Since Pokemon first came out in the late 90s, it’s always been something we associated with the handheld the GameBoy and its successors (ie: DS, 3DS). Sure we had some N64, Gamecube, etc titles here and there, but when it came to the CORE games, that was purely a GameBoy/ DS thing. Well, that’s all about the change very soon.
In a recent interview with IGN, Game Freak director Shigeru Ohmori explained that Pokemon has gone as far as it can go on the 3DS.
“With Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, we’ve tried to … really, really push the system to its absolute limits, and we’re now feeling that perhaps this is the maximum of what we can get out. So we’re really treating Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon as the culmination of our work with the 3DS system.”
Now earlier this year at E3, we learned that a core Pokemon game would be coming to the Switch, and it looks like this might indeed be the new home for Pokemon in general. On one hand, this does seem like the end of an error as Pokemon moves to a major console as opposed to a handheld only system. Though considering the Switch is a hybrid system that allows for both handheld play and TV play, this actually seems like the best possible path for this series to take. And as a game itself, this is definitely exciting as all new Pokemon game will (hopefully) have the depth and explorability of console games. Imagine what can be achieved with that much room to play around with.
In another interview with IGN, The Pokemon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara commented that:
“With the Switch, we see it as a chance to create Pokémon that goes deeper and with a higher level of expression. As a result, that makes it an extremely important platform […] Right now we’re using 7 to 8 inch screens, but on a high-definition TV you can express a whole different world with graphics and sound…. Until now, these games were made… for one person, but now you can go home and play with everyone – so how do we tackle these themes, and how do we make sure it’s not complicated?”
Whereas core Pokemon games moving to a new platform is an end of an era, it is the exciting start of a new one that offers greater interaction, multiplayer options and loads of additional content. Who knows, maybe it’ll even have an ACTUAL photo mode like Horizon: Zero Dawn where you can take pictures anywhere in the world at any time. It would be like core Pokemon games were combined with Pokemon Snap. Though with all this room for experimentation, there is something to be wary of.
Going back to the original IGN interview with Game Freak, Ohmori spoke about how they tried to push the 3DS system initially with Pokemon X &Y. And that is true as Pokemon X & Y introduced fully rendered 3D Pokemon for the first time. The only problem is, that’s about it. Pokemon X & Y are usually seen as the worst of the series because even if they upgraded the technology/ look of the game, the game itself was incredibly lacking. The characters were forgettable, the map awkward and worst of all there was no post game content. Even the shift from pixel to animation – the biggest selling point of the game – actually took away a lot of the nostalgia of the series.
Then again, it was followed by the Generation 3 remakes Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire. So what does this tell us? Well, it could mean the first Pokemon game for a new system will always be a little weird if it changes up the base format a lot. Then again, perhaps it just means that updating an established series is best when it’s a story you’re already familiar with. While X&Y – and even Sun & Moon – seemed like incomplete games, Pokemon ORAS was the highlight of the 3DS years thus far. From improving upon a known story to adding tons of bonus content, Game Freak can learn a lot about what to do from this game.
Will the Switch Pokemon game be a fully realized Gen 1 game? Will we get the Gen 4 remake? Will it be something completely new? Personally I want it to be a Gen 1 remake – focus more on established events and less Pokemon to really grow the overworld/ interface of the game. But what do you think? Sound off in the comments below!
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Joe primarily covers video games news (i.e.: Pokemon, Spyro & Destiny) as well as the occasional ‘Theory Thursday’ pieces. Before writing for FanFest, Joe was the Creator & Editor of TheInsightfulPanda.com. He is also an illustrator and is currently working on Season 3 of his not-for-profit, fan-art crossover series PokéRangers on Instagram.