A Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon director has shot down the most popular fan theory about players returning to the Kanto region, but the games may have a few hidden connections to the region of Pokémon Red and Blue nonetheless.
In a previous trailer for the upcoming games, one shot showed the player standing in what seemed to be an updated version of Lt. Surge’s gym from the original Red and Blue games. However, Ultra Sun and Moon director Kazumasa Iwao has now confirmed that that’s not the case—though there may still be more to the game than meets the eye.
— The Johto Press (@BertiiPerches) August 18, 2017
“What you’ve seen in that particular image is a new place to visit in Malie City, which, while we were designing it, we did have some thoughts of the Kanto region,” Iwao told IGN. “But any more than that is a little difficult to say that at the moment, so look forward to playing that.”
Malie City first appeared in Pokémon Sun and Moon. In it, players could meet Samson Oak, cousin to Professor Oak from Red and Blue, and the region’s architecture was heavily reminiscent of Gold and Silver‘s Johnto region. It seems that the area may have even more tie-ins this time around, meaning that the connection to Lt. Surge’s gym is likely intentional—if not quite what fans hoped for.
Still, Iwao didn’t flat-out deny that travel to other regions is possible, so—for the next month, at least—we can dream.
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon release on November 17th, exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS.