reveal so much more exciting, for those willing to do the work we can see every deliberate detail and consider the future of the game ourselves.
How I see it is that they are not building our expectations, in this case Game Freak is not trying to disappoint or excite us but instead find a balance that makes it about those who look at the trailer and think. We can build our own expectations while we piece together every last detail shown and work theories that make us consider what exactly the game is about and what it will offer us, concept art makes the trailer about the viewer and seeing what a quick assortment of images can produce. Looking at everything multiple times I cannot honestly piece together much besides what appears to be some interesting images that could be adjusted into some truly interesting game mechanics, and in me this builds my interest quite highly. What will this game offer me, what connections are there, what could this image add to the game, how will it evolve, these questions are what I ask myself as I attempt to piece together everything.
This is what makes Pokemon Sun and Moon’s reveal great, this trailer shows the power of what seems like complete randomness and nothingness which makes no sense until you think. It’s a simple idea but one that shows the hard work behind the game and also leaves a lasting impression, it has you thinking, it has you scouring through its core to find every hidden detail that solves the next part of the puzzle. It is the simplicity of the reveal that ensures that Pokemon Sun and Moon will not be forgotten and instead continue to dwell in our thoughts as an annoying urge to know it all pushes us.
This in turn should actually be how all games are revealed, no big fanfare, no huge cinematics, and certainly no reveals that don’t even use the games engine. Sometimes simplicity is best to actually get us excited and force perspective players to do the thinking and to consider all the details that make up the eventual game, I can’t say we forget the reveals of games now but there are still many that I have completely forgotten. This simplistic form is enough to fill all needs and offer the viewers something that is important the chance to use their brain and actually think about every detail and draw their own conclusion on the potential game and get themselves excited.