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Pokkén Tournament’s next fighter thwarts fan expectations

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Nobody ever expects Croagunk

Pokkén Tournament, the Pokémon-meets-Tekken arcade fighting game, is adding another Pokémon to its roster on Nov. 10: Croagunk, the little-loved poison frog who’s already present in the game as a support character. It’s a disappointing reveal for some Pokémon fans, especially those who scoured the game’s files and found a different character who appeared to be on its way instead.

Dataminers looked through the files of a version update released back in July, finding several names that suggested a set of new fighters. There were files with Pokédex numbers matching Scizor, the most recently revealed Pokkén combatant; Darkrai, who arrived earlier this year; and Empoleon, the popular, evolved form of water-type starter Piplup.

There were also files found for Croagunk, which Reddit user BananaMuffinFrenzy, who summed up the datamine, dismissed. These likely belonged to the non-playable version of the character, BananaMuffinFrenzy wrote.

Turns out, BananaMuffinFrenzy and the rest of the Pokkén faithful counted out Croagunk too early. With the reveals of Scizor and Darkrai lending credence to the belief that Empoleon was next to enter the ring, Croagunk’s debut has left many Pokkén fans confused.

"OH SHIT WHAT THE HECK?" wrote VintageGrace in a thread following the announcement. "That’s dope a company finally gives a curve for once when people have datamined their secrets."

"So, to clarify, we misinterpreted the DLC files as only three characters (Scizor, Darkrai, Empoleon) when in actuality, they had one more character (Croagunk) that we just dismissed as an update for the Supports," explained APC99. That means there’s still some hope for Empoleon yet, with one slot left on the roster selection screen.

Still, Croagunk is an odd choice, considering it’s already in the game. The Pokémon accrued popularity through featured appearances in the cartoon, but it’s not the wildly popular Greninja — or even Toxicroack, Croagunk’s more powerful evolved form.

That Croagunk is arriving instead of Empoleon, the heavily rumored next fighter, is also a change of pace for Pokémon. The series has seen a lot of news leak ahead of their official reveals this year, with the entire Pokédex for November's Pokémon Sun and Moon revealed before the games' release.

It’s not clear if Croagunk will arrive for the Wii U version of the game, released this past March. Instead, players may have to check it out in Japanese arcades.