Pokémon is somewhat of a phenomenon. It seems to be one of the very few RPG games out there that doesn’t evoke a divisive love/hate reaction from its intended audience. I’ve seen many people that are merely tolerant of it, some that are indifferent, and some that love it one day and hate it the next. It is rare that an RPG game can make people grow to love it, and some people grow to hate it after years of fandom. This is no time to weight up the merits and drawbacks of each generation of Pokémon games however: the point is that those who choose to play the games often become extremely passionate about them, even if they grow to dislike the new versions of Pokémon. As a die-hard Red and Blue fan from the beginning, I lost favour with the series, that is until Black and White Version 2 pulled me right back in with extreme force. Now that X and Y are upon us however, I find myself already looking forward to what’s next in the series. HM removal? A dramatic landing on the Wii U? Changes to gameplay mechanics? Here’s just a few things that are expected and/or hoped about Pokémon’s future, which may very well come in the form of Pokemon Plus and Minus.
Next-Gen Mayhem – The Expected
It would be silly to continue without putting a name to the next generation of Pokémon games, wouldn’t it? Well, as most of you probably already know (as it is mentioned above), the rumoured names for the next core-series Pokémon project may very well Pokémon Plus and Pokémon Minus. Most information contained in this article is based on rumour because there really isn’t that much concrete evidence going around as of yet considering how early it is in the year. Here are just a few of the rumours that – for hardcore Pokémon fans at least – fall into the “well, duh!” category.
Now with the exception of a few (Black and White 2 being the most obvious here), it wouldn’t be sensible for there to be this much hype about the next Pokémon games and there not be a new region, would it? As of yet there is no known name for the region, but it is purported to exist in South-East Asia and be comprised of a main peninsula with satellite islands surrounding it. Nothing too exciting or pivotal there, I’m sure you’d agree.
This is another feature that is all but expected of each new core-series game, but which generates a generous portion of the excitement surrounding each new release. The starters may appear as follows:
Water Type: Evolves into a water/steel Pokémon. It is a teardrop-shaped and humanoid in appearance with a jar on its head which grows in size as it evolves, eventually requiring another set of arms to hold it up due to the increased burden of weight.
Fire: Evolves into fire/fairy type. Its appearance is similar to a small goat which is apparently “cute” in appearance and has fire emanating from its horns. It grows more menacing in appearance as it evolves, eventually becoming akin to a hot-rod style being (not my words however: check out the mynintendonews page for the full list of the rumours).
Grass: Will evolve into Grass/Electric type. It may have a leaf for a face and roots for a body, with each component growing more towards the look of a fully-grown tree when it evolves. Its final form could very well possess a flower-head appearance, each petal having a different face.
Another vital component of any game which is expected to offer us some surprises each and every time. Pokémon Plus’ legendary is rumoured to be a Psychic/Ground Pokémon with the appearance akin to a Shi-Foo Lion with multiple faces (this multiple faces thing appears to be a repeated component, perhaps taking away from its credibility).
Pokemon Minus may have a Ghost/Fairy type legendary with just two keyboard-like dashes for eyes and appendages comprised of wind/hurricane/gaseous material.
It has been a long time since Team Rocket were on the scene, and this time around we have what are described in rumours to be Sohei Zealots. This evil organisation are reported to be of the belief that your main rival in the game is a power-possessing figure that only exists every 100 years and is therefore instrumental to their plans. The organisation (as usual) have a fundamentalist view that humans are supposed to be assigned a Pokémon egg, the resulting hatchling of which will be the Pokemon they spend the rest of their lives with; the human’s role is believed inextricably linked to this Pokémon. The organisation’s actions may be tied in with the awakening of the legendary Pokémon through a sacrifice of the ‘chosen person.
