Eight Changes I’d Like To See In A Pokémon Reboot (part 1)

Hey there Brothers and Sisters, welcome back to PixelEight! I did mention that I was working on another DOOM list, but seeing as it’s going to include information from the original DOOM and DOOM II, I figured I’d wait a while and replay those games before doing my wrote up. i always prefer to have first hand information, rather than rely on wikis and strategy guides.

This week however, YouTuber Lockstin released Part 3 of this epic Pokémon Reboot Super Theory, and guess what? I helped provide a significant amount of the religious research that was in this video. So while the idea of a Pokémon reboot has been on my mind, I got to thinking about what sorts of changes I would like to see in a rebooted Pokémon game. While there were a lot of topics I wanted to cover, I’ve managed to cut them down to just eight, partially by combining three topics into one, but really who’s counting? Right

Ahem.

Anyway, I’m not going to waffle on any longer, as this is a pretty long article. So without further ado, in no particular order, these are Eight Things I’d Like To See In A Rebooted Pokémon! (Part 1)…

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I suppose it’s somewhat of a given in this day and age, that huge adventure games have to be open world. The Witcher and Skyrim are prime examples of this, and even Legend of Zelda is ditching it’s methodical dungeon crawl for more range and exploration.

Just last week Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara, was quoted saying:

The Nintendo NX is trying to change the concept of what it means to be a home console device or a hand-held device. We will make games for the NX.

Now we don’t know for certain that this means that The Pokémon Company will be bringing their main series of Pokémon games to the Nintendo NX, or whether this is addressing the rumours that have been going around that Creatures Inc. and Pokémon Company have been pulling away from Nintendo and looking to produce for other systems. If however, the NX is indeed going to serve as both a handheld and a home console that has the power to run a game like Breath of the Wild, it seems more than likely that if a the main series of Pokémon games were to come to the NX, then they would be massively overhauled for a full console release, adding credence to the reboot theory.

If Pokémon were to get a console level reboot, then there’s no doubt in my mind that they would go the route of open world. It only makes sense, especially when you consider some of the hints that have been dropped in other Pokémon Media, like Pokémon Origins for example, which clearly shows that despite tackling Gyms in a particular order in the games, Brock is only using his weaker Pokémon against Red because he doesn’t have any badges yet. If this is carried over to the new games, it could mean that Gyms will be approachable in any order, scaling based on your abilities, or maybe not at all.

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What do I mean by not at all? Ever since the Pokémon Advanced Generation, the anime has been introducing us to characters who travel with Ash, who simply don’t care about Gym Battles and the Pokémon League. As the series went on, more and more ways to train and flaunt your Pokémon have been introduced, and while some made it to the games, they’ve never been more than a minigame, while the main plot maintains a strong linear focus on the Gym battles and the Pokémon League.

In an open world game where a player can travel anywhere, the idea that the Pokémon League is the only way to finish the game, is incredibly outdated. Really the focus of the game would have to be the main story, defeating Team Rocket or what-have-you, then EVERYTHING else, is secondary. That means Gyms and the League would be just as important as the Competitions and the Grand Festival.

Training Pokémon is supposed to build a strong bond, and help you understand how your Pokémon think and feel, just as much as them understanding what you want from them. It’s a partnership, and the game could demonstrate that by introducing new ways to train your Pokémon more directly. There should be side quests, challenges and trials, that aid your Pokémon’s growth in the direction you want them to progress, so whether or not you want to fight or look your best is up to you, and how you train your Pokémon should reflect that!

Then add more of the side games like Pokéathlon, Pokémon races, Battle Frontier and competitive mini games like Bug Catching and Fishing competitions. Who knows, maybe even throw in a camera?

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Speaking of better ways to train your Pokémon, the Leveling, Moves and TM/HM systems need a massive overhaul in my opinion. I was originally going to do these elements separately, but seeing as they all tie into one another, I collapsed four topics into one, and opened up some space for other entries int his list.

Leveling

If there is something that I’ve grown to dislike about some games, it’s how they clutch tightly to certain gaming conventions that stifle immersion. In my opinion, leveling is one of those conventions. An appealing aspect of the anime which has never translated to the games, is the idea that you never stop training with your Pokémon, and it’s a system that could be easily implemented into the games, by removing levels and adapting the Effort Values system, or EVs for short. You can find a full explanation of Effort Values here.

If an EV like system determined your Pokémon’s stats directly, then training a Pokémon could be far more dynamic, if implemented well, allowing you to not only raise stats, but lower them also. Even during battle you may see a “Spd+” or “Att+” notification pop up, allowing you to keep track of your Pokémon’s stats at any given time. This sort of direct stat leveling, could be achieved through battling and training minigames, similar to Super Training but a bit more advanced and designed for specific training regiments.

Without levels, Pokémon would would need a different metric to determine when they will evolve, and that could be based on the Pokémon’s stat points total. Once the total number of stat points reaches a certain threshold, the Pokémon will evolve, receiving a stat-boost across the board, with additional point delivered into stats effected by their natures.

