I don’t know if it’s because I ended up blocking a dozen or so people on Twitter, but it feel like, since the release of Isle of Armor, the heat on the Pokemon franchise has cooled off a little. Those #bringbackthenationaldex people are still there, but I feel like they’re just brainlessly parroting themselves at this point rather than actually thinking they’re getting somewhere with their comment spam.
Rather than just being laser focused on that one issue with the mainline Pokemon games, I’ve started to see the criticism broaden out into a more “normal” series of complaints. In which everyone wants their pet demand fulfilled. One of the most common, and one I can’t disagree with being the return of Mega Evolution.
I cannot deny that Mega Evolution was one of the most exciting new mechanics Game Freak ever introduced into the Pokemon franchise. One that, at the time, felt like it was going to be a constant throughout all future generations. However, that wasn’t the direction Game Freak ended up deciding to pursue. Rather, they chose to make each new generation stand out with its own unique “gimmick” mechanic.
Gen VII had Z-Moves and Gen VIII had Dynamax, which ended up being something of a combination of both of the gimmicks from the previous two generations. At this point it seems highly unlikely to me that Mega Evolution will come back into the mainline series. And even if it does, it’ll be a nod and a reference. My point being that I don’t think we’ll be getting any new Mega Evolutions.
If you think about it, the progression of Game Freak doing things with already established Pokemon has done through something of an evolution in itself. In the early days, we simply got further evolutions to older Pokemon. Some examples being Pichu, Scizor and Yanmega. However, the developers moved away from this by Gen VI and instead introduced Mega Evolution as a way to put new spins on old favourites.
That wasn’t the final stage though. What actually ending up feeling like final destination of this journey, the gimmick the developers ended up sticking with through several generations were regional variants. Through this, they were able to reuse, but also refresh their older designs while also avoiding power creep that came with adding more and more powerful Mega Evolutions.
I don’t claim to be an expert in the metagame, but Dynamax and Gigantamax variations ended up doing the same job as Mega Evolution while being more balanced in competitive play. Only lasting a few turns while allowing all Pokemon to do it.
I have no idea what new gimmick we’re going to end up getting in Generation IX, but if regional variations continue to be a thing, I cannot see Mega Evolution ever coming back outside of those existing designs showing up in spin-off games. By that same train of thought; I’m not sure I will ever see any new evolutions to older (non regional) Pokemon in future games either. Except for maybe Eevee, which acts as the possible exception to that particular rule.
Game Freak have made it apparent that they’re going to do something new with each new generation, and with regional variations filling the very niche that Mega Evolutions filled previously, but without the need to bundle a load of mechanics into the game to allow it and have to account for the ghastly overpowered mega Pokemon that result from them.
I am bummed that we’ll never see them again, not for the meta aspects of them though, but for the their designs and the possibility of seeing future designs of my old favourites. Although Gigantamax fills that desire to some extent. So to end this post by totally ignoring the very argument I just spent time making, I’m going to list ten Pokemon I would have loved to see get a Mega Evolution. Because I might as well have a little fun after all that pessimism:
The Johto starters
This choice is based almost entirely on those popular concepts that were floated around when the Hoenn starters got their mega evolutions with the release of the Gen III remakes. They’re so well realised that I came to the conclusion that all of the non-kanto starters need some real love. Charizard, Blastoise and Venusaur get a lot of fan service, but those Gold and Silver starters hold a lot of nostalgia for fans too, so why not give them a little love?
I’ve always really liked Corsola, I have no idea why. There’s just something about it’s cute design that always made me like it and wish so badly that it was better. While it’s Galarian counterpart did get a regular evolution, the original, Johto borne version desperately needed some kind of boost, akin to what we saw with Mega Beedrill. So why not give it some crazy stat boost and cool new ability.
Alolan Muk is fine, but the original version is just a Pokemon I can’t get enough of. What would a Mega Muk be? I can’t decide, I’d like to see a simple defensive stat boost, turning it into a bigger Muki-Muk. But a total change akin to Porygon-Z would be cool too, making it much faster streamlined and unlike it’s goopy original form. How this could be justified mechanically, I couldn’t tell you. I just want to see it.
Pokemon exist in partnerships and parallels, even if many of us don’t realise it. Milotic, for example, it a Pokemon designed to parallel Gyarados. Special where Gyarados is physical, beautiful where Gyarados is brutal, a prior evolution that contradicts the form it will eventually embody. The only real difference is that Gyarados got a Mega Evolution where Milotic did not. So why not throw one in there, give it a Dragon subtype while you’re at it. Although if we’re going to keep up this game of parallels, then a fairy subtype might make more sense.
I love Dragonite, my big doughy happy boy. Yet we find ourselves in a world where Salamance, Garchomp, Tyranitar and Metagross got Mega Evolutions and Dragonite did not? It hardly seems fair. I wouldn’t even care if they didn’t do anything drastic to him in the process, just give him a pure boost. Dragonite needs more love. I mean he didn’t even make the cut to get into Sword/Shield. Devastating. (You could make all of these arguments for Flygon also)
Slowbro got one, why couldn’t Slowking get one too? The two Pokemon are exactly the same bar a swapping of their physical and special defensive stats. If one got some love, why not the other. I have no idea if the design would follow the same, hilarious trend that Slowbro did, getting consumed by it’s shell, but I’d love to see the outcome regardless.
Two Pokemon that went through a journey of growth over the generations unlike nearly any other. Starting as single stage Pokemon, before getting a baby form in Gen II, only to get their final, third evolution stage in Gen IV. Why not round out their journey by giving them both one more, final stage to their journey and adding that extra mega form to finally realise the shonen hero’s journey that they’re both on. Just for clarification. Electivire is the protag and Magmortar is the rival character, I won’t hear any arguments to the contrary.
Come on guys, do I even need to justify this one? Everyone’s been asking for it.
This one’s all on me. I’ve had a massive love for Gliscor since I first saw it. I insisted on using that Poison Heal Gliscor I trained up in X and Y for a long time afterwards despite everyone telling me it was low tier. I don’t care. I also have no idea what a Mega Glisocor would even be. But I just want the Pokemon to get more love.
You know, there has to be some scrapped design sheet somewhere in Game Freak showing a concept for Mega Dugtrio that is literally just a sea of Diglett as far as the eye can see. Imagine it. It’s the perfect kind of ridiculous escalation that gave us amazing designs like Mega Slowbro. I find myself enjoying the more absurd Pokemon concepts the more I think about the franchise and they already gave us Alolan Dugtio, why not give us Mega Alolan Dugtrio? Man, times like this makes me wish I had any artistic ability whatsoever.
Thank you for indulging me in this post that came seven years too late.