Artwork claiming to depict the three new starter Pokémon players will choose between in Game Freak's next game in the long-running RPG series has appeared online in an alleged leak. The art cannot be verified at this time, so take this all with the hefty pinch of salt.
The art was first posted by an anonymous user on 4chan who claimed it was reference artwork for Game Freak's next Pokémon adventure - assumed to be the Nintendo Switch game announced last summer.
In the artwork we see multiple takes on three unnamed Pokémon: a grass-type based on a lemur, a fire-type based on a rabbit and a water-type based on a platypus.
Pokemon have leaked before, including a trio of starter evolutions from 2016's Sun and Moon games, but the number of genuine leaks pales compared to the number of fakes. Pokemon fans love drawing their own designs, and sometimes they're good enough to pass for the real things.
The reason we're reporting on these designs is because they're certainly plausible. In fact, they look more credible than the very real Sun and Moon leaks.
The fire-type and water-type designs are especially strong. We'd definitely pick the platypus.
Nintendo announced that a Pokémon game for Nintendo Switch was in development at E3 2017, but given Sun and Moon's release on 3DS in 2016 and the launch of Ultra Sun and Moon last year, it's reasonable to assume any new game is some way off.
Given the enormous boost in processing power the Switch represents over the 3DS, in addition to it being a home console as well as a handheld, the potential for these eighth generation Pokémon games is huge.
They are expected to represent a big leap forward for the series, making it imperative Game Freak gets the games right rather than rush anything out the door to meet Switch's success. Given this is a Nintendo game however, nothing is likely to be rushed.
IBTimes UK has reached out to The Pokémon Company for comment on the alleged leak.