Disclaimer: The opinions and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Neoseeker.
Following the announcement of the Generation VI Pokémon games Pokémon X and Pokémon Y last week, people have been taking the forums to speculate and discuss a wide variety of topics, from whether the X and Y in the titles refer to axis on a graph or the chromosomes that determine our gender, to discussion of whether or not 700+ Pokémon is considered too much; and, of course, what people want to see from the games this October.
This is arguably one of the biggest Pokémon announcements since... well, I don't know! But it's a pretty big deal, so what exactly has Nintendo got in store for us this time? No one knows, but what we do know is what we want. I know what I want, and that's what you'll find throughout this article. Feel free to disagree, but having been playing from the days of Red and Blue, some of this comes from over a decade of waiting.
1. Continue to shake things up
Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 were a first for the series, deviating from the traditional third main title game in a generation (Pokémon Emerald, Pokémon Yellow, Pokémon Platinum, etc.) and going for an all out sequel. While not technically the first sequel in the series, with Pokémon Silver/Gold happening two years after the events of Pokémon Red/Blue, it is the first numbered direct sequel for the franchise, which was a welcome and refreshing change of pace. Aptly timed as well, as things were starting to become a little predicable and stale. It also introduced a "reward" system for players in the form of Medals, something that again hadn't been done previously in the series.
With all this refreshing material we saw in Generation V, in some regards Nintendo have now dug a hole from which they can't escape. Now they've changed the approach to releasing games they've been following since the release of Red/Blue back in 1998, there is no turning back. They've got to keep surprising us. They can't let it go back to the way we are used to it, at least not without disappointing long time fans. I want them to keep surprising us. They've done that already by releasing the game internationally at the same time. But I'm an insatiable PokéFan. I want more. Keep surprising me, Nintendo!
2. Story Arcs and a more meaningful plot
Generation V astounded me personally and is my favourite generation thus far, usurping Generation II (which was no easy feat), not because I particularly took a fancy to the new Pokémon available, but because of the story. Pokémon Black and White was far more dynamic than any other Pokémon game. We have an antagonist who wasn't really an antagonist and is easily one of the most likeable characters to come out of the franchise. The story can make or break a game, and while the emphasis has never really been on story in Pokémon games I think it should. It added a much more mature spin on the games, enjoyable for people who have grown up playing the games and an exciting chapter for those new.
As such I'd like deeper plot for Pokémon X and Y. I want it to mean something, I want to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end, I want to feel proud of my Pokémon having reached the end of the story. Black and White did this by having you face the antagonist as part of the Elite 4 challenge, which made the villainous team part of the game, rather than something you happened upon while wandering the region in aim to become a Pokémon Master. If possible, maybe even have a story arc spanning several games rather than round it off in one. Create more dynamic characters, bring some characters back (Fantina was noted to have a particularly dense French accent, maybe with the inclusion of an Eiffel tower shaped building, this could be her home region). The possibilities are endless for Pokémon and there is so much untapped potential there for stories that it would be a shame to waste a game that claims to be "breaking into a new dimension" by fobbing us off with a typical story as per every game pre-Generation V.
3. Character customisation
This is something a lot of fans have been wanting since the days of Silver/Gold. What could be better than traversing a new region with a character decked out to your own preference? I'm not adverse to the characters that we've been presented with so far in the series, in fact quite the contrary. I adore nearly all of the character designs provided for us so far, but there is something personal about having your hero clothed the way you want them to be clothed, looking the way you want them to look. I'm almost surprised this has yet to make it into the series, especially considering the idea of a silent protagonist is for the players to project their own personalities on to the character -- something that would be quite hard to do if it wasn't YOUR character. Thinking about this logically, however, it would have been hard to pull this off with sprites still dominating the world of Pokémon, but now we have 3D models of not only our trainer, but Pokémon as well, this would be an opportune time to introduce a feature that a lot of fans have been after for a while.
Speculation has been around since the announcement video, not only because the feature is highly sought after, but because in the part in which the male character swings across a gap on a vine. The glasses adorning his head seem to be left behind, indicating that it is separate of the character model itself. That, and the player is seen looking into a mirror at the start of the debut video, somewhat reminiscent of The Sims games.
4. Connectivity with the Wii U
Sure, why not? Nintendo haven't really been pushing their new home console as much as perhaps they should have been. The console struggles to keep its head above water in the western world. In the UK it barely reached a Top 50 list of gadgets sold. The deal breaker for a lot of people to buy a new Nintendo console is whether or not there is a Pokémon game on there (or another high grossing popular franchise from the Japanese-based gaming giant, although Mario never seems to quite cut it). The Wii saw a few Pokémon titles that connected to their handheld devices. Pokémon Battle Revolution and My Pokémon Ranch proved popular amongst fans but generally had a short shelf life, with people losing interest after only a couple of months. Why not bring a full Pokémon game to the Wii U? Ubisoft did it with the release of Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. Alright, the connectivity may have only been a few missions where the two characters briefly interacted with one another, but it was entertaining nevertheless.
Even if it's just an application for the Wii U, like a Pokémon storage system that will allow players to store Pokémon on their Wii U system. Highly important for people wanting to start new games and wanting to keep the Pokémon they've trained so hard but with a lack of Multiple save files (which I don't think the series should have) or more than one 3DS. Just for the love of God don't make it another Pokédex application.
5. Emphasise the importance of Legendaries
Things have been borderline comical for a while concerning legendary Pokémon. For such rare and unique beasts, there certainly are a lot of them! Generation I had five, Generation II had six, Generation III had ten, Generation IV had 14, and Generation V had 13, and that's not including their different forms. Their constant increasing numbers took away their special quality; it took away the novalty of owning them. I remember playing Pokémon Red when I was younger and felt so cool to be the only one of my friends who had managed to capture Articuno, but as each generation was rolled out I slowly lost the "coolness" of owning such legendary beasts to the extent where I just can't be bothered going after them all and trying to catch them. I tend to just bypass them with a depleted "eh" and focus on training up a Zigzagoon or Pidove for level 100, just for fun.
