Either they’re the most elaborate fakes ever, or images of the new Pokémon game for Nintendo Switch have just leaked online.
If the leak is genuine then the images you see here are the starter pokémon from a brand new core Pokémon game.
Because the Pokémon franchise doesn’t have numbered sequels each major new entry is referred to as a generation, with Pokémon Sun and Moon (and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon) part of generation seven.
But these pokémon are allegedly from generation eight, which is quite the leak considered that a new game hasn’t even been announced yet.
It was announced last year that that a new core entry would be coming to the Nintendo Switch, but it’s long been assumed that this would be a remastered version of Sun and Moon.
If these images are real though, it may mean that the new game is effectively a brand-new sequel, with another hundred or so pokémon.
But as convincing as the pictures look that’s still a pretty big if. The images are very similar to those that leaked out before the release of Sun and Moon, but that almost makes them more suspicious.
Doubters have also questioned the inconsistent use of the various different Japanese syllabaries (both katakana and hiragana are used seemingly at random) but there’s disagreement over whether that makes these more or less likely to be fakes.
The images came from 4chan, so there’s not much in the way of provenance, but of course the most convincing aspect is that the designs are really good – especially the super cute platypus character.
If it is a fake then at the very least the person behind it is a great artist.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a comment below, and follow us on Twitter