5 Dream Features Needed for the Core Pokemon RPG on Switch
The very best version, like no version ever was.
An Open World
During Nintendo’s E3 2017 presentation, big N announced that Game Freak is working on a “core Pokemon RPG” for the Nintendo Switch. The Switch Pokemon game will not be the first time that the pocket monsters have landed on a Nintendo home console however. There was Pokemon Stadium 1 and 2 on Nintendo 64, as well as Pokemon Colosseum and Gale of Darkness on Gamecube. This announcement is far more exciting than any previous console entries because of the use of the word “core.” The Switch game will hue closer to the handheld entries than any other console installment.
Unlike any of the previous RPGs for console, handheld games have offered players an expansive world to explore. The Switch game needs to take that idea and expand on it. The Switch should offer a much larger and more open world than has ever been seen before in a mainline Pokemon entry. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild saw great success in taking the standard formula of its series, tweaking it just a bit and rapidly expanding the amount of areas to explore. The Switch Pokemon game should do something similar, keeping the basics of the handheld games but also living up to their full expansive potential.
If Game Freak really wanted to be ambitious, they could go for a full open world experience. Rather than have the game separated into linear chunks, the Switch Pokemon could allow players to access wherever they want in the world from the start. Obviously, like most open worlds, if players go too far into one area they are going to meet some merciless opposition. This could lead into running into gyms or wild Pokemon that are too difficult, but the option to try and fail could be there.
This post was originally authored by Derek Stauffer.
Pokemon Sun and Moon made small but important strides in the ways battles were animated. The trainers standing behind the Pokemon and the unique animations of Z-Moves did wonders to make the standard Pokemon formula feel more alive than ever. Sun and Moon were a step in the right direction but battles still felt like they were being held back due to the limits of the platform. The 3DS can’t handle the entire breadth of motion in a Pokemon battle that has been found in the anime for years. The Switch however could certainly manage.
Pokemon Switch could take the extra steps needed to really inject some excitement to battles. Battles on Switch should have the look of a real fight. When a Pokemon tackles another it should really tackle it, not shake its body wildly in the air right in front of its opponent. The leap in the appearance of battles from the original three games to Pokemon Stadium was a huge one. The leap from 3DS to Switch should be just as momentous.
Full Player Customization
Whether it is on the Switch or not, the Pokemon series needs a deeper level of customization. Sun and Moon added a fair number of options, the main one being to finally allow gamers to choose a skin color for their avatar. Game Freak could and should do more. Despite their eye, hair, or skin color, all player characters had the same dopey, slightly psychopathic, blank stare in the cutscenes. The lack of expression or characterization in player characters’ faces was very disturbing in Sun and Moon, especially when things got very dramatic.
In the Switch game this should be corrected. There should be more options to customize characters. It doesn’t need to be a lot, but players should feel like they are crafting their own characters, not just borrowing a template. Picking an eye color is great but there should also be options for eye shape. The round faces fit Pokemon’s cutesy style but not everyone’s head is a perfect oval or circle shape. There are also more noses than a little adorable little bump. Finally eyeglasses should be an option from the start, not a accessory to be purchased later. With just a little bit more effort, Game Freak could go a long way to making every player’s journey feel that much more personal.
Robust Online Functionality
Nintendo has always had a very minimal online presence, either offering the bare-bones experience or none at all. Pokemon has been leading the charge with Nintendo online gaming for quite some time on handhelds, offering multiplayer before more obvious series received it. The Switch is an opportunity for Game Freak to really take things to the next level and amp up their online functionality beyond just basic matchmaking.
Functionality for leagues should be included. Players should be able to gather their friends or complete strangers together to form their own groups and possibly challenge other leagues. Trainers could even get online to craft and defend their own gyms too.
There could even be a King of the Hill mode with challengers waiting to take down an undefeated champ and spectators getting to watch. The option to create online tournaments should also be added allowing players across the globe to really sort out who is “the very best, like no one ever was.” The competitive scene of Pokemon is surprisingly deep and the Switch version should embrace and add to that idea, aiming to be the main platform on which competitive Pokemon is played.
Multiple Regions to Explore
Every new entry in the Pokemon series, whether it is Sun or Moon or even a spin-off like Pokken introduces a new region. It is expected then that the Switch game will do the same (unless it is just a “Stars” type game). With the new hardware, Game Freak has an opportunity to do something substantial and exciting. The Switch should give Pokemon players access to multiple regions.
The Switch version of Pokemon should use its inevitable new region to connect to the environments of the older games. It has been a very long time since a Pokemon game took place in more than one region (Gold and Silver) and a Switch game could be the chance for it to finally happen again.
In a dream scenario, all of the regions that have been previously introduced to players in the handheld games could be open to exploration on Switch. Players could travel from Kanto to Johto and all the way to Kalos. Switch could not only offer the newest and most advanced Pokemon experience it could offer the ultimate Pokemon experience. We’ll have to just wait and see what Game Freak and Nintendo has in store.