I haven’t really been into Pokémon since Gen 2 (and haven’t played since 3). But there’s a certain feeling I recall from those days spent chasing monsters and I wanted to capture that feeling. Enter Kreechr Kechrz [Working Title], the game we’re making this time.
To start off, maybe a little explanation. Kreechr Kechrz is the title for a hypothetical Pokémon (sorta) clone for Android that my brother and I brainstormed almost a decade ago (for Android 2.1- Froyo).
I wrote about it in an EXTREMELY loooong post about Pokémon a while back. But since then I’ve made some new Kreechr designs, colored them in, and elaborated on the ideas further. So consider this the “real” post, but if you’d like to read the original (brevity-starved) one- or see some of the original designs in pencil- it’s here:
Now, since the original post, Pokémon Go has EXPLODED the Play Store with Pokémon games. Most are terrible, a bunch are secretly viruses, lots are Go clones, a few have good ratings, and one (EvoCreo) is genuinely its own thing. It’s also close enough in some areas that I had to rethink making this post.
EvoCreo is pretty good, to be honest. Its focus is on battling, however, and the graphics are (pretty) 2D sprites. So I’m comfortable with the goals for Kreechr Kechrz.
One last thing before we begin: I am not an artist. I’ll admit most of the doodles looked good (to me) when inked/colored, but close inspection will reveal how shitty it all is. So...yeah.
[BTW, I’m not secretly fishing for compliments- if you like my doodles, thank you. Truly. I’m just worried that someone with real artistic talent could read this, and all they’ll see are perspective issues, amateur mistakes, and some truly egregious proportion issues.]
So here are the broadstrokes (until I get super specific, probably with story details): There are initially 2 continents. There are 300 Kreechrz (again, initially).
Kreechrz don’t “evolve”, they possess “Digital-DNA”. This means they “update”- functionally the same, but whatevz- and a goal is to not include the hardware updates as a separate creature.
Oh! I specified hardware updates. That’s because our move-learning mechanic (ie: TM/HM) works by giving Kreechrz software updates.
Some Kreechrz have different appearances based on sex, some don’t, and others don’t even HAVE a gender. But none of that means they’re separate Kreechrz (no male/female Nidoran bullshit).
As of right now, the types are: Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, Ice, Electromagnetic, Metal, Plant, Mind, & Magic. There are 10 “Element Masters” (funtionally Gym Leaders) who each bestow knowledge of mastery over their respective element when beat. Defeating all ten makes the player a “Kreechr Master”.
But the Element Masters are not the main story. The game isn’t about being the very best, like no one ever was. To “kech” them is NOT the test, updating not the cause.
Your father works for Giovanni Corp, the largest MegaCorporation in a world ruled by them. In the past couple weeks, he’s become more and more paranoid. It’s obvious that he has learned something important and it’s put him in danger- recently he disappeared after a break-in.
You, as his child and only family member (mom died) suspect GioCorp and its CEO to be involved in some capacity, but it’ll take some digging to figure out how.
That’s where the real story will lie. Uncovering what happened to your dad and exposing/taking down GioCorp. Imagine a story where Team Rocket succeeded- THAT’S the world of Kreechr Kechrz.
We shoot for a T rating, but aren’t beholden. The story/writing/humor should be a little mature, but I’m afraid that if we aim for M it will devolve into f-bombs and “edgy” shock-humor. I want the game to be fun and funny, but without plunging into self-aware parody.
I have no idea about the map. I know the initial release is 2 continents (like how Pokémon G/S/C contains Jhoto & Kanto), followed by another in an update. I know I want cities, towns, and a variety of wilderness areas.
But I have no clue what those continents or areas look like. So if anyone likes to doodle maps, we can chat in the comments. :)
Battles definitely aren’t my thing. I have certain visual ideas, most of the UI, and I can riff different attacks. But mechanics? Not my thing. Obviously it’s like Pokémon, but does anyone (other than Bulbapedia editors) actually know what that MEANS?
Having mentioned my battle mechanic deficiency, it may surprise you to learn that bonding with your Kreechrz plays a larger role than usual Pokémon games. There’s grooming and parks, you can keep a Kreechr out of its Pen and interact with it.
The stronger the bond, the faster the Kreechr grows, the stronger it gets, and the likelihood of it disobeying decreases. These are your friends, your companions. They have their own personalities. I want that to mean something.
Remember the episode of the Pokémon anime where Ash grapples with Charmeleon evolving? Or the one with Pikachu and the same debate? I want that.
Maybe your Kreechr doesn’t want to update. Or maybe it can’t wait. Maybe updating sees its fears subside, or maybe it becomes a jerk. Your interactions/treatment will definitely affect these things, but some of it is ingrained nature.
Ok, let’s get into some visual & UI ideas since I brought it up.
Here are two gifs about battles. The first is an idea I had since inception- the Idle Bay:
See, since the game has always been full 3D, it would look dope if the camera was constantly circling the two battling Kreechrz.
Don’t worry if you’re prone to motion sickness, it won’t be as fast as the above gif, and there will be some close up shots cut in. But the main point is we take advantage of the 3D space/models.
There’s no need for static cameras like Pokémon games of old, this isn’t a Kevin Smith movie. So if the player just idled in battle, their phone would still look like an awesome action flick.
