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New Pokemon Snap release date, trailer, generations and story

Love how cute Pokemon are, but don't want to worry about all the pesky catching and battling usually associated with the Japanese pocket monsters? If so, you're going to love the updated version of this Nintendo 64 classic.

In case your memory is fuzzy, Pokemon Snap was an influential 1999 spin-off game that featured Pokemon in real-time 3D, many for the first time. The addictive title features a protagonist whose goal is to point and shoot Pokemon — that is, take pictures of them, using items to get better shots. After that, the images are judged by Professor Oak based on size, pose, and technique.

A fresh version for the Nintendo Switch is coming out, giving fans the follow-up they've clamored for over the past two decades. New Pokemon Snap is expected to be an on-rails sim developed by Bandai Namco. Although there's not much information available yet, Nintendo has shared a few choice details.

Does New Pokemon Snap have a release date?

A release date for New Pokemon Snap has yet to be announced. The presentation given by The Pokemon Company on June 17 basically revealed that the title is "coming soon," which at this point could mean anything.

A 2020 release for the holidays would be welcome, given Nintendo's competition — Sony and Microsoft — will be bringing out the big guns with their new consoles this year. But it's just as likely that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays with New Pokemon Snap. Given how little information the involved parties have shared about the title so far, it's possible the new game won't be arriving until 2021.

At the moment, New Pokemon Snap seems to be a Switch exclusive, although it's definitely a concept that would work well on other portable devices. Whenever and wherever it does come out, it'll definitely provide a dose of nostalgia for fans of the old game and possibly find some new fans, too.

Does New Pokemon Snap have a trailer?

The trailer for New Pokemon Snap is making waves for its graphics, which many viewers think look better than Pokemon Sword and Shield. As Polygon points out, though, the games were developed by different companies and one will be at least a year older than the other. Plus, the potentially limited nature of the New Pokemon Snap environments, versus the open-world feel of the mainline Pokemon games, might allow for higher-resolution imaging here. Also, the footage is not final. Graphic quality seems to vary in different parts of the trailer. 

The teaser is short, but it does reveal some familiar elements. For example, you can see apples being used to lure Pokemon closer so that more impressive images can be taken, as in the original Pokemon Snap. Many of the deserts, jungles, and other areas where the Pokemon are found appear to be new, however. Another new and somewhat disturbing visual is the apparent death of Magikarp at the hands of Pidgeot. Magikarp is considered somewhat useless in battle, but still. Say it isn't so, Nintendo!

Which generations will be included in New Pokemon Snap?

When the first Pokemon Snap came out, only the first generation was available from the games Pokemon Blue and RedPokemon is now into its eighth generation as of Pokemon Sword and Shield. That means many more creatures could be included in this new game, as long as The Pokemon Company green lights them all. 

The trailer seems to display Pokemon from every generation. GameXplain spotted the following (in order of appearance): Buffolant, Vivillon, Swanna, Taillow, Bidoof, Magikarp, Wailord, Pelliper, Mantine, Pikachu, Exeggutor, Crabrawler, Wingull, Caterpie, Zangoose, Primarina, Drifloon, Lapras, Sharpedo, Emolga, Dodrio, Grookey, Pichu, Scorbunny, Squirtle, Pyukumuku, Blastoise, Pidgeot, Torterra, Wurmple, and Hoothoot. It's a good thing the game's not being limited, considering how unhappy fans were when Sword and Shield decided not to include older Pokemon until the expansion, Isle of Armor.

Still, it'll be some time before a full list of the Pokemon that will be available in the New Pokemon Snap is released. You're going to have to be patient a bit longer!

What is the story of New Pokemon Snap?

In New Pokemon Snap, players will look for Pokemon and photograph them in their native environments. Those images become part of their personal Photodexes in what Nintendo calls a "photo-snapping adventure." According to the official Nintendo listing, "You'll even discover behaviors and expressions you've never seen before when you encounter and research lively wild Pokémon."

The concept is pretty simple, but offers a different and personable perspective on the world of Pokemon. The question is, how will Nintendo make New Pokemon Snap engaging enough for a more image-savvy generation that's used to snapping pictures constantly with their cellphones? Plenty of people have expressed skepticism over the years that a remake would offer as much freshness and fun as the original, given today's more mobile-based environment and changes in game mechanics since 1999. Hopefully, you'll soon find out.