It’s been a long time coming, but after 20 years, we finally have the announcement of a sequel to Pokémon Snap — New Pokémon Snap! The original game was admittedly a strange spin-off for the Pokémon series, as it had no RPG or combat elements whatsoever. Yet, precisely because it was so different, it gained a following all its own. From the slower pace to the multitude of potential behaviors the Pokémon could show and even the ability to physically print your photos, Pokémon Snap was quirky in all the right ways.
Five Nintendo consoles later, the Switch presents a chance for the series to build on its strengths and even try new things thanks to modern advancements. With this in mind, here are five reasons I think you should be excited about New Pokémon Snap.
1. Multiple new generations of Pokémon
Pokémon Snap launched on Nintendo 64 at a time when only the first generation of Pokémon was being used across the Pokémon franchise. While many of us have fond memories of the first generation, many more fans have fallen in love with Pokémon from every generation since.
There are now an astonishing eight generations of Pokémon to work with and 896 Pokémon that could potentially be in New Pokémon Snap. We can already see some of them in the trailer. Though of course I highly doubt anywhere near this much will be in the final game, as even the original only included 63 of the original 150 Pokémon. It will be fascinating to see the list of curated Pokémon from each generation that make the cut into this new game, as well as the interactions they’ll have with both the player and each other.
2. A massive graphics improvement
It’s no secret that there was significant fan backlash over Pokémon Sword and Shield last year, and the graphics were among various reasons for this. Many fans simply thought that Sword and Shield‘s graphics were underwhelming, especially for being for the first mainline outing on a non-dedicated handheld. While I thought they were acceptable and even good in some aspects, it’s hard to deny that more could have been done, especially when compared to Nintendo’s other first-party offerings like Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
With the reveal trailer for New Pokémon Snap, it already seems like we have a promising game on our hands from a graphical standpoint. A variety of animations could let the Pokémon behave in their natural habitats like we haven’t seen before, while the scope of the environments could be both larger and more detailed than that of the original. The linear nature of a Pokémon Snap game lends itself well to having sharp graphics, as there isn’t a large open map or various combat mechanics to tax the Switch hardware. It may not end up being the best-looking Switch game to date, but it may certainly be the best-looking Pokémon game.
3. Secrets and Easter eggs
One of the reasons Pokémon Snap is such a cult classic among Pokémon fans is there are so many secrets to discover. Pushing Charmeleon into a lava pit to evolve him into a Charizard, or saving three Jigglypuffs who then reappear to sing the Jigglypuff song, was great fan service for anyone that enjoys the Pokémon series. New Pokémon Snap has the potential to take this to 11.
The improvements to hardware mean that Nintendo Switch can simply render larger and more detailed levels than before. As a result, we could see secrets on a bigger scale, which could span multiple levels or even require replaying certain levels with new items or abilities from later in the game. Whether New Pokémon Snap attempts to build on its already great Easter eggs or tries something new, it’s likely going to be a fun time.
4. Social media
At the time of the original Pokémon Snap, being social meant going to a nearby Blockbuster with your friends to print out your prized Pokémon photos. Many console generations later, being social has taken on a whole new meaning thanks to the existence of apps like Twitter and Instagram, as well as the Switch’s functionality to record video and take screenshots.
We’ve already seen how social media has impacted Animal Crossing: New Horizons and how players are sharing their fun moments, memes, and even helpful information (turnip prices, anyone?). In a similar vein, social media could bring more to the experience of New Pokémon Snap. Friends could share their experiences with the game, and perhaps communities could form around players bringing their shots together to solve hidden secrets and Easter eggs.
5. New ways to play
Aside from the obvious graphical upgrade, New Pokémon Snap will also get a host of inherent benefits from being on Nintendo’s latest system. Playing the game either docked or in handheld mode is a strong certainty, but beyond this, the handheld mode could also open up the doors to new possibilities. Motion aiming in handheld mode could be a fun way for the Switch to function as your in-game camera — or even go full VR if Nintendo decides to give the game Labo support. The Poké Ball Plus could have some functionality too, and sharing Joy-Con could be an option for potential co-op play. Finally, Nintendo could add occasional updates to the game such as Pokémon that make limited-time appearances for rare photo opportunities.
These are the things that get our motors going about this new title! What has you most excited about New Pokémon Snap?