Pokemon Sun and Moon: Hopes and expectations

In January of 2013 I wrote an article listing features and changes to the established series I’d like to see in the then recently announced Pokemon X & Y. A lot of the things I listed came true in some form or another, while others were conspicuously absent. In hindsight X and Y were still fantastic continuations of the series, taking it to the obvious and inevitable next level on the 3DS.

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With the recent announcement of Pokemon Sun and Moon, what we’re all expecting to be the 7th generation of Pokemon games, I have a whole new slew of hopes and expectations for the new games, some of them build on the surprises given to us by the last games, other based on the few failings of them.

More Mega Evolutions/regular evolutions

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One of the points on my first article was me wanting to see more evolutions or forms for older Pokemon as well as introducing new ones. I got my wish, but not in the way I expected. Nintendo revealed Mega Evolution, not only giving us new forms for previously underpowered Pokemon, but also breathing new life into pokemon we thought were already at the end of their evolutionary line.

There being more mega evolutions in Sun and Moon is almost a certainatly, and I’m more looking forward to seeing older Pokemon get new mega forms than seeing the new 7th generation Pokemon. That doesn’t mean regular old evolution should be forgotten though. There is still plenty of room to give old one or two stage Pokemon new levels, or even alternative evolutions.

Historically, the odd numbered generations have distanced from their predecessors, maybe to give old and new players an experience more akin to playing the first game for the first time. Ruby and Sapphire having no connectivity to their predecessors to begin with, and Black and White having no Pokemon from previous generations available at all until completetion of the main story. Somehow though, Game Freak have bucked enough trends that I feel they’re going to give players much more to play with…

Wider Array of Pokemon

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One of the things I felt X and Y did well was having a huge amount of available Pokemon during the regular stages of the game. There are over 700 pokemon at this point, with even more being added for Sun and Moon, it’s foolish to hamstring players by arbitrarily limiting the pokemon available to players throughout the story.

I hope that the new games take a page from the X/Y book and give us a huge selection to pick from when playing through the game, not only for more selective fans, but also to give the game a much broader availability when it comes to repeat playthroughs. While I did appreciate the choice made in Black and White to limit players to only using 5th generation Pokemon, when playing it a fourth or fifth time I wished there was a broader choice of Pokemon to build a team with without trading.

Hell while you’re at it, why not just let older starter Pokemon start appearing in the wild, there’s no reason not to. Maybe allow you to pick from any starter Pokemon from previous generations at the beginning, or stop just using Grass, Water and Fire as the basic starter types, change it up a bit. Formula is a great thing, but in your 7th generation, why not just go nuts and change things even more.

A Stronger Focus on Story

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Of all the expectations I had coming out of Black and White, the one I most wanted them to continue, the one I was the most disappointed they didn’t follow up on was the care and effort they put into the game’s story.

X and Y didn’t have a terrible story for what it was, but it paled in comparison to the depth and thought that obviously went into the story of Black and White. Gen V had moral dilemmas, it had a sympathetic antagonist, a real scumbag of a villain and ended on a hugely satisfying note as opposed to tying up its major story arc at the three quarter mark like most of the games do.

I wrote a piece for Thumbsticks after the game came out going into depth about how Team Flare were the weakest part of the game. How they dragged it down from being the best game in the series by a country mile. Of all the things on my list, the one I cross my fingers the most in regards to is the quauty of the game’s story. Pokemon is 20 years old now, many people who started with the first game are approaching 30 now. I know Pokemon is always going to be a kid’s game at its heart, but a strong narrative arc is something I desperately want in Sun and Moon.

More connection to consoles Wii U/NX

Is this a good time to mention that I’m one of the rare Venusaur fans. Dino frog forever.
Is this a good time to mention that I’m one of the rare Venusaur fans. Dino frog forever.

With X and Y jumping onto the 3DS and finally waving goodbye to the 2d sprites that had called the series home up tip this point. What could a console version of the game possibly bring anymore. The basic turn based combat of the series would only benefit so much from having more polished models of the Pokemon battling on a television screen. It’s probably why neither the fifth or sixth generations got a console game to accompany them in the shade of Pokemon Stadium or Battle Revolution.

