May 17, 2015

No seasons in Kalos... yet?

Personally, I loved the seasons in generation V. 

They added further replay value (the main one was the sheer number of new pokemon to try out and build your team with), since they only changed once per month.

Similar to the day/night-cycle it's a really nice touch that makes the region feel more alive.

Unfortunately, just like with the absence of the daily cycle in generation III (just after being introduced the generation before), the seasons have not returned for generation VI.

If you've travelled through Kalos in XY, you probably noticed 2 things regarding seasons:
  • well, there aren't any obviously. The places are all aesthetically/thematically locked, like in every game besides BW/BW2
  • there is parts of Kalos that feel like they embody a specific season nonetheless

And upon closer inspection, they even seem to be oriented in correct order, going clockwise around the region, just like the general progress of the story is headed.

Of course there is exceptions (the most summer-like town is probably Kiloude in the far south, and Snowbelle likely being snowy only due to the Abomasnows living there rather than the climate), but overall it is an interesting case nonetheless.

It makes me wonder... what if seasons were actually planned to be in XY, but put aside in order to hold the visual diversity of the region in place for the initial gen VI games? And if they were, could it be that this is something Gamefreak intended to deal with properly for the sequels, when they have time for details like these?

Their forms being dependant on seasons, Deerling and Sawsbucks got completely ignored too of course, but they could have been retconned to work like the Burmy forms if Kalos is meant to be fixed this way (so finishing a battle in the snowy places would change it to its Winter-form)... the fact they weren't handled this way could be a hint that Kalos is getting seasons in the sequels though.

However, given that this would be quite a bit of work for a rather minor and mostly aesthetical feature, the more realistic expectation is that we won't be seeing the season mechanic again for now (and if it means the developing time will be well spent on other things, like a whole new second half of the region popping up, or an amazing Battle Frontier etc., it will barely bother anyone).

But if they did decide to go down that route, reintroducing seasons in follow-up games could become a tradition, and a permanent solution to the unclear future of this game-mechanic.

May 01, 2015

Revisiting Kanto

Most fans assume the next set of "remakes" will be DP-remakes.

Time for a reality-check

Back when Red & Green were remade in the form of Fire Red & Leaf Green, RG were 8 years old. But those remakes are now 11 years old, meaning that the first remakes of the first games are the most outdated games ocne again LOL. So it's getting more and more absurd as this chain continues. Not to mention that generation 1 has the most nostalgia-milking value and would easily generate more profit than DP-remakes would.

Therefore, I think that a Kanto revisit is inevitable and probably coming earlier than any 4th generation remake.

Not this generation though (as XY-sequels are coming next to finish it, and because Kalos has enough generation-1 fanservice as it is), but perhaps after generation VII kicks off (maybe before that if they wanted generation 6 to stick around another year while making use of the 20th anniversary).

So this post is about how I would want a Kanto revisit handled, when it does come.

Remakes of remakes?

The concept sounds very depserate and uninspired. I was already hoping with ORAS that Gamefreak would not limit themselves as much as the previous remakes, but they decided to stick to the originals way too much for my taste, while throwing the Mega-evolution plot into the mix (kind of a contradiction).

With a Kanto revisit however, the chances of them considering to actually shake things around a bit should be quite higher, because they would have more justification for making such a game than if they seriously just remade a game that was already remade once before with a bunch of Megas thrown into the mix but otherwise no major overhaul.

So a new game featuring Kanto should take a lot more liberties than any remake we've seen before, or even be a proper sequel (like Black 2 and White 2).

Personally, I'd love to see a hybrid. On one side, it would be a retelling of RG, but approaching every part from scratch, ignoring any and all inconsistencies with the originals that might pop-up.

