When the "special instalment" of Nintendo Direct was announced for December 15th 2015 - the same day as the December issue of CoroCoro Comic (the Japanese monthly manga and games magazine and one of the leading sources of Pokéinformation) which promised to bring big Pokémon related news - Pokéfans got pretty excited about what this could mean for two big upcoming releases...
Pokémon Z & Pokémon GO
Big Pokémon news? Surely that must be something to do with either Pokémon Z or Pokémon GO right? Well... The December issue landed last week and the "big news" was somewhat underwhelming, although it did reveal something very interesting about a certain legendary Pokémon. On the other side of the coin the December Nintendo Direct was more concerned with news about Super Smash Bros. (which is pretty exciting, but not what we were looking for really).
So rather than some release date news what we got was more specifically character related, with new information being released regarding the mysterious legendary Zygarde, who featured in Pokemon X and Y and looks set to be the centrepiece of the upcoming, yet elusive, Pokemon Z.
The Legendary Zygarde
December's CoroCoro featured a screenshot from the Pokémon anime featuring the "core" form of Zygarde (see above). Zygarde has been shown to exist in five different forms thus far:
Cell: Single cells that make up Zygarde, they have no consciousness of their own and are found scattered throughout the world.
Core: A self-aware core, essentially this is Zygarde's brain.
10% Form: A dog-like form that the core takes when it gathers 10% of it's cellular structure from absorbing nearby cells.
50% Form: A serpent-like form that the core takes when it gathers 50% of it's cellular structure from absorbing nearby cells. This is the legendary encountered by the player in the Terminus Cave in Pokémon X and Y.
Complete (100%) Form: A more humanoid form, this is the perfect form of Zygarde that the core takes when it gathers 100% of it's cells.
However! Unlike the core form we've seen before in the magazine and the anime (Puni-chan) - the wee green dude with the red core in its centre - this particular Zygarde had a blue core.
According to Serebii.net, who reference a discussion on Japanese variety show Oha Suta as their source, this blue cored Zygarde reveal follows the confirmation that there's more than one Zygarde core out there, therefore more than one Zygarde legendary.
In case this seems confusing, refer back to Zygarde's forms above. Two different cores, with different colours, means there's two different core forms out seeking cells to build up to a more complete form.
The fact that the colour is specifically blue is interesting too, as the Complete Form of Zygarde has both red and blue markings on it's wing... things.
Does this mean that the two 50% snake-like Zygardes have to come together to fuse into the final form? It certainly seems plausible, especially given that two different 50% Form Zygardes are seen during the opening of the Pokémon XY & Z anime currently airing in Japan.
So this could be pretty big news for the anime, but will we also see this in Pokémon Z whenever it finally rolls around?
As For Pokémon GO...
As for Pokémon GO, despite rumors of a February 27, 2016 release (which are conjecture at best) all we really know about the upcoming AR game is that it's set to be released sometime next year.
Back when Pokemon GO was first announced we learned from the Ingress Report (mobile game Ingress being the other big property of developers Niantic Inc.) that it would undergo closed beta testing over the winter with a release date sometime in 2016. It's hard to say for sure until we receive an official line from Nintendo, but it's likely that Pokémon GO won't exit beta testing until after the New Year.
Well first off: a Feb release date might just eke out for Pokémon GO but it's highly unlikely that we'll see Pokémon Z anytime before the middle of next year, as previously discussed.
Secondly: like Ingress, upon which the system will likely be modelled, it's far more likely that Pokémon GO will be free to download anyway, with those dreaded in-game purchases and micro-transactions and/or advertising (as in the case of Ingress) being the money makers.
For now there's still no official news though, so don't believe anything until you hear it from Nintendo themselves (even what we've said above). And remember to take salt with you whenever you venture into the Pokémon news forums.