All of that being said though, I would still like to see Pokemon show up on the main console in some larger form. While it seems less likely to happen in the waining days of the Wii U, the NX is right around the corner. Why not do something to give console owners their Pokemon fix too.

Why not make another Spinoff RPG like Colosseum has already done. Or a Mario Party style mini game collection using Pokemon from your game. Y’know like they did in Pokemon Stadium. Connectivity is such a none issue at this point that why not give us something to connect to.

More RPG elements/character customisation

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Character customisation in X and y was huge. Something people had been wanting for a while, to take the almost completely blank slate that was a Pokemon main character and make them somewhat the player’s own. It was massively satisfying finding a town with a clothes shop and blowing all your money on the clothes to pretty up your anime style avatar.

The feature wasn’t present during the Ruby and Sapphire remakes, but to leave it out of the new game would be a tragedy. As well as expanding on this, there need to be more RPG elements introduced into the game in general.

I’d personally like to see more ambition in customisation altogether, why not allow characters to not only customise themselves but decorate entire horses or even towns. There have been elements of this present in the games before, with room decoration in Gold and Silver and secret bases in Ruby and Saphhire. I’d like to see this go a step further and the developers introduce even more RPG like elements into the game beyond the simple battling.

Less railroading/more of an open world

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As much as I enjoy Pokemon, they’re not games without their faults. People who aren’t as unhealthily obsessed with the series as I am have legitimate complaints about it being a very liner and basic RPG. As I go along this list, I realise the my hopes are getting more outlandish and less likely, but I would love to see Game Freak take a leap of faith and make a much more ambitious game in terms of its overworld.

Despite having a large region to explore, the Pokemon games have always had a very set path through them. There are very clear bullet points that need to be met before the game can progress. It would be great if the developers decided to throw the playbook out of the window and create a much more dynamic world that changes based on the order you decide to tackle it.

The last Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds, succeeded in a big way of changing the standard formula of their most established series. Why not expand the world and allow players to pick their own route through the game.

And if that’s too much, at least give us dynamic weather and the seasonal cycle back.

Bigger initial focus on end game content

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One of the trends that started to pop up in the Pokemon games were their additional version giving players much more to do after the credits had rolled. As much as I enjoy the series, I have never really found my interest in the competitive scene. It’s too based on known quantities, established tactics and a defined tier list for chosen Pokemon.

It was for people like me that the Battle Frontier was a haven to play how I wanted and chug away at higher level challenges without having to worry about the meta game. The Battle Frontier introduced in Emerald version was the first and best envisioning of this. It featured seven different facilities, all of which contained their own ruleset and requirements. They all had leaders which gave badge equivalents for beating them.

Platinum had a similar area, as did Black/White 2. The problem with all of these areas is that they never showed up until the extra version in a generation rolled around. In fact, the 6th generation never got one because they never got a Z or X/Y 2. I want, so badly, for them to give us a Battle Frontier equivalent right off the bat. Please Game Freak.

 

Don’t let amiibos break it

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This one is a recent development. Love them or hate them, there is no denying that the Amiibo has had a huge impact for Nintendo. As sales for the little plastic figurines skyrocket, Amiibo support is becoming an increasingly common selling point for Nintendo’s games. I’m no Amiibo nay-sayer, I own a few myself, more as shelf fillers than for their actual function in game.

The problem has become that some developers aren’t entirely sure how they want to implement Amiibo support into their game, some do it more successfully than others. I’ll get to the point though, the most recent game I played with an Amiibo functions was Mario & Luigi Paper Jam, in which using Amiibo broke the game. The game was by no means difficult, but Amiibo made an easy game trivial.

I worry that for the sake of giving the game some support, Game Freak could make Amiibo trivialise some aspect of the game, or provide some benefit that makes it so owning a pokemon amiibo is required. I’m not against them putting Amiibo into the game, I just hope it’s implemented well.

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I’m super looking forward to the new Pokemon game and will be on it again here when there is more information revealed, because I’m happy to talk about Pokemon at a moments notice. Bring on E3.

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