Pokémon on Switch Header

Leaks say Pokémon on Switch is a remake. Take info with a dose of salt.

Fans have waited for ages to see what Pokémon will look like on Nintendo’s latest console. If recent leaks are to be believed, we might finally get that glimpse soon.

Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee are the alleged titles for the upcoming mainline Pokémon games. According to the current rumor mill, these games will be a reboot of the series in the Kanto region, just like the original Red and Blue. The games’ titles reflect integration with Pokémon Go, though it’s hard to pin down what that means. Also, each game indicates your starter Pokémon in each version, while also serving as a homage to the Pokémon anime.

Depending on where you look, you’ll find tons of peripheral rumors on top of this. Some say only the original 150 Pokémon will be obtainable. Others say similarities to Pokémon Go run deep, to the point that capture mechanics are carried over. But how likely are any of these rumors anyway? Let’s break down what makes these leaks seem reasonable… but also look at what seems unlikely in all of this.

Why the leaks could be real.

Pokemon leak screenshot

The newest Pokémon on Switch, if rumors are to be believed

If there’s one thing these most recent leaks have going for them, its consistency. Months before Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee hit the internet, rumors have insisted that Pokémon on Switch would be a Generation 1 reboot. Even the supposed leaked screenshot of Pokémon on Switch supports the leaks. Not only are Pokémon visible on the map (similar to Pokemon Go), the layout is an exact recreation of Route 21 in Kanto. This is not to mention the apparent Eevee riding a Lapras in the screen as well. Sure, it’s perfectly normal for fake leaks to build on each other, but the way it has been done here veers a little towards uncanny.

We also know that Gamefreak has been “exploring ways to connect the main games to Pokémon Go” since 2016. And honestly, it makes perfect sense. Pokémon Go was a massive breakout hit when it came out, and it’s the type of peripheral experience the company loves. We even talked about the ways Pokemon has built up to Pokemon Go back when it came out. Connecting a core Pokémon title to Pokémon Go just makes good business sense. Lapsed Go players would return to the game, and Switch sales would skyrocket in turn. Not that Nintendo consoles don’t already fly off the shelf with a Pokémon title, but that’s a detail.

Finally, a Generation 1 reboot jives perfectly well with Pokémon Go integration. Pokémon Go launched with only the original 150 Pokémon intact, and even today they’re only up to Generation 3. Sticking with the Kanto region ensures parity between Let’s Go Pikachu / Eevee and Pokémon Go. Besides, fans have been dying for a Kanto reboot to begin with. It’s been almost 15 years since Fire Red and Leaf Green came out, so a newer remake (seemingly based on Yellow no less) is certainly in order.

Why the leaks are sketchy

Let's Go Pikachu Logo

The alleged Let’s Go Pikachu logo.

The problem with leaks is that leaks are a liar… sometimes.

Not even a year ago, fans were all but certain that Pokémon Stars was the Pokémon on Switch. According to leaks and rumors, this was an upscaled version of Sun and Moon with added features, a la Yellow and Crystal version. When the 3DS-exclusive Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were announced instead, fans were furious.

Some argue that Pokémon Stars did exist at one point, but no one can say for sure. The point is, leaks should always be taken with a healthy grain of salt. Fans have found circumstantial evidence to confirm the existence of Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, but it’s just that: circumstantial. For instance, the URLs “pokemonletsgopikachu.com” and “pokemonletsgoeevee.com” have been purchased, but there’s no official link between these domains and Nintendo or Gamefreak. Besides, Nintendo is notorious for protecting its intellectual property. They could just as easily be blocking phony sites popping up in reaction to the rumors.

Eevee Lapras Tweet

Fans have also noticed an uptick of Pikachu and Eevee pictures from various official sources, which… could go either way. Sure, this could be some kind of subtle viral marketing. On the other hand, Pikachu and Eevee are literal and practical mascots for the franchise, respectively. If it weren’t for the current rumor mill, no one would bat an eye to these two getting the spotlight.

Aside from all this, the leaks also feel a bit sketchy because… well, it’s already such break from tradition. As it is, we’ve never had a Pokémon generation kicked off with a remake. Plus Pikachu and Eevee as starter Pokémon would be deeply surprising for a series that has always adhered to a Fire / Water / Grass trio of starters. And seriously, who wouldn’t pick Eevee between the two? Jolteon is almost always favored over Raichu by serious fans, and that’s just one of 8 evolutions Eevee has.

Speaking of balance, Red and Blue didn’t exactly have that, if we’re being honest. Psychic type Pokémon had functionally no counter, since the only ghosts (Ghastly, Haunter, Gengar) were also weak to Psychic type moves. And that’s just one major issue. If these games are the flagship games fans will be trading and battling in for the next few years, then the extent of the “reboot” in question here will have to be far greater than leakers are letting on.

What to make of the leaks

Pikachu Eevee

There’s solid evidence pointing to Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee being something. The question, though, is what?

Leaks can be partially right. We’ve seen it happen with Super Smash Bros., and it can certainly happen here. Since E3 is just around the corner, video game rumors are going to get crazier and crazier until the event is over. As a result, it’s hard to know exactly what to trust when it comes to leaked info. In other words, even if Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee are real, it’s impossible to say what is and isn’t real about them until there’s an official announcement.

One thing for sure is this: there’s a strong chance we’re seeing the new Pokémon on Switch soon. We know it’s coming, and the time is right for us to see it. If you’re hyped to learn more about the games, then join the club! In the meantime, don’t get your hopes up too high because of supposed leaks and rumors.

In short, have fun speculating and fantasizing over what Pokémon on Switch will be. Just don’t get totally crushed if the real deal isn’t what you expected.

Written by TimM
Tim is a video game aficionado who is fascinated by pop culture. He built his first collection in 1999 by catching all 151 monsters in Pokemon Red, and he hasn't stopped collecting since. His work has been featured multiple times on Destructoid.com.