As usual there will a variety of different gyms, each possessing their own distinctive style which should ensure that we get an exciting experience with each city and town we visit. As should be expected, each gym leader will specialise in a certain type of Pokémon and the gym’s design and quirks will represent this type. For example, rumour has it that one of the gym leaders will specialise in flying Pokémon which enter into sky battles; the gym is based on a mail system. Others include a gym specialising in fighting with baby Pokémon, another vampire-like leader that uses Ghost/Dark Pokémon, and a military figure that uses fire and steel Pokémon.
Another factor which often dominated talks and rumours of the next Pokémon games is that of Pokémon type. As it stands, there are eighteen Pokémon types, each with their owns strengths and weaknesses against each other. Fairy is the most recent addition (introduced in generation VI) and is a good example of rumours coming to fruition because said type was rumoured long before the release of Pokémon X and Y and wouldn’t you just know it, along came the fairy type.
It would be a little bold for the developers Game Freak (a second-party developer for Nintendo) to introduce a brand new type into the mix so soon after the introduction of fairy into generation VI, but there is rumour of a brand new type that will be similar to the shiny type of Pokémon (a rare type of Pokémon that have monumentally slim odds of showing up in the wild). This new category of Pokémon is rumoured to have quite an effect on the gameplay of the next Pokémon games.
Next-Gen Mayhem – The Unexpected, The Surprising, and the Game-Changers
It isn’t very often that Pokémon gets a significant shake-up year after year; Game Freak have always been the type to implement incremental improvements and add things slowly while keeping the core gameplay the same. There are a few rumours flying about that seem like ideas that would be a little outside of the usual slowly-evolving nature of Pokémon’s change over time, however: here are just a few of these rumours.
HM Be Gone
This one is more of a heavy suggestion from many fans that are hanging around the rumour portals is that the next Pokémon games do away with the HM system. These were a tool for earlier-generation games to restrict your progress and force you to complete a certain section before you could obtain the proper HM that lets you progress to a different section of the map. Generation V saw their position in the game diminish as your progress wasn’t designed to hinge on you teaching your Pokémon the dreaded and un-undoable HMs (Cut, Fly, Surf etc.). Progress is needed, which would involves abolishing these HMs altogether.
Now, this is perhaps one of the biggest and most revolutionary moves that Nintendo/Game Freak have (been rumoured to have) made in the past ten years or so: according to Alexandar J Maier (and information from the Dual Pixels Pokémon Article), the new Pokémon games are going to be released on a new console. This console may not be the Wii U as many had previously thought. This leaves the question of “what console will the new Pokémon games make an appearance on, then?”
The answer to the above question is that it is not yet known for sure, but Nintendo look to be developing a hybrid-like console known as the Nintendo Fusion whose two parts are known as the Nintendo Fusion Terminal and the Nintendo Fusion DS. Both devices look to have quite an impressive hardware setup when compared with the Wii U and original Nintendo Wii, and if the information in Complex’s Nintendo Fusion Article is correct, it may be released in the next few years to beat the next generation of Microsoft and Sony consoles.
What this means for the next generation of Pokémon games is up for speculation at the moment, but it would certainly mean a significant improvement in graphics and the potential for a shake-up of the mechanics for the game. One of the rumours is that the mainland area of the new Pokémon region will be exclusive to the Nintendo Fusion Terminal (yet accessible in both of the games) while the other areas will be under the purview of the Nintendo Fusion DS.
Heaps of Salt
Of course, early-days rumours such as pretty much every bit of “solid” information we have about the next Pokémon games must be taken with generous lashings of high-quality sea salt at this point. Some rumours turn out to be fabrications or wishful thinking, but in the case of Dual Pixels, some of these rumours have in the past proved to be true. A move to a new console is extremely exciting, and the fact that Game Freak were the first to receive the Alpha-Prototype and now the Beta-Prototype hardware from Nintendo is a very promising sign. This hardware could turn out to be the Fusion, or it could be something entirely different, but one thing is for certain: Pokémon’s future is sure to be moulded by the next step Nintendo takes with its hardware, and if the rumours are to be believed, the change is going in the direction of better, not worse.