As with previous installments, each game follows the journey of a young Pokémon trainer (and the trainer’s friends) as they train Pokémon.
This time, the game takes place in the Alola region—based on Hawaii—with the object of the game being to thwart the schemes of the nefarious criminal organization Team Skull, all while attempting to challenge various Pokémon trainers of gradually increasing difficulty. Sun and Moon will introduce several dozen new Pokémon species, and includes new features such as Alolan forms of previous generation Pokémon, powerful moves known as Z-Moves, updated battle and training mechanics, and improved polygonal 3D graphics. The games will also adopt the previously introduced battle mechanic known as Mega Evolution, which was first introduced in Pokémon X and Y. Although Sun and Moon are independent of each other, both feature largely the same plot, and while either can be played separately, trading Pokémon between the two games is, as with past titles, necessary in order for a player to obtain every Pokémon species.
The games take place on the tropical islands of the Alola region, composed entirely of islands. Joe Skrebels of IGN describes it as “Pokémon’s take on Hawaii”. During an interview at E3 2016, Shigeru Ohmori noted that Game Freak staff took trips to Hawaii to conduct research for Sun and Moon.
The name of Professor Kukui, the leading scientist in the Alola region, comes from the kukui, also known as the candlenut, the Hawaiian state tree, continuing the trend of Pokémon professors being named after trees. Team Skull is the name of the villainous group for Alola. A group called the Aether Foundation is an organization which studies Ultra Beasts, mysterious creatures from another dimension that are not Pokémon. Professor Oak will not appear in Sun and Moon. Taking his place is his cousin, Samson Oak.
First announced in February 2016 by Tsunekazu Ishihara through a special Nintendo Direct, both Sun and Moon and are set to be released worldwide on November 18th 2016, commemorating the franchise’s 20th anniversary.