This year marks the twenty year anniversary of the Pokemon series, and there’s a whole lot going on to celebrate it. When Game Freak did not initially announce a new main series Pokemon game, a lot of folks were upset. The idea of getting Pokken Tournament and Detective Pikachu but no 7th gen or Pokemon Z really got under the skin of fans. Of course, now that 7th gen has been announced officially, everyone can go back to being happy and excited about Pokemon 20.
First off, I just want to say that I feel really sorry for Game Freak. The announcement got leaked just before they had the opportunity to unveil the games, and if you watched the Direct, then you know that announcing the title was pretty much all that happened. The leak really stole their thunder, and that’s a bummer. But now we can enjoy the really exciting part – all the speculation about the game.
Today, I’m going to talk about my hopes for the upcoming 7th generation games.
Hope #1: Exploration of Multiple Regions
I think this is a pretty common desire, but it is one that has run in me pretty strong since Gold and Silver. Being able to return to Kanto and see how it has changed was a pretty awesome feature of those games. It gave you a really fulfilling post game experience, as defeating the Kanto gym leaders also enabled you to climb Mt Silver and face off against the player character from the first game.
I’d be cool with another region being available in post game again (perhaps the not-fully-explored Kalos region?), but I think it’d be particularly cool if travel between a couple of different regions was part of the actual story. Speaking of an actual story…
Hope #2: Cool Villains
Lysandre of X and Y wasn’t too bad, but he was the only seriously threatening individual in Team Flare. All of his admins and officials had no personality, nothing unique to say, and no impressive roll in the story. Then there’s ORAS, which has in my opinion the absolute dumbest villains and storyline of any Pokemon game in the series. These doofuses seriously think flooding or drying up the entire planet is a good idea? Seriously?!
I’d be okay with a group of villains who are strongly motivated by a halfway reasonable ethical issue (Team Plasma comes to mind), or villains who could care less about ethics and just want money or power (Team Rocket style). Most important to me though is that there is more than one person who poses a challenge to you as the player. Speaking of challenge…
Hope #3: Difficulty Settings
I understand that Pokemon is a game primarily geared towards kids. But Game Freak knows that there are plenty of older players who enjoy the series too. And it’s a problem that each consecutive generation gets easier and easier. The Elite Four members and random opponents have fewer and fewer Pokemon, Champions fight with the same nonsense strategies as wild Pokemon, and any opponent can be easily overcome by clicking your highest power move over and over again.
Functions like the Battle Maison have shown that the game is capable of having AI opponents who battle in an intelligent, strategic way. I’d like to see a setting where more experienced players can choose to battle opponents of this caliber throughout the game. Naturally, this setting could be chosen at the beginning of the game, and maybe even be an unlockable feature that requires you to beat the game first. It’d be awesome as an experienced Pokemon player to experience a game mode where the gym leaders actually fight like gym leaders and opponents like champions and rivals would be challenging to face. Speaking of rivals…
Hope #4: A Legitimate Rival
If you, like me, grew up one the first two generations of Pokemon, you remember when the rival was someone you legitimately wanted to overcome. Gary and Silver were difficult enemies to face and their grating personalities made you want to defeat them. Compare that the rival characters of the other generations – it seems like each subsequent generation makes these characters more and more friendly towards you. There’s no reason to want to fight them, and their poor battling skills make it even worse.
I’d love to have a rival that makes me want to defeat them. That says stuff like “smell ya later” so I want to sock him or her right in the jaw. I want to feel satisfaction as I knock out their last Pokemon. And I want their team to have a variety of tough Pokemon rather than just three little creatures that cover the grass, fire, and water types, plus something with wings. Speaking of variety…
Hope #5: Lots of Pokemon
Probably my favorite feature of X and Y was that there were tons and tons of Pokemon to catch. Most routes had at least five or six different species, and there were quite a few with ten or more. With so many different Pokemon to catch, I was constantly motivated to explore routes, and even with all of that exploration there were some areas where I still found new Pokemon on subsequent playthroughs.
Then there was ORAS, where it went back to two or three Pokemon on smaller routes and maybe six or seven on a big route. Many of these were repeats and so your Pokemon selection was pretty limited until post game. I don’t want to have to wait until post game to catch something more interesting than Poochyena and Zigzagoon. Incorporating a bunch of Pokemon on each route makes exploring more fun and makes building a team more exciting.
Those are just a few of my hopes for the new generation. I’m sure some of them will be confirmed (and some eliminated as a possibility) in the coming months as more news about these games comes out. What are your hopes for Sun and Moon? Discuss it in the comments and we’ll see who’s right as the time for the 7th generation draws closer and closer!