If Pokémon knows how to do anything, it’s capitalize on its fans’ long history with the franchise. This sentiment isn’t just held for its major anniversary years, because if The Pokémon Company can make a viral video that encapsulates the entirety of the series’ 27 years, it’s gonna do it. And it looks like it’s going to continue that trend after its Pokémon Presents showcase next week, especially as the preview we have for the upcoming animated short Pokémon Journey of Dreams already looks to pull on those particular heart strings.
The short is developed by Pokémon’s Shanghai branch and will premiere on Tuesday, February 28. At the moment, it’s unclear if or when the short will premiere in other territories outside of China, but a preview was posted to Chinese social media site Weibo and shows a character playing Pokémon games across multiple generations and handheld devices from the Game Boy to the 3DS.
While some of the scenes play out in footage of the game, we also see clips of moments from different games animated in the short’s distinct style, such as flying on Latias’ over the Hoenn region in Sapphire or confronting Dialga at Spear Pillar in Diamond. It’s another example of The Pokémon Company’s tendency to lean into the years-long experience of playing Pokémon games through multiple generations and carrying those memories of those initial experiences into the next pair of games. It’s nostalgia bait, it’s a unified corporate message, and god, I’m a fucking mark for it.
This idea has been a regular motif in Pokémon marketing, especially true recently as the series has been celebrating big milestones. The Pokémon 25th anniversary campaign two years ago included a video of an elaborate chain reaction machine that acted as a guided tour through the franchise’s first quarter of a century, and yeah, I got pretty caught up in my own memories of growing up with the series when I watched. The same could be said for The Pokémon Company’s collaboration with Japanese rock band Bump of Chicken on the music video for “Gotcha,” which featured Pokémon and characters from the series’ long history.
While Pokémon Journey of Dreams seems like it’s going to be a look back on the series’ past, we’ll also learn about the series’ future in the Pokémon Presents showcase on Monday, which will hopefully have some updates on future Pokémon Scarlet and Violet content, as well as developments in the service games the franchise has going on right now like Pokémon Unite and Pokémon Masters.