So this will be the start of my “Thinking Out Loud” series of articles. With the recent NX rumors, I started thinking about what I would want from an NX Pokemon game. Of course, it isn’t all that hard considering we’ve already had two examples of a console Pokemon game, albeit not at the same level of quality as their handheld counterparts. They were more like experiments than fully fleshed out Pokemon games. But if the rumors about the NX are true, then a whole assortment of possibilities have appeared.
The first and most obvious difference between a 3DS Pokemon game and an NX Pokemon game would be the graphics. The NVIDIA Tegra X1 matches, if not slightly excedes, the power of the Wii U, and we’ve all seen Xenoblade Chronicles X, Pokken Tournament, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It would be a massive leap in fidelity no matter how you look at it. What they could do is a mix between cel-shading and realistic graphics. Save the realism for the environments and human character models, and use cel-shading on the Pokemon to keep that cartoony look they’ve always had. I don’t need to see every strand of fur on a Pokemon or every scale. I mean don’t get me wrong, it looks fantastic in Pokken, which makes me think that it could work, but I can also guess that most Pokemon fans wouldn’t want that simply because Nintendo isn’t all about graphics and the developers of the Pokemon games have been content up until this point with the graphics style they have going.
At the very least, they could stop using chibi character models when not in battle and transition to realistically proportioned models all of the time. I’d love to see cinematic cutscenes for the story. Bring the Pokemon RPG’s into a more modern style, while still retaining the mechanics and characters that have made it the phenomenon that it is.
Now, this might sound extremely predictable, but I’d love it if for the first NX Pokemon game, they revisited the Kanto region. I realize that people are probably tiring of it by now, but its a classic and you can’t really beat the original 150 Pokemon in terms of nostalgia. Not that the game has to necessarily stop at Kanto. Since Johto is directly connected they could include that and its Pokemon too, just like in the Gold and Silver games. Of course, if they really wanted to challenge themselves they could include Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos, Alola, and all of their respective Pokemon. However, that is far more likely to be a pipe dream considering the amount of time it would take to create each region and model every single Pokemon and character. If they did decide to do it, it would likely start in Kanto and move to Johto. Then the game would “end,” only for the story to continue when the next region is released as DLC.
You’d play as one trainer who starts in Pallet town and travels the world catching all of the Pokemon known to man rather than in just one region. As you move from region to region, you defeat your old rivals and gain new ones, along with the threats in each region from the various organizations and legendary Pokemon. Of course there could be one other trainer who travels from region to region with you as a Pokedex rival rather than a battle rival, though you do battle them from time to time. Basically just take the basic Pokemon story formula and blow it up for a multi-region romp. Would it be a lot of writing? Yeah, but they aren’t strangers to writing a lot of dialogue. The only new wrinkle would potentially be voice acting. Though considering the amount of money that Pokemon brings in and its status as a high profile game, I’m sure they’d have no trouble getting the funding they’d need to do all of this. It’s more a question of how long would it take to get it all done.
As far as I’m aware, each installment in the Pokemon franchise takes approximately two years to develop, and that’s for the 3DS using a graphical style that looks great on a handheld and cuts corners to make 3D development faster. After all, they have to model a massive number of Pokemon now, though that’s mainly for the first game in the generation. After that they can just port the models forward. But we’re making a giant leap from the 3DS to the NX. Porting over 700+ Pokemon isn’t gonna be as easy as it was before. Increased poly counts, higher resolution textures, a much larger game world(Even for just one region), it’s all gonna add onto the development time. One way to offset this is to hire more people, something they probably have the money for, but also something they likely won’t do. So we’re looking at three years, minimum, to develop the first game for NX regardless of which direction they decide to go.
To summarize my hopes for the first NX Pokemon without going through ten more paragraphs:
- Realistic environments and character models(Thought not too realistic for the characters. This is supposed to be a cartoony game after all. Just enough realism to give substantial detail.), but cel-shaded Pokemon.
- Fully voiced cinematic story(Protagonist can still be silent.).
- Multiple regions(At least Kanto if not both Kanto and Johto. Would really love all the regions though that’s probably too much to ask for their first NX title. Though a new region would be good too).
- Seamless battle transitions.
- Older Protagonist(Around 15 - 17.).
- Slightly more mature story. I’m not talking grim dark, or sexy, or anything like that. This is Pokemon. It’s meant to appeal to everyone, not block people out. That being said, they could still dial it up a bit without ruining what Pokemon is. Give the older fans something while still being very much appropriate for younger audiences.
There’s probably more that I could think of if I gave it more time, but with the NX rumors still being fresh I wanted to strike while the iron was hot and spark discussion about what they could do for an NX Pokemon RPG. And so I’ll ask you: What do you want to see from what will likely be the first Eighth Generation Pokemon game? If my thoughts align with yours, what else do you think they could do?