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June 7, 2014:
Sceptile and Swampert Mega Evolutions Revealed
Ever since the release of Fire Red and Leaf Green, the Pokemon community speculated on the possibility of Nintendo remaking other Pokemon games. Eventually this did happen with the release Heart Gold and Soul Silver. Soon after the announcement of those games, the community thought the next logical step was to release remakes of Ruby and Sapphire.
First, let’s inspect the reason why Red and Green were remade in the first place. A big focus in Pokemon has always been to trade between versions of the game to complete the Pokedex. When Gold and Silver were released they had backwards compatibility with Red, Blue, and Yellow. This was important because many Pokemon could not be caught natively in Johto so backwards compatibility allowed the Johto Pokedex to be completed. Once Ruby and Sapphire were released this wasn’t the case. Either because it was impossible or impractical for original Game Boy games to talk to Game Boy Advance games, Ruby and Sapphire could not trade with previous generations. This leads into the creation of Fire Red and Leaf Green. Now it was possible to catch all 386 available Pokemon in generation three.
Fire Red and Leaf Green allowed players to complete their generation three Pokedex.
With this in mind, it wasn’t necessarily a sure thing that Gold and Silver would be remade. Remaking these two games would not serve the same purpose as Fire Red and Leaf Green. By this point all Pokemon were obtainable in Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald by trading with or transferring Pokemon from Fire Red, Leaf Green, and XD. What is the reason why Heart Gold and Soul Silver were released? Money. They were going to be a sure-fire hit, just like Fire Red and Leaf Green. This is the same reason why Ruby and Sapphire will be remade.
Both sets of Pokemon remakes have sold nearly as much as their same-generation counterparts. Fire Red and Leaf Green sold 11.82 million units, second on the GBA only to Ruby and Sapphire at 13 million units. Heart Gold and Soul Silver sold 11.90 million units compared to Diamond and Pearl’s 17.39 million units.
Not only does Nintendo earn money from these remakes, they save money in the development process. Remaking an older video game cuts down costs and production times. Less time has to be put into designing the game’s world, characters, and mechanics. Couple this with the fact that the Pokemon remakes utilize the same engine as the most-recently released game and that means the highest profit possible.
With characters already designed, GameFreak can focus on adding new material.
Of course, selling a remade game won’t work if nobody buys it. The beauty of selling a remake of older games is the fact that it sells to two distinct markets. First, it finds a place in older gamers’ hearts. People who played Ruby and Sapphire when it was originally released would love to relive that experience. Next, it can find a spot in younger gamers’ lives. Kids who either want more Pokemon or want to jump into Pokemon for the first time will buy the game.
I’m not trying to paint an image of Nintendo being a money-hungry business that doesn’t care about their fans. In reality, they are giving Pokemon fans what they want as evidenced by the sales numbers of the current remakes. On top of that, the Pokemon remakes always have a lot of added content beyond the updated game mechanics and graphics. Fire Red and Leaf Green added the Sevii Islands. Heart Gold and Soul Silver added the Safari Zone and PokeAthlon.
A Ruby and Sapphire remake is bound to happen because Nintendo stands to gain not just monetarily, but also in continuing the Pokemon brand. When will the remakes be announced? Any day now. Every so often their is a news story teasing a “New Pokemon game announcement” in the next CoroCoro. Well, Pokemon fans always shout for the Ruby and Sapphire remake announcement, and there is no way Nintendo doesn’t hear. The third game of generation five (Pokemon Gray) may be announced first, but the Ruby and Sapphire remakes will come sooner than later.