Everything was looking up for the Detective Pikachu series. The film adaptation of the unique talking Pokémon mystery game was a veritable hit, raking in over $400 million at the box office, and a sequel for the original 3DS game was announced shortly after.
But the Detective Pikachu movie was released over two years ago now (feel old yet?), and while a video game follow-up was announced by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company around that same time, we haven’t received any updates about it since.
That’s right. Despite this year being Pokémon‘s 25th anniversary and all the news we’ve heard about three new Pokémon games on the Switch coming in the next year alone (New Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl), we still don’t know anything about Detective Pikachu 2.
All we know is that when the Detective Pikachu sequel was announced to be in development for the Nintendo Switch back in 2019, The Pokémon Company president and CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara said that would wrap up the loose ends from the original game and end the adventure differently than in the live-action Detective Pikachu film.
But again, that was two years ago and counting. So where is the sequel?
Well, it’s entirely possible that the game is in development and possibly even close to being finished, but that Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are waiting for the film’s sequel to be released first. They might be banking on a film tie-in that would boost game sales.
And unfortunately, COVID may have disrupted their original release schedule, especially since a lot of movies postponed their development during the pandemic.
That’s the most likely explanation. Still, there is a legit reason to be concerned we may never actually see a proper sequel to the original 3DS game that ended on a cliffhanger.
If its release is indeed contingent on a film sequel also being released, then things get more complicated, as we’ve received mixed messaging on the status of a film sequel to Ryan Reynolds’ Detective Pikachu.
While Legendary Entertainment was already publicly discussing plans for a sequel even before the first Detective Pikachu film was released, going so far as to say it was already in development, they’ve been suspiciously quiet about it since then.
The first Detective Pikachu film was a veritable success, but it’s still possible it may have underperformed internal expectations over at the studio.
After all, it received a ton of marketing and hype leading up to its release and is based on one of the world’s most valuable intellectual properties, but it didn’t even break half a billion at the box office. Sure it sounds unreasonable to expect that much on the first film, but when investors are looking for Avengers-level returns on films, especially ones with as much international brand recognition as Pokémon, they may expect more than what would usually be considered reasonable.
It doesn’t help that actor Justice Smith has gone on record to say he doesn’t think a Detective Pikachu 2 film is going to happen.
If Smith is right, then the video game sequel might be cancelled along with the film. And if that’s the case, don’t expect Nintendo to come out and make an announcement. They’re more likely to let it quietly fade away than to loudly announce its cancellation.
After all, at this point releasing a Switch follow-up without a movie follow-up might make Pikachu’s brand appear weak and lower its value. The companies involved might not be happy about cancelling the game behind closed doors, but it could be seen as a better way to maintain quality control over the franchise and its brand value by cutting their losses early.
And if that’s the case, Detective Pikachu 2 along with other previously announced games like Pokémon Sleep may never see the light of day. Only time will tell.