So while the overall map of the region would stay nearly identical, with perhaps a few new places showing up, the detailed designs of locations would be completely fresh. Making use of the newest graphics available, Cities/Towns would be redesigned, Routes and dungeons reinvented from scratch (Mt.Moon with a spiral design and an explorable summit, the Power-Plant like a maze explored from a personal perspective like Glittering Cave, Cerulean cave turning into the deepest and most diverse dungeon of any Pokemon game etc..), or places added that didn't even exist (an explorable volcano-dunegon on Cinabar, which would give not only the Slugma family a legit home, but finally also for Moltres).

Gold&Silver were basically direct sequels to Red&Green

There were originally 190 Pokémon designed for Red&Green, but a bunch of them were taken out and saved for the chance that the games become popular and sequels would be made (and yes they were all icnluded in generation 2 afterwards). So Gold and Silver were a direct tie-in that was meant to complement everything that generation I did. It was that region right next to Kanto, which is why it's Pokémon are still mostly the same, while the newer ones are more like exotic rarer species that you have to look harder for (at night, on trees, as swarms, by evolving old ones, breeding etc..).

Why am I bringing this up you might wonder.

Because considering the nature of generation 2, it would make perfect sense to integrate the neighbouring region of Johto into a Kanto-revisiting game, but this time with IT as the post-game region (rather than the other way around in GSC/HGSS).

So for example we find out that some generation 2 Pokemon were not just showing up in Kanto too, but sometimes even exclusive to Kanto (Houndour/Murkrow/Slugma..), so why not make use of these "updates" (it even adds a few Dark types to the regionaldex, which is nice considering that even Fairies would be present).

Kantodex 2.0

This isn't actually that important, as the Regionaldex might as well just be the nationaldex order with all of the cross-gen evolutions thrown in (FRLG completely kept them out for consistency, HGSS had a few of them that they couldn't keep out, but by ORAS, they simply included ALL the relevant cross-gen evos into the Hoenndex, so it's a given they'd all be in there from the start this time), but I enjoyed reordering a special Kantodex that included all gen I+II pokemon with the cross-gen evolutions in an order following the adventure more closely, less randomly all while attempting to stick similar or related Pokémon together where possible.

Gym-Leaders involved in the plot

The franchise has started to flesh out important characters and make them involved in the plot regarding legendaries and villains, so naturally that is one aspect that would also be brought into these hypothetical games.

Some Gym-Leaders, E4-members would be joining in different parts of the Rocket-plot, while others would show up for other occasions. For example there could be a whole episode (akin to Delta episode in ORAS) dedicated about the origin of Mewtwo, and naturally Blaine and Giovanni would be involved in it. There could be a side-quest explaining Porygons existence too.

Mega Evolutions obviously

Looking at the amount of Kanto Megas introduced in XY and surprisingly even a few classic ones in ORAS, one wonders... is there even enough iconic Kanto/Johto Pokémon with Mega-potential left for a set of games set in those regions?

Some examples of Kanto/Johto Pokémon with Mega potential
Surprisingly, yes there are. There is Raichu, the final evolution of the franchises mascot, which still for some reason hasn't gotten a Mega yet, there is the original pseudo-legendary, Dragonite, which would be used for this opportunity the same way Gamefreak jumped on Salamence and Metagross for ORAS.

And if Mega evolution was mostly held off for the post-game, there won't ever be a more fitting moment for the Johto starters to join Kanto and Hoenn starters in the Mega department.

Cherry on top
Possible post-gameMegas
for important characters

After all this, adding a few noteworthy extras for the post-game, like Gym-Leader rematches (with Mega evolutions) in the good old Battle Dojo, making the S.S. Anne return after the credits as some kind of Battle-facility, and the aforementioned Origin Episode about Mew and Mewtwo, Johto legendaries (with the GS mascots both requiring their trio to unlock their dungeon respectively for once, and a Celebi encounter).. would probably make these games a huge success and a blast for EVERY variety of the Pokéfan in existence.

In conclusion

After thinking about this matter so thoroughly, I've grown to love the idea, and would be quite disappointed if next year we'd bear witness to an announcement of Re-remakes that turns out to be the same old copy&paste approach as the previous times....