Pokémon Stars Version (lost enhanced Nintendo Switch port of "Pokémon Sun and Moon" Nintendo 3DS role-playing games; existence unconfirmed; 2017)
On November 18th, 2016, Pokémon Sun and Moon was released for the Nintendo 3DS. Kicking off the next generation of Pokémon. At the time, the games were released a month after Nintendo finally revealed Project NX, now known as the Nintendo Switch. As the console was presented as a home console and a handheld console, fans are wondering if they will have a mainline Pokémon game for the Switch. However, during this time, no plans were made.
The Rumors[edit | edit source]
Around the same month of Sun and Moon's release, Eurogamer has reported on November 18th, 2016, that they heard from multiple sources that a game under the codename of Pokémon Stars is currently under development and was said to be released in late 2017. Seems like a third version (ex. Pokémon Yellow, Emerald and Platinum) would be on the Nintendo Switch. What Pokémon Stars would offer is new Pokémon along with an upgrade for the resolution for the game, being played at 720p. With rumors appearing all over the internet, fans were hyped when a mainline Pokémon game will be coming in a home console. Over the past few months, The Pokémon Company would start the "Look at the Stars" campaign with the release of some star-themed merchandise. Shortly thereafter, Junichi Masuda (series Director) made a tweet with the words "Pokémon Stars", which fans interpreted as a potential teaser for the game. The hype increased when Amazon UK made a listing for Pokémon Stars in mid-2017, With the page selling pre-orders. It was most likely a placeholder as there wasn't any box art and the release date was in January 2030.
During June around the E3 period, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon was announced and it was listed on The Pokémon Company's official website, listing both to be coming to Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch. But the Switch listing was quickly removed, suggesting it was likely a mistake. People suspected that Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon could be the Pokémon Stars project as it sounds similar to what the rumors suggested.
Potential Cancellation[edit | edit source]
Near the release period of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon release, it seemed like the Pokémon Stars project was cancelled as no mainline Pokémon game came to the Switch, with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon being a 3DS exclusive, and a mainline Pokémon game not coming until Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee in 2018 and Pokémon Sword and Shield in 2019. Eurogamer writer Tom Phillips who wrote the previous article about Pokémon Stars coming to Switch, came in and stated about what happened with Pokémon Stars. Thanks to him along with the folks over at DidYouKnowGaming, with their video "LOST Nintendo Games," some more information/theories can be gathered that may explain Pokémon Stars fate. Sources indicated that the game's cancellation was due to Nintendo's business strategy. After the Wii U's failure, Nintendo originally planned to release 3 games belonging to their biggest IPs: The Legend of Zelda with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario with Super Mario Odyssey, and Pokémon with Project Pokémon Stars. It was meant to be a backup plan in case the Switch was struggling in the market, but plans have changed not only because the Switch was successful, but they were struggling to produce enough of them, so it seems like they had other 3DS games planned to be ported to the Switch such as Metroid: Samus Returns as backup plans. Nintendo has stated that the Switch and 3DS will co-exist with each other. But just like the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, the Switch would phase out the 3DS. Eurogamer has suggested that an up-res'ed 3DS selling at full price ($60) could've damaged the Switch's reputation during its first year. This could be another factor in Pokémon Stars' cancellation.
A few fans don't believe him and there were some people who accused Eurogamer of making it up for clicks and clout, as there have been several hoaxes and fake rumors in the past from other sources. Tom Phillips was a reporter that successfully predicted other products coming before their announcements such as the report of the Switch's design and hardware specs, the SNES Classic, Diablo 3 on Switch and other games.
Another theory that was suggested by DidYouKnowGaming is that someone at Nintendo saw the game running on Switch in HD and told someone at Eurogamer. Along with Pokémon Sun and Moon on the 3DS lacking many features that were in Generation 6 such as numerous features for the bottom screen and a lack of stereoscopic 3D. But it's also possible that it was only made for testing purposes. Ohmori and Junichi Masuda had revealed that Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee and Pokémon Sword and Shield had entered production around the time Pokémon Sun and Moon's production was almost completed. Both DidYouKnowGaming and Tom have collaborated to reach about 50 developers who worked on Pokémon Sun and Moon, but they weren't allowed to say anything, most likely due to their own NDA contracts.
Status[edit | edit source]
While there's a decent amount of information about the game's existence, it's not enough to confirm whether it really exists, And no prototypes or screenshots has been revealed about the game. No materials have been leaked, even with the Nintendo Gigaleak of 2020, meaning the game is currently lost, with its existence being inconclusive.