Bandai Namco Games Reveals New Pokémon, Arcade Gamepad, and More for Pokkén Tournament

By on January 23, 2015 at 6:27 am


If you’ve been desperately waiting for more news on Nintendo’s and Bandai Namco Games’ collaborative fighter Pokkén Tournament, today is your lucky day. Bandai Namco Games’ Katsuhiro Harada and Masaaki Hoshino made appearances the latest episode of Month Famitsu feat. to show off a brand new trailer for the game as well as live gameplay.

Bandai Namco previously revealed Lucario and Machamp as two of the playable Pokémon. Joining the two are Suicune, Gardevoir and everyone’s favorite Pikachu. In addition, the Pokémon with the highest number of requests in the recent character request Twitter campaign will also be joining the cast. The character is currently being created but who that Pokémon is remains a mystery.

In addition to the playable Pokémon, Pokkén Tournament also features support Pokémon, selectable as sets of two. Two sets were available in the playable build: Emolga/Fennekin and Snivy/Lapras. A third slot was present on the select screen but was unavailable for play.

Pokkén Tournament game controller. The pad is still in development.

Harada also showed off some features of the arcade machine. Instead of a traditional arcade joystick and push buttons set-up,  Pokkén Tournament machines use a large game pad-style controller. The controller consists of a directional pad, Start Button, four face buttons (A, B, X and Y; Special Move, Jump, Light Attack, Heavy Attack, respectively), two shoulder buttons (L and R; Support and Guard, respectively).

Gameplay flow mirrors traditional fighting games. After selecting a character, players choose a support set. At the start of each round, players select one of the two Pokémon within chosen set to use in the round.

The game uses a traditional round-based system, with the Pokémon dueling in a circular arena with invisible walls. Game play consists of two phases. The round starts in a free movement mode with an over-the-shoulder perspective reminiscent of the recent Dragon Ball Z fighting games. In this phase, the emphasis is fighting with projectile moves. Connecting with certain attacks triggers what is called a phase change. In the Duel Phase, the camera shifts to an almost 2D perspective, with movement and direction locked like a 2D fighting game. This phase emphasizes close range combat with hand-to-hand attacks.

In addition to the Vitality Gauge (represented as both a bar and a numerical value) a Support Gauge and a Burst Gauge are also displayed. Pressing the L Button will briefly summon the support Pokémon to aid in the battle. After being called and exiting the screen, support Pokémon must recover for a certain amount of time before they can be called onto the field again. Support Gauge recovery time is based on the selected support.

Pressing L+R when the Burst Gauge is completely filled will activate Burst, a special power-up mode that allows your Pokémon to unleash devastating super moves called Burst Attacks.

Harada also announced that players in Japan will be able to get their hands on Pokkén Pokkén  Tournament in its first location test next weekend, from Friday January 30 to February 1. The game will also be playable at JAEPO 2015 next month.

Sources: Monthy Famitsu feat., Famitsu, pKjd via Kotaku

  • airco

    just had to put in a waifu pokemon, huh

    • Sincerely, The Jerk

      ‘Known as Sirnight in Japan.’ I think it might be the trap character though.

      • airco

        i’ve read plenty of pokeporn in my time and that is sadly not the case

    • Victor Thammavong

      Duh. You can’t have a fighting game without at least one female character with sex appeal.

  • JohnGrimm

    Type Wild did it first.

  • Guest

    • Pooh Hardy

      Did gardevoir just EWGF?
      and pikachu….i think i see why it’s called pokken now…

    • Khaoz77


      Top tier confirmed #Kappa

      • Victor Thammavong

        First step is to Google an image of Pikachu. Get a GIF of some 2D shades (for transparency); re-size that shit. Slap it on Pikachu’s face. Adjust contrast to enhance photo. Enjoy.

    • Ciethe

      Every time he says Pokeken I cringe so hard.

      Edit: The Pikachu Electric Wind God Fists!! That shit is hilarious! He even has the Spinning Demon Kicks; but, y’know, with a tail!

    • Cype

      I don’t know it never occurred to me that if Pikachu made this game that Harada would make him fight like a Mishima.

      It’s both obvious and crazy at the same time.

  • Gespenst Ritter

    So on the one hand, this doesn’t look the least bit like Tekken, which is a relief (but why call it Pokken, then?)

    On the other hand, the gameplay it does have looks rather sluggish and clunky, with a bunch of weird pauses everywhere for hitstop and assist moves. I don’t think I like how it’s shaping up.

