Arguably one of the biggest headlines coming out of E3 2017 was the announcement of a mainline Pokemon RPG for the Nintendo Switch. It was casually announced without a trailer, screenshot or concept art – just an assurance that it is indeed in development. It was an odd and rather bizarre announcement. Nevertheless, the existence of a mainline Pokemon RPG being developed on a highly capable console has got this Pocket fan shaking in excitement. For the first time in a long time, Pokemon isn’t limited by relatively weak hardware. In my humble opinion, Pokemon for the Switch can potentially mark the greatest evolution for the series, a rethinking of conventions that this beloved franchise needs. A transformation in the same vein that Breath of the Wild is to the Zelda series.
And I’m not strictly talking about visual upgrades, the opportunities that the Switch presents can introduce some interesting gameplay and world designs. My vision for Pokemon Switch is a gamer’s wet dream and if GameFreak delivers a title that slightly resembles this vision, I’d be incredibly impressed.
I remember vividly when Pokemon stormed into the minds of the collective, the humble beginnings of the global phenomenon it is today. Pokemon captured the imaginations of the world like no other game before it. It presented a fantasy filled with mystical companion creatures of incredible power. A fantasy where everyone wanted to become a trainer, where everyone wanted their very own Pokemon and where everyone was swept into this world. GameFreak and Nintendo gave everyone an opportunity to experience this fantasy in the first Pokemon game.
While there’s no denying handheld’s provided a successful platform for the series over the years, however I’ve always felt that the relatively processing power held back the mainline series from reaching it’s potential both commercially and critically. In my humble opinion, the latest mainline iterations has not been able to recreate the same magic and fantasy of the original. To be frank the top down perspective isn’t going to cut it anymore. I can’t help but feel that the series has, to a degree, gotten stale and has become outdated. With the Switch presenting itself as a capable premiere console, Pokemon has the opportunity to recapture the imaginations of the world by presenting a beautiful world filled with wonder and lust.
I would like for Game Freak to forego the top down RPG structure and present the game as a grand third person RPG epic with a vast world that is driven by the philosophy of exploration and discovery. I want Game Freak to scrap the bland and uninspired art direction of the environments and mold a world with beautiful lushes scenery, lively and bustling cities and dynamic weather. A world that is living and breathing, just teeming with Pokemon. To be honest, I want a world that recaptures the wonder, awe and imagination that the original captured so emphatically.
Some believe graphics and visuals are the superficial layers of a video game and hold less value than the gameplay. I disagree. Visuals are important to the sensory experience of a video game, the key component to the players immersion. This is why I’m pacing so much important into the visuals.
Take for example finding Pokemon. Catching Pokemon can be more than just random grass encounters. Having Pokemon visible in the environment and not just something that pops up as a random encounter would make the world more lively and interesting. It would be amazing to see Pokemon visually behaving naturally in their environment. Imagine how much more exciting encountering and capturing Pokemon will be? Picture trudging along a grassy route and you suddenly a see shiny Pokemon frolicking in its natural habitat. Or how about chasing down the landing of a flying Zapdos to desperately grab that opportunity to encounter the legendary. Or waiting patiently until the right time and conditions for a rare Pokemon to come out of hiding. The excitement of catching Pokemon would be in a whole new level.
Aside from the visuals, I would like more change ups to the series. Better storytelling, fantastic cinematic’s and greater difficulty would be greatly appreciated. Perhaps more importantly, I would like more post game content. The mainline Pokemon games have had this problem as far as I can remember. While catching Legendary’s, defeating frontiers and conquering challenges are always fun distractions, I’ve always wanted more from Pokemon games after the main quest has been completed. I like the idea of rabbit-hole sidequests with interesting story-lines and worthwhile rewards. The best example of this would be the Delta Quests from Pokemon Omega Ruby and Apha Sapphire. It had a separate story complete with cinematics and it added an extra dimension to the world. I want more of these quests before and after the main story. It will add to the value of the game and I believe Pokemon has some interesting tales to tell.
However, I do do concede that creating a Pokemon game is a momentous task. Designing and animating over 700 pokemon game is a challenge itself, not to mention the animation from 100’s of moves. It may not be viable to create a game that I envision and that’s perfectly okay. Whatever GameFreak produces and I’m certain it will be fantastic. I just hope to be surprised and impressed like I was with Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. So what do you of my wishlist for Pokemon Switch? Do you like my vision or is it not your cup of tea? Let me know in the comment section.