Shut down the rumour mill folks, despite what you may have heard there is still no release date for Pokemon Z confirmed yet (nor are we even sure that that's going to be title of the next game).
A tweet from fake Twitter account @NinlendoAmerica has been making the rounds recently in the wake of the supposedly leaked images from CoroCoro magazine featuring new forms of Zygarde - the Legendary Pokémon that Pokémon Z is expected to feature as a central character. See kids, this is why you always thoroughly check the Twitter handle, and those big blue check marks are there for a reason.
From one rumour to the next, in a recent interview with Nintendo World Report, The Pokémon Company's J.C. Smith was asked to offer a cryptic hint about the future of the Pokémon franchise.
He responded with one word: Flowers.
This has prompted a lot of speculation around whether or not this is a reference to the Eternal Flower Floette, who you may remember as the Pokémon that AZ is searching for in Pokémon X & Y.
"The man wanted to bring the Pokémon back. No matter what it took."
The Eternal Flower Floette is pretty integral to the plot of X/Y, involved in one of the saddest Pokémon related stories since we discovered why Cubone wears a skull mask.
The mysterious, seemingly-immortal AZ is the former King of Kalos and the creator of the Ultimate Weapon. The story goes that, 3,000 years back, he had a Pokémon that he loved, the special form of Floette. This Floette died when it went off to fight in the Kalos War and its body was sent back to AZ. And you get to see that part too (Jesus Christ Nintendo, reel it in a little will you?).
Distraught, he set out to create a machine in order to bring Floette back to life. He succeeded, and as a result the Floette was granted eternal life. In his anger over the war he then turned the machine into the Ultimate Weapon and used it to end the fighting by destroying both sides of the army.
Learning of his actions, and that the weapon was powered by the life of other Pokémon to bring it back, the Eternal Flower Floette left AZ in disgust. When the Trainer and AZ battle after foiling Lysandre's plans in X/Y AZ's guilt is finally lifted, the Floette returns to him and we all pretend we're not getting teary-eyed over a children's game.
The Eternal Flower Floette In Game
Though the Eternal Flower was not available to officially capture in-game, hackers found it in the un-mined data and were able to get their hands on it. There's even some YouTube videos kicking around if you want to take a look at it in action.
The Eternal Flower Floette is a fairy type like the ordinary Floette, but it cannot breed or evolve. It also has very high base stats and the incredibly powerful (but self-damaging) move 'Light of Ruin'.
An ORAS Eternal Flower Easter Egg?
As you can see in the above video, there is what looks to be a reference to the Eternal Flower Floette in the city of Sootopolis.
Beneath the Great Tree, given to the city by AZ when he visited from the Kalos region many years before, beside the Cave of Origin there is a flower that looks to be the same as the one carried by the Eternal Flower Floette.
As AZ and the Eternal Flower Floette don't really appear in Pokémon Omega-Ruby/Alpha-Sapphire, it has been speculated that this means they still have a role to play in upcoming games. Or it could just be a throwaway Easter Egg, but when you add that to Smith's "flowers" comment, well... You never know.