Pokemon theme park could be bad news for Universal fans

Pokemon theme park could be bad news for Universal fans
Images via The Pokemon Company | Universal Studios

Written by 

Tom Chapman


12th Jan 2024 14:15

27 years after we first booted up Pokemon Red & Green on the Game Boy, we're still trying to catch 'em all. While the Pokeverse might've found its start in video games, it's since become a marketing goliath, boasting merchandise, anime, movies, and (soon) theme parks.

The theme park world is big business, and it's arguably the Disney empire that's made the most bank off its various Disneyland parks. Universal is hot on Mickey's heels, with its recent expansion into Nintendo IPs proving just as lucrative.

Pokemon could be coming to Universal Studios

While Universal busies itself with its planned Mario parks, we're waiting to be the very best (like no one ever was). Following the announcement of a PokePark in Japan, a series of trademarks sparked hope of a similar rollout in Europe. But, what about the USA?

The idea of Universal opening a Pokemon-themed land might seem difficult given a lack of space at its Orlando locale, but according to Inside the Magic, the perfect plot could be about to open up. Following Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019, the status of The Simpsons has been a point of concern.

Universal's Springfield opened in 2008, and with the license lasting for 20 years, it's up for renewal in 2028. Even though that might seem like a long way off, Universal will likely be looking ahead at what will have to replace it at both Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Twitter account @Universal__Core said that no new technicians are being hired for The Simpsons Ride, while there are claims characters from the cartoon caper are going to be incorporated into Disney parks via meet and greets. This all ties together with the prevailing rumour that a Pokemon park will soon be gracing Universal.

A Pokemon-themed land was originally set to take over the kids zone at Universal Studios Florida with an indoor roller coaster and battle arena show. A DreamWorks land will fill that void, while Springfield potentially freeing up some space could see Pokemon fast-tracked into construction here.

Similar to the wristbands in Japan's Super Nintendo World, there could be interactive Pokeballs that let you catch 'mon from around the park and potentially interact with them on a new ride system. This is all speculation, but it sounds like a plausible route of action. 

Universal Studios is only getting bigger

We already know Epic Universe is coming to Orlando as a third gate, joining Universal Orlando Resort and Islands of Adventure. There's also a kid-friendly park in Texas, Universal's Las Vegas Horror Unleashed attraction coming to Area15, and a plot of land in the UK has been earmarked for Universal Great Britain.

Given the success of Japan's Super Nintendo World and the fact its parks are popping up like mushrooms in Singapore and Orlando, we'd always guessed this would be the start of a push into gaming IPs. We already know a Donkey Kong land is on the way

You don't get much bigger than Pokemon, and with Universal Japan sure to reap the Pokecoins, it makes sense that Universal wants to cookie cutter this idea out across the globe. We can't wait to turn our caps backwards and pretend we're Ash Ketchum. 

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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