Disney may be the 900 pound gorilla of the theme park space but in recent years Universal Parks and Resorts has made some major strides, from creating the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Super Nintendo Land, Universal has made some major licensing deals to bring popular properties to its parks around the world. And now, it’s happened again with global favorite Pokémon. Unfortunately, there’s a catch,+ as you’ll have to travel to Universal Studios Japan for any future Pokémon experience.
Today Universal Studios Japan and The Pokémon Company announced a brand new long-term partnership that will bring Pokémon-themed entertainment to the Asian theme park. While no specifics were given, new entertainment is set to begin arriving in 2022.
There’s no specific mention of any sort of planned attraction or area dedicated to Pokémon, and the fact that we’ll see the first results of this partnership as early as next year means that whatever is planned to arrive first won’t take long at all. As such, we are likely to be seeing simple additions, Pokémon-themed food and merchandise, perhaps walk around characters. The most extensive addition we might see that quickly would be some sort of live entertainment show.
Still, whatever we end up getting, it’s probably just what Pokémon fans have been dreaming of. Of course, to get to experience any of it you’ll need to either live in Japan, or plan a probably not inexpensive vacation.
The announcement is specific to Universal Studios Japan, so it’s unclear if we might see Pokémon stuff in the North American theme parks in the future. Universal Studios Japan has a lot of IP that you won’t find in the other parks, but Pokémon is certainly a global brand with a lot of fans.
Considering the connection that Nintendo, who publishes all the Pokémon video games, has with the Pokémon Company, it’s not a mental leap to assume that the relationship between Universal and Nintendo that led to Super Nintendo Land didn’t play a part in making the Pokémon deal happen. As such, we could see Pokémon showing up stateside considering both American Universal parks are set to get Super Nintendo lands.
Between a brand new Universal Studios park in China, high profile attractions like the Velocicoaster at Universal Orlando Resort, and new additions like Nintendo and Pokémon, Universal Parks & Resorts are certainly making a big push in the space. And with Orlando’s Epic Universe still on the way, it’s far from over. While Disney has, and continues to expand its own offerings with major IP like Marvel, the House of Mouse may want to keep an eye on their rivals.