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“Hoenn Confirmed” was a catchphrase associated with fan speculations and hoaxes about a possible remake of Nintendo’s Pokémon Generation III video games Ruby Version and Sapphire Version, both of which are set in the Hoenn region. It is used similarly to Half-Life 3 Confirmed.
In May 2014, the phrase became a self-fulfilling prophecy following the official confirmation of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire for the Nintendo 3DS.
Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire were released in November 2002 in Japan and throughout 2003 for the rest of the world, marking the launch of the third generation of Pokémon video games. The belief that there would be remakes of these games stems from the fact that there had been remakes of the Pokemon generations prior to Ruby and Sapphire. Because the remakes of Generation I were released during the Generation III, and Generation II during the Generation IV games, many fans believed that Generation III would be revived during Generation V. This lead to certain fans looking for details in the Generation V titles that would hint at a remake of the Generation III games. Amidst intense speculations on Pokémon fan forums, “Hoenn confirmed” became a tongue-in-cheek way of mocking these believers.
The phrase became notable on 4chan’s Pokémon board, /vp/ around July 2012. Many people on /vp/ were overly enthusiastic about the possibility of Hoenn being remade, but others became annoyed with the more loosely strung together theories and predictions, and began to counter these with “Hoenn confirmed” jokes. It has since spread to several social media platforms and websites, such as Tumblr, 4chan’s /vp/ board, Cheezburger’s Pokememes site, Facebook and Reddit.
The phrase’s popularity rose drastically in 2013, when Pokémon X and Pokémon Y came out on October 12th of that year, as several hints and Easter eggs that indicated a Generation III remake (such as NPCs mentioning Hoenn as their homeland) were scattered throughout the game, subtly reinforcing the idea that remakes were more than a possibility.
The phrase then began to gain momentum even further when Junichi Masuda, the director and composer of the Pokémon games, responded to a fan requesting a remake of Hoenn, and was quoted saying what roughly translates to “Thanks! I’ve received your sentiments. Ruby and Sapphire are very important games to me. I want to make something good. Thanks!!" (shown below).
Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
On May 7th, 2014, Nintendo released a video on their official YouTube Pokémon channel that indicated the release of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, the remakes of Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire, on the Nintendo 3DS in November of that year. The video managed to garner over 14 million views within the first day after being uploaded.
The same day, following the official announcement, news and gaming websites made articles related to the announcement, such as the Digital Times, Cinelinx and Marriland. Likewise, fans reacted with high anticipation towards the announcement, quickly posting various types of fanatic responses to express their excitement, to social media platforms such as Tumblr, where the tags “Hoenn Confirmed”, “Omega Ruby”, and “Alpha Sapphire” exploded with enthusiastic and thrilled responses.