Saturday, 03 June 2017 23:03

Pokemon - The Next Step

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     The Pokémon Franchise has been around for over 20 years, and every few years a new game in the much beloved franchise gets released and sees many happy players across the world. It is developed largely by GameFreak and Published by Nintendo. The Original Red and Blue Versions were released in Japan in 1996. With a few tweaks and an update, it arrived in the States in 1998. Since then, we have seen more than 900 creatures known as Pokémon in various digital forms.  

     I have been a fan of the series for nearly a decade. I have purchased games at launch, games a few months later, and some I have yet to acquire. I have a deep respect for Nintendo, their practices, and a love for the Pokémon series as a whole. I want to see Pokémon in the best light possible, and my hope is to share my vision of what I would like to see done with this wonderful and timeless series. Part of my idea also includes what I believe is the best move Nintendo can make to give the Pokémon Series and their consoles the best possible treatment.

     I want to see the continuing success of Nintendo and Pokémon as well as the renewing and revitalizing the series with a vigor that can sustain it for many more years.  The central concept to my idea is mastery. I want GameFreak and Nintendo to demonstrate what they have learned with the Pokémon Franchise as a whole and with the consoles that those games are on. The Golden Treatment is the name that fits best with my idea - my vision of what can be (not necessarily what will actually be). The logistics of my idea contains three phases: the Swansong, the Legacy, and the Rebirth.


The Swansong

     The first phase of my idea involves a remake of the “generation four” games - Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Now these were my first Pokémon Games that I had on my own. I still enjoy whipping out my copy of Pearl just to have a good time occasionally. I try not to be biased towards it. I have numerous complaints regarding the game especially now that it has been out for nearly a decade. The Swansong name of this phase is in reference to the six year old hardware known as the Nintendo 3DS.

      Here is my vision of the spring of 2018, during which a final set Pokémon games are released on the 3DS. The games would be the remakes of the Diamond and Pearl games. These remakes would improve upon and maintain the original spirit of the games. The graphical engine would be updated and the irritating number of moves needed for exploration would be removed, instead replaced with the more manageable system from Pokémon Sun and Moon. Other improvements would be combining the Pokémon center and store into one building, as is the current system and adding additional improvements or elements to the overall narrative to enhance it. This could be in the form of a story arc after the end of the main game, perhaps having challenging opponent that upon defeat can give you the special Z-Crystals (equipment that unlocks powerful one use moves in battles). GameFreak could give the Sinnoh (the region name in the game) starter Pokémon mega evolutions and find that balance between the old mechanics and the new mechanics. Add a little extra polish and care to the games; make them represent everything that Nintendo and GameFreak have learned in making a good Pokémon game.

     GameFreak should use the majority of the features that the 3DS system boasts to show mastery over both Pokémon and console. Make the safari zone feel more like Pokémon Snap. It could use the motion camera to truly capture the feel of being on a safari, looking for Pokémon to capture. Implement the pedometer into the functions of the game by assisting with the breeding mechanics or another training feature. Streetpass and Spotpass features should be used to send powerful teams to your friends, so they can prepare for battle against you, get help beating a challenging trainer, or even as a way to send friends items. The overall effect of the game design, narrative, and game features should blow people away in awe and provide them a reason to hang on to their system.


The Legacy

     The second phase of my plan involves the very first Pokémon games, Red and Blue. Pokémon Red and Blue versions were already remade in 2004 as FireRed and LeafGreen. I enjoy the original games and the remakes as they are still fun if a bit outdated, especially coming from other more recent Pokémon titles, they can feel sluggish in gameplay and old graphically by comparison. That is why I propose the Re-Remake of the Generation One games on Nintendo’s new system the Nintendo Switch.

      The Switch came out earlier this year. It has been hitting record sales for several months now, practically flying off the shelves. This is why I propose waiting until late 2019, possibly launching Black Friday, a trio of games with custom systems as bundles; AquaBlue HD, FireRed HD, and LeafGreen HD, each game launching with matching hardware.  For AquaBlue - make the JoyCons (the side controllers) a slightly translucent blue, the Switch Console itself a solid medium blue, and the dock for the system a dark blue. FireRed’s Switch would be a solid red with slightly translucent JoyCons, and a dark red dock. LeafGreen gets a dark green dock with a leafy green system, and again slightly translucent JoyCons. This custom hardware is to increase the variety of the systems as well as give a slight edge to the Pokémon games released at the same time. This hardware is really only one part of the whole for this phase.


Nintendo switch console


      Waiting until late 2019 gives GameFreak time to get their feet under them with the new system and to produce a game that will run smoothly and on the given system. Since the Switch has power and can be mobile, it could be wise to produce a Pokémon game with stunning visuals and gameplay. The games must give off an air of being the legacy of the series - gym battles are challenging, the soundtrack is awesome, the Pokémon themselves are memorable. These games would basically be the first home console appearance of the Kanto region (the in game area).  As such, they should demonstrate the full power of the console while maintaining its handheld feel. The Switch as a Hybrid Handhand-Console System is the perfect system to try this out on.

     Perhaps in this remake, the Seveii Islands (small portion of FireRed and LeafGreen’s map) are kept and are still part of the story. Perhaps the Johto region is partially added (Johto being the neighboring area in the game). The Battles could potentially be more mobile and have a Stadium/Battle Revolution feel to them, but without the whole arena feel.  There are a great many things that GameFreak could do to make a full HD Pokémon experience. The original Pokémon game of Red and Blue are the way to create both a memorable experience for the younger players and a way to reinvigorate the original audience. I have no doubt that if Red and Blue were given this treatment that the Nintendo Switch would sell many more units, and the Pokémon Franchise would also sell incredibly well.


The Rebirth

     The third and final phase in my master plan for Pokémon is to release a new generation of games onto the switch sometime during mid-2021 potentially sometime later for that matter. It should be a good chunk of time to create some concrete concepts and create a truly next generation game. Perhaps this could be a direct sequel to X and Y versions in a similar vein as Pokémon Gold and Silver were sequels to the original Red and Blue. Possibly, even the Black and White games. Give us a new region to explore in full 3D. Perhaps, these new games no longer have an isometric view, but in an over-the-shoulder type way. Also, give us something familiar to see in the best possible way. Let GameFreak stretch their muscles and demonstrate a love and care for this series in the way they would want to. Begin implantation of features from the Nintendo Switch system and show that Pokémon is still well loved by both developers and players alike. This phase is designed to finalize the transition of Pokémon from the 3DS and to a larger extent the Nintendo portable system line to a more powerful machine capable of producing the type of game we all want to see. Let GameFreak decide how to proceed from here.


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