Bring back their legendary status in Pokémon Y and X. Make them bigger, better, more important to the lore of the world. Make me want to go out and catch them. Decrease them in number, make a few good ones and reserve ideas for future games. They've just lost that "epicosity" that they once had, and it saddens me. Quality, not quantity please.
6. Don't take the 3D for granted
I'm not the biggest fan of 3D as it is, actively avoiding 3D screenings for movies and passing up the opportunity to purchase a 3D TV, but I acknowledge the benefits it brings to visual media. If the last two years of the Nintendo 3DS have told us anything it's that not everyone is a fan. That doesn't mean to say that there should be no 3D elements, that would be insane! Just don't make it important to the overall enjoyment of the game. Use it to hide access to paths that those who don't have the 3D on can't see. If anything, the main pull the 3DS has is the graphical enhancements that come with it over the DS, DS lite and DS XL, and while battles in 3D will be pretty sweet, don't allow it to take away the enjoyment for people who aren't a fan of the 3D effect. After all, there are warnings left, right, and center about taking breaks from the 3D, so having it as a requirement is a no go for me.
7. Abolish hidden moves (HMs)
Hidden Moves have been nothing but a pain since they were introduced to the games in Generation I. Many a time have I stipulated about whether or not I should teach my Pokémon a HM move, such as Cut, over a more favourable move just in order to proceed in the games.Or another scenario is you have to give way a space in your party to the mandatory "HM Slave" just to retain all the Pokémon moves you want but at the cost of valuable team member spot. To be blunt, they're useless and irritating. As of Black and White they were no longer needed to get anywhere in the story, with optional items behind such obstacles as trees or large boulders. Generation V took a step in the right direction with having boulders remain out of your way once you've moved them, but cut trees would still respawn after leaving the route. In the past they were generally used to stop player progression, such as placing a tree outside of Lt Surge's gym to make sure you went aboard the SS Anne in order to beat your rival, meet the ships captain, and them get the HM Cut.
They've now outstayed their welcome. They need to go. There must be other ways in which Nintendo can stop players from wandering off into areas they otherwise shouldn't. Perhaps barricading an area with NPCs, or have road works taking place until a certain task is achieved... okay, maybe I'm clutching at straws. But anything has to be better than the continued use of HMs.
8. Downloadable content
Downloadable content has always been a topic of controversy, often sparking the debate about whether or not developers roll out unfinished games at full retail price, only to roll out further additional content at a price in order to increase profits. While I somewhat agree this has often seemed the case in the past with several other gaming companies, Nintendo seem to advocate free DLC for some of their titles, so maybe the same can be said for Pokémon. I'm not talking big DLC either, perhaps more customisation for characters, additional quests, etc. I wouldn't be against them releasing bigger DLC however, such as a new story to embark on or further character progression.
It's not like this hasn't been done by Nintendo before! There are "event" Pokémon available all the time. Recent examples include Sacred Sword Keldeo and Genesect. Nice little additions but nothing more than novelty, in my opinion. I'd much rather have something of some substance than a Pokémon with a few previously unobtainable moves or a unique ability.
9. Side missions
When I say side missions, I mean more than a few minutes worth of effort. They tried in Black and White, and Black 2 and White 2 but it wasn't executed terribly well. I want missions that require me to find items, to talk to certain people, to catch certain Pokémon with certain types and certain natures. I want real side missions with real rewards. Something more than a Super Potion or the odd max revive. Maybe access to additional, otherwise unobtainable, gyms or locations, uncommon items, access to the rarer Pokémon. With this new generation I kind of want it to go in the direction of the Tales series, where optional side quests won't necessarily mean anything in the long run, but might enhance the enjoyment of the game or the quality of in-game items.
Keys, though not really obtained via side missions but rather completion of the game, were a fantastic idea and are a testament to the kind of rewards I'd like to see. For those unfamiliar these Keys were available in Black 2 and White 2 and allowed access to the ancient chamber in which either Regirock. Regice or Registeel would be waiting. They granted access to an otherwise unreachable area and provide ample reward for those that completed the missions.
10. Co-operative play
I know, a lot of what I've wanted so far has been features touched upon in the Generation V games, but that's because the games were exemplary of what I want future Pokémon can be like. They were good but certainly can be improved upon. Co-operative play was introduced in Black and White via the EntraLink feature. Players could enter each other's worlds by local connection and complete certain missions together. However, for the games to move substantially forward, it needs to be... well, more. Make it a global affair, allow players to communicate by using their microphones or emoticons on screen. Anyone that has played Heroes of Ruin or Animal Crossing should know the kind of global interactivity I want available.
Allow players to train their Pokémon together, in the same game. Swap and trade items on the fly. Use the StreetPass and SpotPass features available on the 3DS. Maybe setting up a Pokémon to trade, and if you pass them in the street you'll get a notification on your 3DS that you passed a person looking for the Pokémon you had on offer and set up a Global Trade System (GTS) negotiation. Privacy is always important, so make it optional. Allow your game to automatically share your Friend Code if you want. Bring the PokéCommunity together.
The 3DS has a lot to offer in terms of co-operative play. Nintendo just need to tap in to it and use it wisely. They developed it, they should know what the system is capable of.
Well, there we are. My personal ten things that I would like to see in the new Pokémon games. What do you think? Do you agree, disagree? Anything that you'd like to add to that list?
Whatever the game brings it will undoubtably be a fun and enjoyable experience, and I look forward to seeing what Generation VI can offer.