A Linkedin posting for a principle game designer on an unannounced “upcoming mobile game” in the Pokémon franchise has us excited about the possibility of new Pokémon TCG game thanks to one of the people already working on the title.
Under the “Meet the team” section of the posting, one person is listed: Nikolaus Davidson.
Davidson was the director of digital game design at Wizards of the Coast where he worked on Magic: The Gathering Arena.
He was with the company for four and a half years but, according to his profile, he left in April of this year and began to to work at The Pokémon Company International in June.
Speculation based on the posting and our knowledge of the TCG (we’ve been playing it competitively for years now) points to a revamp or outright replacement for its online client.
The Pokémon Trading Card Game Online (PTCGO) is an ancient piece of software that has been available since 2011. It looked and felt a bit outdated when it came out, but in 2018 it’s unacceptably slow and rather ugly to look at, with many mistaking it for a simple Flash game from years past.
Despite this there’s a strong community around PTCGO – streaming on Twitch and creating content for YouTube is still going strong, especially when a new expansion is released.
The fact that each physical booster of Pokémon cards comes with a code for a digital booster on PTCGO has also helped get paper players into PTCGO.
We’ve been begging for quality of life and other improvements for the longest time, and this is a sliver of hope that we may have these prayers answered in the future.
That’s just speculation, however. The assumption that the new game will be focused on the TCG is based entirely on Davidson’s involvement and his very recent work. In fact, the only mention of the card game is in a boilerplate description of the company.
Added to this, even if this is the PTCGO replacement we’ve been asking for, the listing suggests that the software is still in very early development. We may be many years out from a release, if one happens at all.
Hell, we could get completely blindsided by a new singleplayer TCG game like the 1998 Game Boy title.
After seeing the success of Pokémon GO we have to imagine that the TCG side of the company is looking to create a similar product. Outside of phones and tablets, Nintendo’s main console the Switch is a mobile device, so this new game could be for console too. PTCGO is currently not even offered on the Switch, so maybe they’re looking to do a soft relaunch of the game with improvements as it migrates to that platform.
Our money is still on a new PTCGO experience, but maybe that’s just blind hope.