So you choose “Tackle”, what happens? Well, the camera goes behind your Kreechr and we get a Gears of War type “Roadie Run”:
I figure each attack will have a sweet camera move for it. But then again, maybe I find out it’s not logistically possible to do. But at least I can share the goal. (Another goal? Camera swoops when talking to NPCs)
I also have an idea for counter moves during battle- a brief quick-time event that, if successful, reduces the amount of damage taken. Observe:
The number of buttons to press- and the duration they’re on-screen- is dependent on both the level of the enemy you face and your bond with your creature. I mean Kreechr.
Ok then! Let’s talk about the VERY beginning.
You just downloaded the game from the App/Play/Microsoft Store. You boot it up, skip the opening scene we worked on, and tap “New Game”. Now what? Are we greeted by a knowledgeable professor? Not quite yet! Here’s the first thing you see:
Don’t worry, it’s not that you pick an adult or sexualized/oddly developed child. The proportional figures are how you appear in battles/cutscenes while the chibi models are how you appear in the overworld. There was always something fun about seeing my character shrink in Pokémon- really made me feel like I was entering a new world.
Why yes, that IS Yoga pants, Ugg boots, and lipstick. “Quick” just randomly picks skin tone, features, and accessories for those who don’t like customizing character.
But if you’re like me, and will spend more time making a character than playing a game, here’s how Custom goes:
The left and right are extreme light/dark. The top and bottom rows are on shades for foundation.
Also keep in mind, this is designed for a touch-screen.
The “Features” button should be clear, but “Accessories” includes both things like jewelry AND clothing. I didn’t have the patience fully draw all the features or any accessories (because touchscreen drawing sucks), but you’ll get the point.
Those buttons are self-explanatory. Let’s tap on eyes.
I rushed through making the tabs, which is why the eye color button is an afterthought and the “adjust” tab is prominent and unnecessary.
So yeah. You pick your features, pick your clothes, pick accessories (but not your nose! Oh wait...no, you pick that too). No option is gender specific. Like Saints Row, every selection is available regardless.
Players should be able to make whatever character they wish. It’s your adventure, play as whoever you want.
So the character has been made and named with a PGP picked out and everything. The character shrinks, the opening cutscene starts, and the adventure begins.
We see the close, loving relationship between you and your father. Time passes. We see late nights of your dad working on something at home. Visual storytelling shows that you’re birthday is coming soon, and you’ll be old enough to become a Kechr.
On your birthday, you come home to find the house broken into and ransacked with no trace of your dad anywhere. Despite the mess, it’s obvious your father set up for a surprise party- with streamers and balloons strewn about.
The police arrive, but don’t find any clues. They promise to be in contact with you if they learn anything and leave. Upset and dejected, you sit on your father’s chair at his desk. You hear a *click* and a drawer opens with a gift wrapped box inside, addressed to you.
In the present is a mysterious flash drive, but it’s encrypted...
Perplexed, you visit your neighbor, Punnen Tendid. She’s the local professor (most towns and cities have one) and after giving you condolences (cuz Dad) and congrats (cuz Kechr) you ask if she can decrypt the flash drive. She tries, but doesn’t have the necessary equipment. So she asks if you would be willing to visit the electronic store in the next town over.
Before you leave, she stops you. Can’t go into the wild without a Kreechr! That’s when Professor Punnen introduces you to a very rare Kreechr species she’s been studying. One of my absolute favorite Kreechrz yet, our Eevee:
See, this Kreechr is unique. It’s not born with a firmware (type). Many Kreechrz can receive firmware updates or additions (making water/earth or magic/plant, for instance) but no known Kreechrz are born without ANY firmware.
The professor tells you that she found 4 of these [Currently Unnamed] Kreechrz, abandoned. She suspects that its hardware updates will be shaped by whatever firmware it receives. As a Kechr, you can decide what type it will be, and the professor gives you three options: Water, Fire, or Plant?
After choosing, you see its colors change to reflect its new firmware (its hair poof also changes slightly, vaguely resembling flames, waves, or a leaf).
I didn’t have time to fix, ink, and color the updates, but here’s the original doodle:
After you have your starting Kreechr, Professor Punnen Tendid gives you 5 KiloHeals and sends you on your way.
As you leave town, you notice a shady figure scoping out the lab...
Anyway, you go to the next town, get the part, and bring it back- having learned the ropes a bit.
Sadly, the new parts don’t work for the professor because the mysterious flash drive has an ultra level MacGuffin encryption.
She says she has a colleague in [Unnamed Big City] who might know how to crack it, but warns that the road ahead can be perilous for Kechrz who AREN’T on dangerous mystery missions. So she gives you 10 base-level Captcha Pens (Pokéballs).
And that’s where the adventure begins!
Along the way you’ll unravel the mystery of what happened to your dad, become a Kreechr Master, deal with a rival who stole one of the other starting Kreechrz and a firmware. Oh, and you’ll meet this Kreechr (far left):
There is a group of these Kreechrz fighting GioCorp for performing experiments on their young ones. Being psychic (Magic) the leader talks to you to ask for help. If you agree, xe (they’re asexually reproductive, genderless Kreechrz) joins your party- though it doesn’t count against your Kreechr limit and xe doesn’t enter a Captcha Pen.
Successfully help the Kreechr free xyr young ones, you’ll be allowed add one to your party. Basically, you get an Abra for helping an Alakazam.
I think that’s everything. Wow, this was longer than expected.
If, for some reason, you’re curious about the pricing model for this totally hypothetical game, check the linked post.
Other than that, what do you think? Would you play this game? Do you have any ideas or suggestions? How about ideas for a DIFFERENT game? Leave a comment!
(Seriously! Did you read it all? Does it sound good? Terrible? Should I kill this dream? Let me know your thoughts!)