Disclaimer: In this article, I will be referring to the new core RPG Pokémon game as Pokémon Switch.
In my own humble opinion, I honestly believe that it’d be best if we don’t see Pokémon Switch release this year in 2018. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited for Pokémon Switch and I cannot wait to have it in my hands. However, I have a few concerns about potentially releasing such an important title so soon.
Pokémon first arrived in the west when I was four years old and I’ve continued to play every generation and every remake of those generations.
I remember taking my dogs for walks and pretending that they were Growlithes. The wonderful thing about Pokémon was always to project yourself onto the main character and imagine that you are exploring all these different worlds with your buddies.
The dream has always been to be able to freely explore a massive open world that is sprawling with Pokémon at every turn and not just pop up in random encounters when you’re in the grass. Sun and Moon took the first step in attempting to realize this, however I feel as though the 3DS hardware held them back. Now that the next iteration is going to be on a home console with a lot more horsepower than Game Freak has ever had to work with, the sky’s the limit!
Game Freak and the Pokémon Company have been very efficient at churning out as many Pokémon games as possible (primarily on the DS and 3DS) and I for one can never get enough Pokémon goodness.
However, this is the first core RPG Pokémon title that can be played on a home console (not including playing the Game Boy titles through Pokémon Stadium), and I for one hope that they knock it out of the park first go.
So I thought that I’d put together a brief rundown as to why I hope Pokémon Switch DOESN’T release in 2018.
Bigger and More Open World
A bigger world for Pokémon Switch seems inevitable with the power of the Switch, but bigger worlds require bigger budgets and a longer development process. Pokémon Sun and Moon took steps in the right direction, but the game still felt linear with the integration of markers on the map, as well as narrow paths that rarely lead to any branching paths. It was ironic that the game that gave you the most freedom in movement was the most linear in the series.
Another issue that could arise from making Pokémon Switch an open world game is level balancing. Pokémon games’ level system works so well because the games are all very linear. Making this work effectively for a Pokémon game is something that would take a long time to put together, but many games in the past decade show that it can be done.
Obviously, the dream is to have a sprawling world to explore with Pokémon everywhere.
Just imagine walking in a forest and seeing bug Pokémon on the ground, some flying Pokémon in trees and a nearby lake with Magikarps and Remoraids swimming about. The idea of playing Pokémon in a living breathing world would be a dream come true, and that type of game just cannot be ready to come out this year.
But perhaps I’m dreaming too big. After all, Game Freak rarely release home console games. In fact, they have only released two HD games this century and both were 2D platformers (Tembo the Badass Elephant and Giga Wrecker). Dreaming of an open world game might be asking a bit too much. That being said, Game Freak could do what Nintendo did for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and get Monolith Soft (developers behind the Xenoblade Chronicles series) to help them create the world. Nintendo knows how much this game means to the success of the Nintendo Switch (I mean, they’ve seen the sales numbers), it’s definitely possible.
Also remember that with the Switch having a right analogue stick, being able to move the camera freely and bask in the beautiful world of Pokémon makes me drool with anticipation.
A True Real Life Experience
The core RPG Pokémon games have always released on handheld consoles, and we’ve all played them and imagined how they would look on a much grander scale.
Pokémon Sun and Moon were a huge step in the right direction, introducing cut scenes with actual camera work and cinematography, but the power of home consoles can bring so much more to the series.
Something else that the Pokémon series has done better with lately have been cutscenes and cinematics. In Pokémon Switch, cutscenes could be played out like the anime and provide us with truly spectacular visuals. If we’re to dream big, we could even get voice acting; Legend of Zelda got that treatment, so why not Pokémon?
Something else that the 3DS Pokémon games introduced to the series was the ability to customize your avatar. It’s a small thing, but it’s a neat feature that can be expanded upon in a home console iteration.
Sun and Moon also tried to introduce side quests that involved short encounters with NPCs who want you to catch a certain Pokémon and show it to them. This got old really quickly and ended up being mundane and something that you’d avoid at all costs (well, it was for me). Having a much more fleshed out side quest system, as well as a quest log, could really open up the potential of this concept on Pokémon Switch.
The Nintendo Switch is a whole new type of console with its own unique features. Game Freak generally attempt to utilize console features to enhance gameplay, so I cannot see why this wouldn’t be the case again.
HD Rumble is an often talked about feature, and with thousands of Pokémon moves in the game, recreating those feelings in the Joy-Cons would be spectacular. However, it might be a bit too much work for them to do something unique for every move, but perhaps just have standard rumbles for most of them and then have specific rumble features for some of the more significant moves could be more likely.
With being able to Share the Joy, this brings a whole new perspective on playing Pokémon. The franchise has always been about bringing people together, so a co-op experience could be a potential road to go down. However, I personally cannot see that working for the core experience, but implementing some multiplayer mini-games would surely be a treat.
Lastly for those who like motion controls, being able to swing the Joy-Cons like you’re throwing a Poké Ball would be kind of cool (but I can see that not being for everyone).
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
Patience is a virtue. Just remember when we were waiting for Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, seeing delay after delay and thinking that it’ll never be released. But now it has, and it’s one of the greatest games to have ever graced a Nintendo console. I just want that same experience with Pokémon Switch, and that takes time.
In an interview with Game Informer, Junichi Masuda (Producer/Director/Composer of the Pokémon series) and Shigeru Ohmori (Director of the Pokémon series) wanted to temper expectations for the new game, so please take all of my hopes that I’ve stated above as ‘pie in the sky’ dreams. That being said, if they simply make a few of these things happen, I think I’ll be a happy gamer and even if it does come out in 2018, I’ll be one of the first fans in line that morning.
But what do you think? Would you prefer to see Pokémon come out in 2018 and let them work on something more ambitious a few years later? Let us know in the comments section below.
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