Pokemon Wish List: Three Keys to Success

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Pokémon fans, it’s time to start getting excited. A new adventure, on an all-new engine made possible by a relatively (but not really) new piece of hardware. Pokémon X and Pokémon Y will soon grace the Nintendo 3DS, over two and a half years since the handheld’s launch. Better late than never, of course, but many fans have been waiting for this since day one. Regardless, it’s coming, it’s new, and it looks fancy. Check it out for yourself:

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As you can see, the upcoming titles will sport all-new 3D visuals, a graphic system unprecedented in the series due to the limited hardware capabilities of the original DS. Now we’re getting a fully realised 3D world without 2D sprites for characters or Pocket Monsters. And what’s best of all, battles will be completely animated–not just pixelated icons distorting or shaking around in place. Welcome to 2013, Pokémon.

With all of this said, there’s still so much more we’re waiting to learn about. What new features will be packed in with this new adventure? Will the game take full advantage of the 3DS hardware, not just with its graphical upgrade? Time to don our speculative spectacles and do some wishful thinkin’.

Better social features
The 3DS is embedded with a wealth of social features in its hardware alone, and given the integration of the C-Gear in Black and White (which gives limited features not too dissimilar to the 3DS’ Street Pass connectivity), some of the building blocks are already there. What we’d like to see this time however is a broader, more responsive social experience. Let’s get together with some friends and do some actual adventuring in multiplayer. Let’s have some integration with the new Pokédex app now available on the 3DS’ eShop. Hell, let’s take it that extra mile and organise our online trades via our mobile phones or PCs.

The Pokémon series has always been renowned as Nintendo’s social experiment in terms of drawing players together to complement each other’s experiences, whether it be from battling or trading. It’s time to expand on that idea and breathe some new life into the series, what with the huge changes to the way people connect digitally since Pokémon Red and Green (Japan) first hit GameBoys in 1996.

More than just the tried and true formula
The core RPG formula that Pokémon games have been built on for 17 years has worked well for the series so far, but with the Pokédex now expanding to over 700 monsters, we need a change in dynamics to keep us going to fill that sucker up. Everyone knows what it takes to be a Pokémon trainer, but over the years RPGs have grown to be more than just grind-fests and numbers. In this generation of consoles alone we’ve seen an exponential development in storytelling and character development in gaming, and Pokémon shouldn’t be an exception. It’s time for Pokémon to evolve.

Give us some dynamic choices that affect the story (moral or not), or perhaps even some newer ways to get badges. I’m not saying we need to re-write what’s made the series great, but it’s time for more than just battling and walking. Other games — even JRPGs — have been progressively putting more emphasis on engaging with the world rather than just bolstering up parties to take down the biggest and baddest mofos around.

Better Pokémon
The games have been remembered for their ever expanding roster of monsters, especially the cutest and most powerful. But something that’s been plaguing the series is the inclusion of some really uninspired/particularly unnecessary creatures, too. Luvdisc, Feebas, Trubbish (and its evolved form, Garbador), Nosepass, Foongas, Stunfisk, Woobat… The list just goes on.

So far, the Pokémon that have been announced for Pokémon X and Pokémon Y — starters Chesspin (grass), Fennekin (fire), Froakie (water) and legendaries Xerneas and Yveltal — have shown some promise, but with the upcoming games pushing the Pokédex up past 700 entries we’re bound for some stinkers. Let’s just hope that they’ll be in the vast minority, or at least have utterly badass/useful evolved forms.

So there’s our take on what we want from Pokémon X and Pokémon Y upon their October release this year. But what do you want to see? Tell us below, or join the conversation in our forum.

Having been an avid gamer for twenty-two years now, I've come to appreciate all facets of gaming (music, culture, development, etc). I originally started out with a Sega Master System II, then moved onto a Nintendo 64 and the rest is history. Though my focus is all things Nintendo, I still love having a taste of everything. No one console is perfect, and that's the way I like it.