Another day, another announcement about the upcoming Pokemon games! I know I’ve been off the grid for awhile – between house-hunting, my son’s birthday, and other concerns it has been difficulty to focus on blogging. But I wanted to take today to type my reactions to the latest bit of news about Pokemon’s seventh generation.
What is most certainly the biggest news about the trailer is the reveal of the two legendary Pokemon. So let’s talk about these creatures and what we now know about them.
The legendary of Pokemon Sun is Solgaleo, a lion Pokemon whose typing honestly surprised me a bit. I was definitely expecting a Fire type for Pokemon Sun, but what we’re actually looking at is Psychic/Steel. This is a pretty solid typing – Steel and Psychic protect each other pretty well. Solgaleo’s ability is revealed to be Full Metal Body, and we get to see the affects of it in the video. When Solgaleo faces off against a Salamence, the Intimidate ability does not work. Now there are two other abilities that function similarly – White Smoke and Clear Body. Clear Body is a little better than White Smoke, though, and that makes me wonder if perhaps this Full Metal Body ability will be even better than Clear Body. Solgaleo’s unique move is called Sunsteel Strike. The Pokemon leaps up into the air and descends upon the foe to strike with incredible power. This is most likely a Steel-type move. The cool thing about it is revealed on the Pokemon website – Sunsteel Strike ignores the target’s ability when striking. Now I’m not sure if that means it only works when calculating damage, or if it actually shuts off the ability for the duration of the battle, but either way it’s pretty cool. Other information on the website talks about Solgaleo’s role as the sun’s emissary, and that Solgaleo is the “beast that devours the sun.” Now you folks know I am a Zero Escape fan, so the imagery of a lion eating the sun is pretty familiar to me. I decided two games with that imagery is a bit too much of a coincidence not to research, and it turns out that the image of a lion devouring the sun is actually a common symbol in alchemy. Now there are debates about whether the lion eating the sun is intended to apply to physical alchemy or philosophical alchemy, but if the latter is true then it would fit quite well with the fact that Solgaleo is a psychic type. Or maybe it’s both, since this Pokemon’s secondary typing is steel. It’ll be interesting to see if the concept of alchemy influences other parts of the game as well.
The legendary Pokemon of Pokemon Moon is Lunala, a bat Pokemon with wings that create the silhouette of the moon. Lunala’s typing is really neat, but also really unfortunate. As a Psychic/Ghost Pokemon, Lunala has a four-times weakness to both Dark and Ghost types. This is somewhat mitigated by Lunala’s ability, Shadow Shield, which reduces the damage from attacks that hit Lunala when it is at full health. Lunala’s special move is called Moongeist Beam, and this is the animation we saw in the previous trailer of the Pokemon charging a laser in the sky and then firing it downwards. The attack is shown to be super-effective against Gengar, but of course since both Psychic and Ghost would be effective that bit of info doesn’t really narrow the move’s typing. My guess, though, is that the move is ghost type. The word “geist” in the name suggests as much, plus the fact that Solgaleo’s special move fits his secondary typing rather than his primary psychic typing. Like Sunsteel Strike, this move ignores the target’s ability when it strikes. Where Solgaleo is the emissary of the sun, Lunala is the emissary of the moon. It is referred to as “the beast that calls the moon” and apparently absorbs light constantly to grow stronger. When it attacks with Moongeist Beam, Lunala’s head glows with a third eye. The third eye is a pretty common image associated with spirituality and extrasensory perception, and is the sign of a highly developed and disciplined mind.
The shared Psychic primary typing of these two legendaries is certainly interesting, as well as the similarities in their designs. Both have a sort of black “screen” (for lack of a better term) on their foreheads. These screens glow brightly with a symbol whenever the legends perform their special moves. The symbols are different, but the fact that both legends have them definitely suggests some sort of special connection. Combine this with the fact that both legendaries have some kind of reference to the mind (alchemy with Solgaleo and spiritualism with Lunala) and it is quite possible that these legendaries are going to be more philosophical in nature. I’m definitely intrigued by what these details could mean for the game’s story.
The video only gives us a few glimpes of Alola in-game, but we do get to see a mighty nice map showing that Alola is going to consist of four natural islands, and a smaller man-made one. The video also only shows a tiny bit of the new characters we’ll be meeting, but luckily the Pokemon website has a lot more to reveal. The Professor, Kukui, is apparently a huge move enthusiast, and sometimes he allows himself to be hit directly by Pokemon moves. Kukui has an assistant named Lillie, a girl dressed in white who doesn’t enjoy battling but loves to read. The fact that the website says she “devours” books and then that her role in the story is important, it makes me think that this young intellectual has some kind of connection to the legendaries. Assuming my theory about a mind or philosophy theme holds water. We also get to officially meet Hau, the “rival” for Sun and Moon. He apparently loves an Alola treat called malasada as much as he loves Pokemon, and he journeys around looking for malasada shops. Malasada is a popular treat in Hawaii made of deep-fried dough covered in powdered sugar.
The final bit of info we get from the video is about the Pokedex. In Sun and Moon, your trainer receives a highly advanced Pokedex that serves as the body for a new Rotom form. A Rotom actually resides in your Pokedex, enabling the device to talk to you and to have a distinct personality. The Pokemon website elaborates on this, explaining that your Pokedex listens to your conversations and actually helps you figure out where to go next. This is a cool mechanic for players who may have a hard time navigating the game world.
Now while that’s the last bit of info from the video, there’s one more new feature that is spoken of exclusively on the website: Pokemon QR codes! The world of Sun and Moon is full of these suckers, and you can scan them for information about Pokemon, including where they live. This allows you to locate Pokemon that you haven’t actually met yet so you can look for them later. You can also share the QR codes with other players, so your friends can help you meet Pokemon that you haven’t caught yet. This is a cool twist that I’m sure will add to the exploration aspect of the game – you’ll want to examine every newspaper and random grocery store product you can find so you can learn all about the new Pokemon of Alola.
That’s all the big news for the time being, but it’s some pretty cool news! I’m getting more excited for this game the more I learn about it. Now, the conversation turns to you, adventurers. What are your thoughts on the latest news? What are your theories for the upcoming game? Feel free to discuss it in the comments, and the next time news is revealed you can bet I’ll be back to talk about it.