The venerable pokemon franchise is getting ready to release its next generation of games with Pokemon X and Y coming to the Nintendo 3DS this October loom to add to the 649 species.. We’re also looking at the 61 TC releases and a tournament scene that is only sitting below Magic: The Gathering and, in some places, Yu-Gi-Oh. On top of that, the anime adaptation of the franchise working through its 18th season and its 16th movie, it looks like the Pokemon train is still moving forward at a good clip, showing little, if any, signs of slowing down. So, then, what’s a franchise to do as it nears its next venerable installments?
I checked the clocks on my Pokemon games, having clocked over 1400 hours between all my version from Blue forward – only counting my portables (we’ll ignore Pokemon X.D and the other console competitions for now) – meaning that I’ve spent almost a month straight playing the games to maintain my completed Pokedex. So, in light of that, I have a few thoughts regarding the franchise.
1)KEEP THE FORMULA To put it simply, the games are working following the base formula – a Turn based RPG strategy with a strong collecting element to it. This is one of the biggest ways in which the games have succeeded and one of the biggest draws to it. ANYONE can sit down and understand the mechanics in 5 minutes or less. I want my daughter, when she gets older, to be able to pull up whatever version of the Nintendo Portable is available and sit across from me while we play together and tell me all about her battles. Adding in more complex battle mechanics and strategies isn’t going to help the franchise – the formula works.
2)KEEP IT EASY TO TRANSFER ‘MON FROM ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT. Again, this seems like a logical thing. I didn’t really *like* having to shoot all my Diamond pokemon with a little crossbow to get them to Black, but it worked and it was fairly simple. Personally, I’d rather see some kind of drag and drop interface, but I understand the need for a ‘game’ on Nintendo’s part.
3)KEEP THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE (GTS) – This is more a personal preference and there needs to be some revamping to the trade system (see below), but I do like the GTS and it’s tracker to see how far my ‘Mon have traveled to get to me. Additionally, I’ve had some friends translate the Japanese, French, Dutch, and German names some of my traded Pokemon have and we’ve had some laughs (yes, non native English speakers – we’re on to you!).
4)DROP THE MUSICAL –Again, this comes as a personal preference and will be argued about, but, personally, I know very few people who did anything with the Pokemon Musical aspect. The accessories are neat, and I hear it’s a big thing in Japan, but I’m not seeing it stateside. On the other hand, the Japanese market is pretty vital to the franchise, so maybe we can simply move it back a bit for the NPC’s. I’m glad it’s fun for some, but I don’t really want my trainer being harrassed every few routes with competitions for new accessories. Again, significant personal preference here.
5)DROP THE FRIEND SYSTEM – As it currently exists. It needs to be easier to add friends to your list and to create a community than how it is now with Friend Codes and confirmation processes. Personally, I would run something via the Pokemon Website and GTS forums where you can input codes and accept them through your Pokemon ID online as well as a shorter interface in game.
6)DROP THE GTS TRADE SYSTEM – as it currently exists. The options, right now, are restrictive and not conducive to a good trading atmosphere. Aside from all of the ‘untradeable’ pokemon that you will find present in the requests – the current system needs to be re-examined. The trades are cluttered with requests for Pokemon that cannot, or do not exist according to the games and, even if you do obtain one of these ‘illegal’ pokemon (via a Pro Action Reply or some such) the system doesn’t let it go in. We need a filter on the ‘deposit’ side as well so that they are not cluttering up the system with countless impossible trades.
There’s a bright future ahead for Pokemon, as far as I am concerned. X and Y look like they are doing something interesting with the graphics as an overhaul, and, personally, I am excited to see them come October.
The Number One Thing Nintendo needs to consider with this generation, however, is a full on Console version of the Pokemon game.
I know, I know, the previous attempts didn’t go so well, but there’s a reason for that. Pokemon X.D wasn’t a ‘true’ Pokemon game – it was missing those mechanics that everyone knows Pokemon for. There were no wild battles, little true ‘capturing’ (ignoring the extremely limited selection of ‘dark’ pokemon and the baited pokemon), and simply too much of the emphasis placed on the new mechanics of the world. It didn’t ‘feel’ like a Pokemon game and it was treated as such.
We’re also not looking for a new Pokemon Battle Arena. I like Pokemon Battle Revolution – the attacks were rendered well and it got extremely challenging at the higher tiers. But, eventually, simply battling starts to get boring. I can only use Thunderbolt so many times before I get sick of it. Battling is not the ONLY thing there is to do with a Pokemon.
The time has come, however. The Wii U is the perfect staging ground for a console level Pokemon.It’s separate tablet screen makes a Pokemon game so much more viable. I could play it on the controller while my Wife watches TV – I don’t have to take up her time capturing my Pokemon and boring her to tears. Pokemon X.D and Colosseum came close, but we can have a real, full Pokemon game on the Wii U (Pokemon Z? Pokemon U?!) and not have to worry about discomforting our families.
Not only that, but the tablet controller, when I have the TV to myself, can become a new interface. Just like the DS made controls that much more simple for the games, so can the controller. Instant access to my moves, my items, maybe a stat display or analysis ability – I can think of a dozen things to do with the tablet that could help the game. It’s time, Nintendo. Such a game could re-invigorate the tournament scene AND give us something that the fans have been clamoring at for many years.
Just a few thoughts from a Pokemon fan for you to consider. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a PokeRadar that’s fully charged and a Landorus Forme to capture.