Pokémon Sun and Moon hit the 3DS in November of 2016, and since then rumours of the third game in the series have been swirling. Codenamed Pokémon Stars, it's possible that the new Pokemon game could even be destined for the Nintendo Switch.
Traditionally, Pokémon games came in threes. Players were given two options to start with, which have the same story and gameplay but subtle differences when it comes to the Pokémon available. This is designed to encourage trading with other players.
Then, several months later (sometimes even a year or more), an additional game is introduced with yet more variations in Pokémon and sometimes some additional features.
For example, back in 1998, the first of these types of games became available for Game Boy. They were Pokémon Red and Blue, and were followed by Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition.
In Yellow, players were given only Pikachu as a starting Pokémon, who would follow the player around. There was also an additional mini-game and slightly improved graphics.
A similar structure was kept for the subsequent three generations, as follows:
- Generation II: Pokémon Gold and Silver, followed by Pokémon Crystal
- Generation III: Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, followed by Pokémon Emerald
- Generation IV: Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, followed by Pokémon Platinum
Then came Pokémon Black and White, which bucked the trend by being followed by direct sequels called Black 2 and White 2 rather than a third game as before. And after that we got Pokémon X and Y, which didn't have a sequel or companion at all.
So what makes us think that Nintendo and Pokémon are going to go back to the old release model? Well, since Sun and Moon were released, Nintendo has introduced its hugely popular and praised Nintendo Switch, and rumour has it there's a Pokémon game coming to the new console soon.
Some have speculated that an HD model of new Sun and Moon Pokémon Pikipek (shown above in a Nintendo teaser trailer for Sun and Moon) is destined for Stars, and earlier this year a mention of Pokémon on the Nintendo Switch was spotted but swiftly removed from GameStop's website.
There is also some speculation about a strange cutscene discovered by a Reddit user, which could hint that Stars is coming. You can watch the video below.
Thanks to the Pokémon Bank app, it would be easy to trade Pokémon between Sun, Moon and Stars, despite the difference in console, so we certainly think there's a strong possibility that these rumours are true.
When is the Pokémon Stars release date?
EuroGamer claims to have spoken to sources who suggest that Stars is "well into development" and is set to be released later this year.
At E3 2017, Tsunekazu Ishihara from The Pokémon Company made a brief appearance to announce that Pokken Tournament DX is coming to Switch, but also to say that Game Freak is developing a core RPG Pokémon title on Nintendo Switch.
This could well be the long-awaited Stars, but he said ‘it may not release for more than a year’.
Until then, we will have to wait and see if this alluded to title is Stars or another game altogether.
Reddit user Shigata Ichikuch has come up with this gorgeous concept image of Stars.
Read next: Nintendo Switch accessories