According to Siliconera, Pokemon series developer Game Freak has published a New Year’s greeting in the latest issue of the Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream, including a small hint about the future of the franchise.
Before we go making any mountains out of Diglett hills, Game Freak has basically stated that the world ofPokemon will be ‘evolving’ sometime next year.
What exactly this entails, anyone could guess…for now, I’ll take it as a cheesy-yet-effective method of hype-stirring just before the turning of the New Year.
That being said, I’m no less ready for some good old-fashioned speculation. After all, speculating is always best when your entire foundation of ideas is based on such an utterly vague and off-handed hint from the developers…right?
Sixth Generation of Speculation
Perhaps we could finally see the first console-based generation of Pokemon, set on the Wii U? I could see the Game Pad making a huge impact on the game – perhaps using it to quickly scan the area for items with the Dowsing Machine, or even simple mechanic-based stuff like choosing your commands via touch screen?
Then again, maybe the Pokemon series will instead stick to the handhelds, making its forst proper appearance on the Nintendo 3DS. What if Gen. VI kicked off with the first pair of 3DS Pokemon games? This could be particularly nice for 3DS owners, especially after 2012′s Black 2 & White 2 were designed for the vastly-inferior NDS hardware, and therfore limited in the overall potential. If you recall, around the same time earlier this year, the 3DS had finally picked up some ‘stride’…given the quality of Black 2 & White 2, my head quickly begins to spin when I think about all the possibilities on the newest handheld and the integration of its unique features.
Rubies Are Red, Sapphires Are Blue. ‘Third Gen’ Is Back…Evolved For Round 2
Of course, the latest Pokemon games could very well be the long-rumored re-makes of Ruby & Sapphire - after all, it feels like speculation has been going around since the original games came out. Maybe we’ll see something like “Ruby Magma Version” & “Sapphire Aqua Version”, based on Team Magma/Team Aqua? Perhaps the two teams’ plans to roast/flood the world will finally come to fruition, complete with undertones of global warming and man’s destructive impact on the environment?
Crime in the world of Pokemon has to evolve somehow too; we have already seen plenty of kidnapping (Team Rocket), trying to rule the universe (Team Galactic), neglectful treatment of Pokemon and even their enslavement (Team Plasma, double ouch). With some of those ideas rolling around in the past, why not chime in on global warming or destruction of the environment – after all, it only seems to be the most discussed and debated political/world issue for the past several years.
3D Or Bust?
I think the general consensus (at least from what I’ve gathered in countless hours of browsing the ‘net) is that Game Freak needs to shrug off its reluctance to bring the Pokemon series to full 3D, with large, detailed environments and a battle system that at least looks something like the console battle simulators (Stadium, Colosseum, etc.). Hey, Pokemon fans are ready for it – I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that we want bigger, better, and more – whether that means a bunch of brand-new Pokemon to catch (give me at least 150), an all-new region to explore (why not visit the western US; Vegas, LA, Seattle, Portland?) some new elemental types (why not try ‘Sound’ type?), or at the very least, some new “Eevee-lutions”, like “Beevee” (Bug-Type) or “Draconeon” (Dragon-Type), “Eeveeon” (Normal-Type) or “Bansheeon” (Ghost-Type)?
(Yeah, those look pretty sweet, how about some of that?!)
“You’re Almost There! Don’t Give Up Now!”
Game Freak definitely has a chance to push the Pokemon series to new heights, but will the traditional design of the core games see a much-needed shake-up at its foundation? I certainly hope so; there are just so many things that could be improved, as much as I love this series – and believe me, I love it.
For starters, no more MIDI-based monster cries…end of story. Those awful speaker-tearing sounds stopped being cute over a decade ago; Game Freak should strongly consider going back to put proper “cries” or at least the sound bytes of every last Pokemon speaking their names, just as you would see in the anime. Of course, this includes every last new Pokemon, too.
How about limiting the Legendary Pokemon, restricting them to the rare-and-challenging duels that were such a thrill to walk away from in the first few generations (long before the lure of Legendaries was diluted with each new set of games’ growing number of them)?
Why not change the pace and progression of the game; we are all tired of running into the “New Pidgey” on the first route, and I for one am sick to death of Grass/Fire/Water starters. In fact, I all but demand something new with the starters – there are just too many slick ‘trios’ that could work here; Electric/Ground/Flying, Fighting/Dark/Psychic, Ice/Steel/Rock…hell, why not make all three starters half-Dragon, half-something-else, with the second type forming the standard elemental ‘trio’?
And seriously, Game Freak: no more of these half-assed attempts to move the series away from its 2D roots. If the series ever ‘evolves’ to full 3D visuals and environments, I hope the developers are ready to provide all the necessary charm and detail that Pokemon fans have come to enjoy.
See, Level-5 can do it with Ghost Watch – what’s the deal, Game Freak?!
Alas, I’m getting ahead of myself and beginning to sound pretty demanding. With Game Freak’s wishes of a Happy New Year in Nintendo Dream magazine; my response is simply this: bring me the best Pokemon games to date, and I will have the happiest New Year in 2013 that a gamer could possibly have.