On October 12 at 6AM Pacific Standard Time, the Pokemon Company released a roughly three minute trailer to a Pokemon fandom highly anticipating the reveal of a new Pokemon. Instead, what we got was an introduction to Generation 9’s Electric-type Gym leader, Iono. She’s not only leader of the Levincia gym, she is also an influencer and livestreamer. She’s basically a cheap rip-off of the flashy fashionista Elesa from Black and White, one of my all-time favorite gym leaders. Iono just comes off as your typical TikTok creator, which may have well been the intention.
The cringe aside, the trailer asks the viewer to play a game; the audio is all in Japanese, and there are subtitles. Essentially, she has questions from viewers who ask various questions trying to guess who Iono’s partner Pokemon is. While some of the answers sound like existing Pokemon (Ampharos was my first guess, and others guessed Electivire), others don’t fit existing Pokemon. This would lead us to assume that we’re getting a brand new Pokemon reveal.
NOPE! It was all a fake-out. Nintendo Life sums up all the “useful” information.
“Given the description she gives, it sounds like a brand-new Electric-type. So, it’s squishy, it’s not Magnemite, and it’s sluggish with an ‘easygoing vibe’. Apparently, the two lumps on its head are often mistaken for eyes. And its ‘body expands and contracts to generate electricity in its belly.’ Oh, and it’s cute too. Don’t forget that part.”Nintendo Life
Now, all we have the chance to do is GUESS and wait for at least one more week. The Pokemon content creator community is extremely upset, as this was a clear troll on the part of the Pokemon Company. Now, I don’t make a living making content about Pokemon; this is simply a hobby for me. But, as a former marketer like myself, I don’t appreciate the apparent strategy Pokemon is taking here.
As it is, Game Freak and Nintendo have been very hush-hush about a lot of the new Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet. Plenty of features have been revealed, which set the game up to be a landmark RPG, not just a Pokemon game. Is this a way for the Pokemon Company to stick it to full-time content creators, or what? Again, I just blog occasionally, but I was greatly excited about the prospect of a brand new Pokemon to consider.
This also makes Iono potentially the most hated Gym Leader in all of Pokemon, as she was introduced to tease the content creation community specifically, leaving most fans bewildered and former digital marketers like myself very annoyed. This is NOT how you promote a game. If you really want to be tight-lipped about details, then be so. It’s your game, I respect that. But, don’t make a huge announcement about a trailer, then fake everyone out.
A lot of people on social media are already “canceling” Iono, and at this point, I actually feel sort of bad for her. After all, she’s just a fictional character. Yet, I’m going to level up and build my Paldean Quagsire just to steamroll her team, just because this is how so many Pokemon fans were introduced to her. (For those who don’t know this, Quagsire’s a Ground-type, which is immune to Electric-type attacks.) So many players are going to cringe when they see her, because she looks absolutely ridiculous. Yes, there are “influencers” like this, but, man, I may not be an influencer myself, but sheesh.
So, what is her mysterious partner Pokemon? It better be a good one, because I have NEVER seen this sort of fake out in a Pokemon trailer, not this close to a game’s release. I mean, we even saw a silhouette of Pikachu in the trailer! Hell, if they’d revealed her partner was a Pikachu, at least that would’ve been SOMETHING!
What do you think? Do you think this fake out of a trailer was a poor marketing choice on the part of the Pokemon Company. I certainly think so. It’s not going to hurt sales, most likely, and the negative reactions are going to increase this trailer’s reach rather than hurt it. But, I’m sorry; this was a marketing misstep if I ever saw one.
Update 10/14: Apparently, the Pokemon Company realized that they ticked off the community and revealed Iono’s partner Pokemon after only two days, Bellibolt, which looks a lot like an early design of Politoed. Going to be writing about this new Pokemon shortly, but Iono is still really annoying. Glad they didn’t make us wait a whole week, even if the second trailer was almost just as cringe as this one!