Move Sets

Seeing as levels are off the table, a Pokémon won’t be able to learn new moves by leveling. So instead, training new moves would become a function of the Pokémon Menu, PokéGear or possibly the Pokédex. When you catch a new Pokémon, you would receive an update stating that “Basic Training” has become available for that Pokémon. This update will be all the Basic Moves that a Pokémon can learn, and can be switched anytime you are in a Pokémon Centre.  No need for the moves tutor, and no more accidentally deleting moves you wanted, it’s all there in the one place.

This system isn’t entirely without leveling, as the moves themselves will improve the more you use them, becoming more effective until they max out at Level 5. I don’t want to make it too hard, but I also would want each new move and level to feel like a real achievement. Once you progress a move to Level 5, “Advanced Training” unlocks and you see a move training tree like this, (And yes, I did use a number of moves from the TCG to bolster this list):

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As you max out moves, new ones become available to learn. However, just because your Bulbasaur knows Leaf Storm, doesn’t mean you can’t also use Leaf Boomerang, all unlocked skills can be equipped. When a new move unlocks they will be at Level 0, or “Untrained”. In this state the move only does half the damage of it’s base level. Once it hits Level 1 it will be “Learned” and will be fully usable. Move trees won’t be the same for all Pokémon who start with Leaf Boomerang, for example. Snivy may have “Leaf Blade”, “Leaf Guard” and “Triple Cutter” instead.

As you can see I also added a new move to that list called Lunatic Leaf, this is a new Final Move. These appear at the end of some move trees. To unlock this move, you need to learn all prerequisites, in this case Magical Leaf and Leaf Storm, and then complete a challenge minigame, like Super Training but specific to the move. Once you complete the minigame, the Final Move will be unlocked at max level. This was mostly inspired by Pikachu pushing himself and learning Volt Tackle, and I wanted to include moments like that in the move progression system.

TMs and HMs

Even assuming that a Pokémon has learned every move in all their move trees, they may still be missing moves that they can learn. This is where TM’s come in. In this version TM stands for Training Manual, and are bought from respective Typed Gyms. Gyms are supposed to be a place where people train Pokémon, but instead it’s a single battle with the leader and you have no reason to ever go back. So lets use them for training, to me this makes much more sense!

Back to TMs, when you train a Pokémon using a TM, you don’t unlock a move tree, just the move itself. These are not moves learned naturally, but through intense training. Some TMs may still have prerequisites, for example, Thunder Fang may require either a low level electric attack, or bite.

Finally HMs. To hell with HMs. Nearlly all of these moves will still be in the game, but as naturally learned moves or TMs, and none of them would be required to progress through the game’s story. If you want to explore and do side quests and discover secret areas, that’s when these and many other moves will be come invaluable on the overworld. Certain HM abilities may be included as Key Items or possibly “Field moves” where necessary, that have no impact on any of your perfectly trained Pokémon’s move sets.

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I did say that I didn’t want the Gyms to be the main focus of the games anymore, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to see a much wider variety of Gyms in the new games. Just in case anyone missed my insinuation above, I am saying that there should be a gym for EVERY Type, but how can you fit EIGHTEEN gyms into a single region? You can either scale up the size of the regions, or you include multiple regions in a single game. We already know that Kanto and Johto are right next to one another, it would make sense that future games, include multiple regions, because the NX will be able to handle much larger games than what we have had so far in Pokémon.

If there is a reboot coming, it would make perfect sense, to start with Kanto and Johto in a single game, as both region’s Gyms grant you admittance to the Indigo Plateau. Multiple regions, as a part of the same League. Thus it would make sense to be able to spread out the Gyms across the both of these regions. In addition, the Sevii Islands could be included to find some rare or foreign Pokémon, and maybe the Orange Islands could get their video game debut as more of a challenge based region, like in the anime and similarly to how Alola is looking to be.

It would also be important that they didn’t spend too much time trying to recap older games however, so having multiple regions per game, gets them out of the way, while introducing new content. Starting with Kanto and Johto, with a possible third or fourth region to the north, locations we’ve never seen before, would be a good move. DLC content for this game could also be utilised to reintroduce Hoenn and Sinnoh, as they too are near Kanto and Johto, but offshore from the mainland. Unova seems to be pretty far away from Kalos and Alola, which would make it difficult to include them together. However including one of these regions, plus another one or two new regions means the games would be giving players something brand new to explore, with something familar just around the corner. Just like the Gold and Silver reveal that you’ve been right next to Kanto the entire time.

And Finally…

Woah, this list is getting long and I’m only half way through! I’m going to call this one quits for now. As you can see I’ve put a lot of thought into this topic, as a huge fan of Pokémon, the last thing I want is to see the games continue down this unchanging path. A reboot would be a perfect opportunity to make some much needed changes, to shake up the system and get more people interested in the franchise again!

EDIT: Part two is now out and you can read the final four entries in this article RIGHT HERE!

Until then,

Peace and High Scores!