In late 2013, Game Freak showed off early development of a Pokémon spin-off game where Pikachu would take the role of a Sherlock-styled detective and would be able to talk. The concept footage put many fans off due to the inclusion of facial-recognition software to give Pikachu motion-captured animation that fell deep into the uncanny valley. News on the game has been nonexistent since that early reveal and many assumed that it was an abandoned early concept. As it turns out, not only is the game coming out, it will be releasing in Japan next week on February 3rd. Great Detective Pikachu: The Birth of a New Partnership will be released as a downloadable title exclusively for the 3DS. It will cost 1500 yen, which is roughly equivalent to $12.68 USD. Whether or not there are any plans to give the game an international release is currently unknown. The amount of translation that a dialogue-heavy game like this would require would be a great deal of work, but the combination of the Pokémon brand and the simple, morbid curiosity for a title this bizarre is likely to secure enough sales to justify it.
The game will star Detective Pikachu and his assistant, the human child Tim Goodman, as they investigate mysteries in Rhyme City affecting people and Pokémon alike. There are few details on how gameplay will work or what the story will entail, but it’s worth noting that the showcase in 2013 mentioned the idea of a blue Pikachu acting as the antagonist. There’s no hint of the blue Pikachu in the trailer, so it’s possible that this idea was scrapped. Then again, they may also be saving him as a surprise. What we do know is that, while Detective Pikachu can talk, he’ll still be a rare case in the game as we see another Pikachu only saying its name in the familiar voice we all know.
You can check out the official trailer here. What are your thoughts on Great Detective Pikachu? Do you hope to see it available outside of Japan? Has Pokémon officially jumped the Sharpedo? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.