We've recently learned a ton about the future of Pokémon on the Nintendo Switch. We were introduced both to Pokémon Quest and Pokémon Let's Go! Pikachu and Eevee. And as exciting as both those games are, neither are quite the brand new, mainline Pokémon some had hoped for. Don't worry. That's still coming in 2019. But we know nothing about it!
A lot of words have been tapped out on keyboards about what the next generation Pokémon game could be. Some are hopeful for an ambitious adventure that takes the series far and above what it's been in the past. Others hope for a steadfast clinging to classic ideas. Whatever your feelings on what kind of Pokémon this Pokémon Switch should be, there are a few staple features that we can all agree would make a Pokémon game of any kind better. Here are the biggest things we hope to see in the 2019 Pokémon game for Nintendo Switch:
Ever since Generation 2, fans have been clamoring for more than one region in a Pokémon game. The elation we all felt as an NPC accosted us on our way to the Indigo Plateau and told us we had just taken our first steps into Kanto has been a treasured gaming memory for so many people. With a world double the size of what was expected, Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal set a precedent that was, unfortunately, never followed up on.
Some people are sick of Kanto and don't want to see it take precedent as a region to revisit in a new game; others would love to return. I'm not picky about Kanto specifically, but I definitely want to go beyond a typical eight-gym region in Pokémon Switch. Whether that means multiple brand new regions to explore or revisits to multiple classic favorites (Johto, anyone?), there's no denying that single region games have felt too small for a long time.
As much as I love Game Freak, they have an annoying habit of introducing amazing features and then culling them in the next game. Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver iterated on the Pokémon Yellow mechanic surrounding Pikachu by letting the first Pokémon in your party tag along behind your character, pick up items, and communicate with you. It was stinking adorable, and everyone loved it. And it's coming back in Let's Go! Pikachu and Eevee...for two very specific Pokémon.
Follower Pokémon have been on fans' radars for years now, because PokémonAmie just isn't enough. We know the feature is on Game Freak's minds, because follower Pokémon were seemingly in the code for Sun and Moon even if they never appeared in the full game. We need them to make a comeback, more interactive and fun than ever, for this console iteration.
Day, night, weather, and seasons
Another feature that has intermittently been in the Pokémon games and on the cutting room floor has been the use of an in-game clock with different times of day, weather, and seasons. Different combinations of these features have been in Pokémon games before, but there hasn't really been a single game where all the features came together at their absolute best. I'm talking subtle variations on time of day like in Diamond and Pearl, season shifts like in Black and White 2, and weather ala Ruby and Sapphire, but with more variations. Given how many Pokémon exist now that evolve or use interesting moves based on different combinations of all these factors, finally throwing them all into one game would make for some gorgeous and interesting environments as well as some unpredictable Pokémon battles.
Pokémon Sun and Moon took a step backward from the fashionable Alola region with fewer clothing options to customize trainers with. Since we're moving to console now, it'd be amazing to see far more customizations than just clothing and a set pool of hairstyles. Pokémon trainers don't all need to look like tiny, goofy children with no fashion sense. Adding a more robust array of options for body type, height, shape, skin color, hair color and style, and clothing would make the game feel far more like a personal adventure.
Also, can we get some facial expressions on the main character, please? Thanks.
Online, interactive play
More than any other feature, true online, interactive play is both the most desirable and the most reasonable to ask of a game moving from an older handheld to a new console. With online capabilities what they are today, there's no reason at all that we shouldn't be able to meet with our friends in Pokémon Switch, communicate with them, and interact in real time. Pokémon dabbled with this back in FireRed/LeafGreen, but technology has come a long way since then.
Perhaps the biggest reason not to do this from Pokémon and even Nintendo is worried about what children playing the game might be exposed to, but that's nothing some decently robust parental controls can't help alleviate. Impersonal, faceless battling and trading has served us fine for awhile, but a true meeting place for trainers to interact beyond a stiff, formal Festival Plaza has been long overdue.
What do you want to see in Pokémon Switch?
What features are you hoping for in the next mainline Pokémon game coming in 2019? Let me know in the comments!
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