    • Guest

      So it’s not competitive and EVO worthy then guess Smash Bros stays… that’s a shame

  • Mozqeetou


  • Guest

    If they don’t have Mewtwo then I’m not looking forward to this game anymore hmph! pfft!

  • DoctorButler

    Pikachu is in Pokken – all is well.

    Also, a joypad? How adverse are Nintendo fans to leaving their comfort zone that they need a joypad tethered to an arcade cab?

    • ForteWily

      I don’t think that is it, Tekken cabs had a playstation jack for a bit (I remember them for T4 onward… I am not sure if T6 and TTT2 were outfitted with something similar). It’s not completely out of the realm of things for a Harada game.

  • CaptainHairy

    I dunno, this looks pretty good. Seems like there’s a view-switch feature, where it starts all DBZ over the shoulder, but then certain moves swap it to a CQC, Tekken-style side-on brawler, and other moves knock the opponent back to the projectile, long distance mode it starts in.

    Seems like a good way to handle the kinetic quality of what you’d imagine a Pokemon fight to entail while also keeping some elements of a standard 3d fighter.

    • Victor Thammavong

      I agree. It almost reminds me of Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2 but not as dynamic.

    • tickles

      I just don’t know how they’re going to handle split screen.

  • Am I the only one who thinks suicune looks out of place?

    • W1ncest


  • d3v

    I wonder if the phase change and having a long range projectile phase combined with a close range phase is their way of trying to address the issue with long range, projectile combat in a traditional 3D fighter – by borrowing how non-traditional 3D fighters like Naruto or DBZ handle the long range portion, while still defaulting to a traditional 3D fighter style up close.

    • Tre W

      The “phase change” aspect is something that can be traced back further to the likes of Virtual ON, Psychic Force and Gundam Vs. The fact that the likes of Naruto, DBZ and now Pokkén still cite a lot of those ideas does a lot to prove that those are still good ideas, in my opinion.

  • d3v

    Worried about that pad. I hope that it’s easy to replace since we know that it’s gonna get worn out in the arcade.

    That said, if this is on a JAMMA harness (which it should be since I recall no modern arcade cab in Japan isn’t on JAMMA), operators could just jerry-rig a 6 button joystick onto the cabinet (or simply plug the board into a Noir cab).

  • R.D. Covenant

    Well I’m excited now. I wanted suicune, but I didn’t think they’d actually do it.

  • Hunts Rattata

    The Twitter campaign winner is probably Charizard; he tends to clean up in any popularity contest. Might be someone else if Bandai Namco already planned to put him anyway.

    • tickles

      mewtwo or greninja might be runners too.

  • Glottis

    This looks so awesome!!
    It’s just like what i wanted as a kid, a free roaming fighting pokemon game.
    It’s what i always wanted Pokemon Stadium to evolve into
    I’m so happy right now 😀

  • Ciethe

    After looking at the archived stream, I may have found a few mechanics.

    -At 57:26 Suicune does what I believe is a meter charge. He looks like a zoner so this could possibly be exclusive to him as I have yet to see another use it.

    -At 45:02, Pikachu uses a Thunderbolt, but every time he is hit, Suicune is stunlocked. I remember Pikachu doing this in the beginning battle with Lucario and no stunlock was present, but I may be wrong. If I’m not, then weaknesses do in fact seem to play a roll in this game.

    -There is grey health

    -Counter hits grant attacks different hit animations. This is displayed by Suicune’s use of Headbutt/Waterfall sometimes doing nothing and sometimes Crumple stunning.

    -Status effects may also play a role in the game. At one point I saw a unique stun animation after Machamp hit an enemy; judging by the animation, there’s a likely chance it was flinching.

    -There seem to be both normal movement and evasive actions shown by a shadow silhouette that mimics the characters ala Yun/Yang.

    I’ll keep looking…

  • La Lunatica

    Hmmm, the DBZ/Nauruto style has me worried about it’s competitive viability.

  • Victor Thammavong

    I want to point out that the game does indeed play similar to Tekken. Maybe more closer to Soul Calibur due to the side-step / roll mechanic present (on top of the additional assist feature and such). You see Pikachu performing the Electric Wind God Fist juggle and Japanese players playing this on arcade sticks so it’s definitely a fighting game and I can totally see it being competitive right off the bat. I keep hearing this, “Oh, this shit looks 3D like Naruto. It ain’t no fighting game. It’s already trash”.

    If anything, I’m pretty sure it’ll be a lot more popular than these random anime fighters that keep coming out. Not bashing on ’em, I love those anime fighters. It’ll most-likely be the second most high-selling Wii U title after Super Smash Bros. ’cause it’s Pokémon.