Pokemon, Pokemon, Pokemon. It may still be a global phenomenon, with its addictive blend of critter catching, raising and battling, all wrapped up in a world-saving story, but Nintendo's latest entry didn't really have the best start. Initially revealed via a laughably brief online Nintendo Direct broadcast, which weighed in at a whopping six and a half minutes long, and didn't actually show any real footage of the new game, it left more than a bad taste in many an ardent Poke fan's mouth. Luckily, though, things are now very much back on track, as yesterday, Nintendo released the first firm details about Pokemon Sun and Moon, including information about the all important starter Pokemon, and each game's elusive legendaries.
As has been the tradition since Pokemon began, you'll kick off your land-spanning adventure with naught but a pair of running shoes on your feet and a brand-spanking-new Pokemon in your pocket. Usually given to you by the local Pokemon scientist, as you get roped into their research-project-turned-world-saving quest, the 'starter' Pokemon you pick will likely stick with you through thick and thin, becoming a permanent fixture in your party from the moment you fly the nest. Tradition dictates you get a choice of three different 'mons from the outset, with a selection of grass, water and fire Pokemon, and it looks like Pokemon Sun and Moon will be no different. It's usually a bit of a tough choice too, as we try and balance potential usefulness with cuteness - and it looks like it'll be even tougher to pick a favourite this time round.
Grass-loving Pokemon trainers will love the rather rotund owl, Rowlet, whose dual Grass and Flying type is sure to come in handy, particularly later in the game when it comes to (hopefully) learning the move Fly to get between cities. In battle Rowlet attacks with a combination of powerful kicks, and the never-before-seen move Leafage, which attacks enemies "from a distance, using the razor-sharp leaves that form part of its feathers", whatever that means in practice. Sun and Moon's fire Pokemon, Litten, is an adorable fire cat Pokemon, who apparently creates highly flammable hairballs when it grooms itself, coming with the ever-popular fire move Ember, which attacks its opponents with small fireballs and occasionally leaves them with a burn. Finally, and probably our current pick of the three, is Poppilo, a cheerful sea lion-like Water type with a penchant for bubbles. According to its description, most of it's attacks stem from the water balloons it creates from its nose - something which its initial moveset seems to lack, coming with a bog-standard Water Gun attack instead, which attacks enemies with a jet of water instead.
The box arts for the two games also give an insight into the powerful Legendary Pokemon you'll be able to catch towards the end of the story, as is always the way. Based on the packaging, we can safely assume that Moon players will be able to grab themselves a bluey-purple bat-like creature with crescent moon-shaped wings, while Sun players have the option of catching a big white cat with red and yellow flecks in its mane. At the time of writing, neither 'mon has been officially named, but recent Nintendo trademarks suggest Batface could be called Lunaala, which loosely translates from Latin as 'moon wing' while Lion McLionface is officially dubbed, Solgaleo, which appears to be some kind of fusion of the Latin words for sun, helmet and lion, from what we can tell.
We also got our first few glimpses at Sun and Moon's new world, the tropical island-esque Alola region, with it's sprawling beaches, palm trees and blue skies. Hawaiian-style prints are abundant on the locals, but it's not all greenery and sun-soaked islands - we caught a glimpse of a fairly built up city, like those of Pokemon X and Y too, alongside the more coastal towns, with their strange stone monuments and wooden carvings. But as for what kind of wildlife you'll be able to catch, train and battle, the new trailer remains surprisingly schtum, although we'd imagine there'll be a handful of new faces mixed in with old favourites, as per Pokemon X and Y.
Pokemon Sun and Moon will be hitting the 3DS later this year, on the 23rd November across Europe (18th in America) - so you've got a bit of time to mull over your choice of starter Pokemon yet. Until then, why not check out the first proper trailer below: