Since Thursday’s announcement that Wayforward would be developing a game with an established intellectual property — later confirmed to not be a first party Nintendo title — the Internet has been freaking out over the possibilities of what property the Shantae and Bloodstained developer would get to be working with. I’ve seen countless guesses, but nobody I saw guessed what they’re actually working with: Bakugan.
For those unaware, Bakugan was a pretty big phenomenon among kids in Japan and even bigger in the west after the anime and toy series debuted here in 2008. As a kid from around that time, I and my friends wasted so much of our time and money watching and collecting these plastic balls that turned into fighting dragons, and played our fair share of tie-in videogames such as Bakugan Battle Brawlers and Bakugan: Defenders of the Core. I’d like to say these games were genuinely fun adaptations of the series that took the core concept of Pokémon and ran with it, but after revisiting Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, I’m hesitant to praise any game I haven’t played since childhood.
As is commonplace with these things, kids’ attention quickly turned from obsessing over Bakugan to something else (maybe Beyblades?), and the original series ended in 2012. Now it’s trying to make a comeback, with the new series Bakugan: Battle Planet premiering on Cartoon Network in December 2018.
This new videogame seems to take this new series as its main inspiration, mimicking its softer art style and featuring a similar cast. In the Nintendo Treehouse stream, the developers play through a bit of the game and show off its battle system and world, which promises a new adventure in which you collect and battle Bakugan. It’s battle system in particular seems revised from prior Bakugan videogames, where the player character runs around the dueling Bakugan to collect energy, which can be used for more powerful attacks.
Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia launches Nov. 30 on Switch. Paper Mario: The Origami King, which Nintendo showed off in the Treehouse segment before revealing the other game, launches July 17 on Switch. You can watch the gameplay segment for Champions of Vestroia here: