The Pokemon franchise is arguably one of the most popular and profitable video game franchises ever created. The original handheld games have spawned a variety of sequels and spinoff games that span across various Nintendo systems. Pokemon is a series that not only has a cute charm that draws you in from the many monsters that populate it’s universe, but also some very addictive and appealing characteristics that keeps us all wanting to catch them all again and again.
This is definitely the case with almost every single handheld version of a Pokemon that has been made, whether a cannon game or not. Yet outside of side stories and cliché spinoff titles, Nintendo’s home consoles have never really got a true to roots Pokemon title, one that focuses and enhances some of the better aspects of what made the franchise so popular to begin with.
The first and most important aspect of making a true Pokemon experience on home consoles is by avoiding any liberties other console Pokemon games have done in the past and get back to basics. The original Pokemon games had a lot of elements of traditional JRPGs that were popular at the time, and still have a level of popularity even today. Being able to freely explore and backtrack through a world and discover all of its parts and secrets, having many different regions with different themes or personalities to explore, interacting with all sorts of interesting and dynamic characters.
All of this and more are what helped make some of the most beloved RPGs of all time, as well as what helped make Pokemon grow to gigantic heights in terms of popularity. This has yet to fully be realized because of the stances Nintendo and designers from GAMEFREAK have taken in the past regarding what kind of experience Pokemon has to offer, stating that the game itself is meant to always be taken with you, hence why it was always more suited on a portable platform. And since home consoles can’t be as portable as handhelds, most of the Pokemon titles on those platforms have been limited to off-shoots and non-cannon type of games. This line of thinking is something that needs to be abandoned if we are to have any hope of a true Pokemon game being made for home consoles.
The Pokemon games on handhelds have always had many towns and areas to explore. Usually ranging to about 8 towns to coincide with 8 gym badges to be won, as well as different themed areas to find and capture different species of Pokemon, as well advance the story. Titles like Pokemon Gold/Silver, as well as the remakes released later on, took it a step further by allowing players to revisit the original Kanto region from the first few games in order to win more badges and capture more Pokemon.
As massive as that was back then, once you finished both regions there wasn’t a lot more to do solo other than completing the Pokedex or battling with other players. This is something that be further enhanced through the tools given from a Nintendo home console. Not really limited to the power of what something like the Gameboy or even 3DS may have, creating a game on the Wii or Wii U could allow more content for players to experience that goes way beyond that of the core game from past titles. Having more than two main maps to explore in a Pokemon game has can lead to some very interesting and awesome possibilities.
Imagine being able to win not up to 16 badges, but well over 32 from different areas in different regions each with their own distinct characteristics. This also opens up for even more and longer main story aspects, and even stuff for optional side-content. Having the more powerful platform can help with creating an even bigger Pokemon world or universe that could have players immersed within for months on end. Isn’t that something that we all want when we play any sort of role-playing game?
Pokemon has always had a heavy emphasis on player interaction. Whether it was making players battle one another or trade Pokemon to complete their Pokedex, player interaction is something very important to a core Pokemon experience. With recent releases like Pokemon X/Y, online functionality has become a huge part of the franchise, allowing players to trade and battle with one another from all over the world. And while it was incredible for those titles on the 3DS, it can be even better than anyone can imagine on a platform like Wii U.
Incorporating things like Pokemon Bank, Online Battle and Trading Lobby, and even some of the mini-games from past titles together on a home console could be a hugely popular online experience. With the benefit of Nintendo’s MiiVerse, all of those things can be taken even further giving more ways for players to interact with others, as well as communicate with other past titles in the Pokemon series.
Yet the biggest benefit from this can come in the form of DLC. Unlike the possibilities of what can be done on something like 3DS, being on a console like Wii U can allow for more dynamic new content for gamers to download. Bigger stories, more interesting and event specific Pokemon, and maybe even the possibility for more regions to explore; the possibilities and potential is endless and could be nothing but beneficial to the series.
For more information on Pokemon, feel free to check out both our Pokemon X/Y Review and our Turn Based RPG Podcast on the Present, Past, and Future of Pokemon.
This concludes my article on how Nintendo can create a true Pokemon game for home consoles. What are some things that you would like to see in a Pokemon game made exclusively for the Wii U? Please feel free to let me know in the comments section below.