Universal Studios Japan has announced a partnership with The Pokémon Company for a mysterious new virtual reality experience. Nintendo currently has an attraction at Universal Studios Japan called Super Nintendo World, with plans to branch out to Universal’s Hollywood, Orlando, and Singapore locations by 2025. Unfortunately, these plans have been hindered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which also forced Super Nintendo World to temporarily close its doors less than a month after its grand opening back in March.
So far, Super Nintendo World’s rides and attractions have been primarily focused around Mario, with attendees riding the interactive Mario Kart rollercoaster, dining at the Toad Café, unlock exclusive Miitopia character costumes with special interactive wristbands, and even making pleasant conversation with fully-voiced characters like Princess Peach. However, there are plans for Super Nintendo World to branch out into non-Mario Nintendo franchises in the future, as evidenced by an upcoming Super Nintendo World Donkey Kong expansion based around the equally iconic character. Now, it looks like Pokémon could be joining the theme park fun soon, though it’s too early to tell.
On October 6, Universal Studios Japan announced it is entering a partnership with The Pokémon Company that will begin in 2022. So far, there are few details about what this partnership will bring (with no mention of any Pokémon attractions at Super Nintendo World in the release), but Universal Studios Japan’s announcement does mention plans to develop an interactive virtual experience that will “immerse guests into the world of Pokémon.” Both Universal Studios Japan President and CEO J.L. Bonnier and President and CEO of The Pokémon Company Tsunekazu Ishihara expressed excitement at this long-term deal between their companies.
This new partnership with Universal Studios Japan comes right as fans continue to celebrate the Pokémon franchise’s 25th anniversary this year. To commentate the milestone, Nintendo is releasing several Pokémon games on Nintendo Switch over the next few years, including the upcoming Pokémon Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl and the open-world Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Rumors speculate that there will be more major Pokémon announcements in 2022, so perhaps the details of the Universal Studios partnership will prove to be related to those reveals.
It’s still too early to tell if the VR experience described by The Pokémon Company and Universal Studios Japan will be a part of Super Nintendo World or something entirely different, but the idea of exploring the vast world of Pokémon and interacting with its assortment of titular collectible creatures is certainly an exciting concept. It may take a while to see these plans come to fruition, though, as the newly announced partnership between The Pokémon Company and Universal Studios Japan doesn’t officially take effect until next year.
Source: Universal Studios Japan