Hello, my dear PUCLonians, and welcome to an exciting post-announcement edition of The Fluff! Thatch stated in no uncertain terms on Monday’s show that we would NOT be getting a Pokémon game this year, so within literally hours Nintendo announced a Pokémon Direct for the next day, and sure enough, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were announced! Good job, Thatch, it’s nice to know we can always count on you to make a new game come out.

He does have a talent for it, doesn’t he?

Yes, Whimsicott. Well, to be fair, he also has a great talent for saying incredibly accurate stuff (as I will detail later), so, while I’m going to be throwing a lot of observations and speculation into this article, if you want actual magic, listen to the episode tomorrow. As for me, I’ll be trying to figure out what the possible differences and new additions will be in the next Pokémon games!

The Plot

Since US&UM are not sequels, I don’t think we can expect a story that takes place after Sun and Moon (sadly). First of all, this is what good old Junichi Masuda said in the Direct:

An alternative story in the same world sounds a lot like… a slightly different timeline? The protagonists we see in the trailer do use the same base models, certainly due to technical reasons, and start out from the same house, but I get the feeling from their hair and clothes that they’re meant to be different people than the Sun and Moon protagonists. While we’re on this screenshot, the signed (?) picture frame that’s taken the place of the stuffed Pikachu is a very interesting detail, too: it kind of looks like it portrays Solgaleo, or something with a shape similar to its face? Who signed it, if that’s what the squiggles are? Who does our protagonist admire that much? I have a couple of ideas, but let me get back to them later.

The Pokémon website, meanwhile, states:

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon have been powered up with new additions to the story and features of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon!”

Which… is not quite the same as saying the story is different. So we’re already slightly confused. Personally, of course, I would want it to be one of those “for want of a nail” things, where a single change in events leads to a different story, which still parallels the original one. (I am very fascinated by these.) But that might mean an entirely new plot on the same framework; the Lillie and Nebby and Lusamine part of Sun and Moon was so relevant and distinctive that changing just bits of it would feel strange, so in my opinion they’d have to go all or nothing on it. And personally I’d prefer if they went in an entirely different direction (I want a new game, after all). But do I think it’s plausible?

Honestly, I don’t know. How much work would it be? I’m thinking a ton. But I do desperately want it. Like, a world in which Guzma managed to become a Trial Captain? Or in which Mohn didn’t leave his family (yeah, did you know the Pelago guy is Lillie and Gladion’s dad)? Or in which Kukui actually won the Kanto League Challenge all those years ago?

Oh, I see where you’re going with this.

Yes Whimsicott. What if he became famous and that’s his autograph in our room? What if he came back to Alola and before we got there, he had already put together the league he’s only just starting in Sun and Moon? What if US&UM have…

Gyms

Now, remember me saying Thatch is often very, very right? This is one such instance. He’s been telling us for a while that each island in Alola has one vacant, under construction lot, where Gyms will be in the future… but he is actually more right tan he even knew. Turns out, as Reddit users Tsintzask and JackShoon pointed out, and as seen on the Japan Time podcast, that the vacant lots and/or stacks of construction equipment are actually… eight.

Oooh.

Yeaaah. Pretty great, right? So even if US&UM aren’t sequels, I’d bet everything we’re getting Gyms this time around. The trend of touching up the Alola region has already started, with the explosion of blooming flowers on Route 1 and the Pikachu-filled area seen in the trailer.

The trailer also rather clearly shows what looks like new Totem Pokémon and/or new exclusive Z-Move animations. I’d be leaning towards the latter, because Mimikyu is already a totem Pokémon, but it could well be the case that Lycanroc is a new Totem, and Mimikyu gets a new Z-Move.

But would Totems and Trials still stay, with Gyms?

I’m saying Totems, yes, Trials… maybe? It would be weird to have them alongside Gyms. But Totems are the base of Gen VII’s new “thing”, a.k.a. the SOS mechanic, so I don’t think they’re going anywhere.

New Pokémon

Ok, I’m going to say it, and if I’m proved wrong, I won’t be sad, but there will be ZERO new Pokémon in US&UM. By that I mean, Marshadow will remain the last Pokémon in the Pokédex. That I am absolutely sure about: no new Pokémon in the middle of a Generation.

But obviously there will be new forms, which have already been shown in the trailer. The Pokémon website does not confirm whether these count as forms of Solgaleo and Lunala or of Necrozma, but the general consensus, given the designs, is that they pulled a reverse Kyurem and Necrozma will be an accessory to the Nebby crew. (Bringing the old mecha anime feel of the legendaries, which captured me from the start, to epic levels.) Magearna already has an unrelased form, so I’m guessing Marshadow gets a giant kick-ass one, as Hoopa did.

Alolan forms also seem like a pretty obvious possibility, although the specifics are iffy. Many sources of rumors which nailed several things in pre-Sun and Moon leaks also said things that were totally wrong. Were they throwing in lies to mix things up, or to take the heat off themselves? Or did they have access to work-in-progress stuff from both Sun and Moon and US&UM? My logic would tell me that only Pokémon that are not already part of the Alola Pokédex can get new Alolan forms (and they should start from the basic Pokémon, too, as otherwise it would become incoherent with Pokémon you bring from Bank and evolve in Alola), but one of the biggest pre-Suna and Moon rumors from supposedly good sources was a Water-type Arcanine, and Growlithe is already native to Alola in Sun and Moon.

Uhm… new stone, maybe?

Maybe, but we got one for Vulpix and it worked on something that was already an Alolan form, so there’s no clear precedent. There is a precedent for a Pokémon changing its type completely upon evolving to its Alolan form (hi, Cubone), so that I would be perfectly willing to believe.

As for new Megas… eh. Megas were Gen VI’s thing. I don’t see any being added in US&UM. Again, if I’m proven wrong, I certainly won’t be disappointed, as long as one of them is-

ME!

… I was going to say either you or Flygon, but, yes. (If they ever make a Mega Lando-T, though, I am quitting Pokémon forever. Just putting it out there.)

The Alola Pokédex will absolutely, 100% be bigger than it is in Sun and Moon. Hopefully the imbalance between the previous Generations, as far as availability goes, will be fixed a bit.

New Features

Ah, here I really don’t know. They are promising us some, for sure. But the one thing I really want, I know is not going to happen: they are not killing Festival Plaza, for sure, and so we’re not getting the PSS back.

I would expect Move Tutors to be back, instead, because that’s one trend they’ve kept up pretty much forever, and then… I’ve got nothing. New ways to hunt for shinies? (Gen 6 did have a ton, so yes, please?) Vehicles might be a thing, as per the original Sun and Moon trailer and the truck in your home’s garage in the US&UM one, but I have doubts. The garage also had a surfboard, which reminds me, I would like to see more water areas. We are in a freaking archipelago, after all, and they never let me get more than a stone’s throw from the shore, and most importantly, they didn’t let me dive! That one I really, really want back, the sights would be amazing, I bet.

As long as you don’t take me with you, soaked fluff is the worst.

Promise. Now, one thing in the trailer that looked really interesting was that brief hi-res shot of the character turning a dial on their (probably) Z-Ring.

Reddit user Rosalia_R made a great post analyzing it, and concluded that in this game, you might get the Z-Ring from a different Tapu (they apparently look different depending on which island you get them on), and use it to fuse your legendaries together… but with something resembling Mega Evolution? It’s almost like they’re mashing together all the power-up features of the last three Generations, and I find the thought pretty darn interesting. I can’t wait to see what the lore is for this.

Finally, since the discovery of walking and running animations for all the Pokémon were extracted from Sun and Moon, people have been speculating that Pokémon following you are about to come back. To which I say, Reddit user Rawbee might be right, and they might have just been implemented to work with the Poké Finder. Also, Pokémon following you in 3D in real size might be heavy on the 3DS’s graphics processor (I don’t know, opinions from people who know more than me differ on this). So if you’re expecting them in US&UM because of that data mine, maybe don’t expect them too hard? I hate disappointment.

What else could be different?

I’m pretty sure Pikachu will still be the mascot, but I might be wrong, who knows.

Oh, so many little things. I’m rather hyped about all the even lusher nature we seem to be getting, and opening up more little areas and all that. Alola is beautiful, so more Alola or an improved Alola is great in my book.

A National Dex would honestly be a very welcome return as far as I’m concerned, but I don’t want to be detested by shiny hunters if that happens and the Shiny Charm goes back to needing seventy billion Pokémon to get, so… I’ll drop that.

Also, I’m not sure I want to know what Rotom would have to say about the other 500 of us. The psychological scarring was enough as it is, thank you very much.

There’s plenty of discussion about a Kanto post-game, and here I’m very undecided. On one hand, they teased it a lot in Sun and Moon. On the other, it would be a gargantuan effort and they’re literally giving us the chance to “go back to Kanto” on the Virtual Console two months before US&UM come out, so I am not getting my hopes up for that at all. I do expect at the very least something like the Delta Episode or the UB plot, for sure. Those always come out of the blue, plot-wise, so I’m quite excited to see what it will be.

Conclusion

Well, this wasn’t exactly a wild speculation article, but hey, there’s a reason I call Party Pooper Thatch my brother when it comes to being logical. I just don’t like throwing things out there with zero facts to back them up… but you might! Tell me, what do you expect to be new in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon? And what are your wildest wishes? Are you hyped for these games? Or are you freaking out about Pokken DX, or Gold and Silver on Virtual Console? Let me know in the comments, and thank you for reading The Fluff!

Until next time,

The Fluffiest Whimsicott