With the announcement of Pokémon Sun and Moon, I’ve been thinking a lot about the series as a whole. There are many videos out there already on the internet of people speculating about the new iteration of Pokémon: what will the new region be like? What sorts of Pokémon will we discover there? What will the box-art Legendaries look like? How will the Pokémon transferred from Red, Blue and Yellow work in the new games? As I watched these videos, I thought about what I wanted from the new iteration. Pokémon games have a tendency to stick with what works and are slow to change. However, I think that the series should introduce a few changes in order to optimize the formula it has followed these past twenty years (has it really been that long? Makes me feel old!). Here’s a brief list of changes the series should make in Sun and Moon:
• Get rid of HMs. Everyone hates HMs. They take up valuable space in your Pokémon’s move-set since most HMs are poor moves to use in combat. Oftentimes, players will lug around a Pokémon just for it to use HMs to advance their journeys and never actually use that Pokémon in battle, wasting a precious slot in their parties. Instead of HMs, just use common sense. For example, any Pokémon that can fly should be able to ferry you in the air and any Water-type Pokémon should be able to surf. No more HMs, please!
• Have the option to skip tutorials. Whenever you start a new Pokémon game, the player’s friends in their hometown explain basic game mechanics to them whether you want to hear these explanations or not. I’ve been catching Pokémon for eighteen years: I don’t need anyone to show me how to throw a Pokéball! I hope that in Sun and Moon characters will ask you if you want to hear an explanation before they give it to you. The player should have the option to skip all tutorials.
• Have an actual plot. The last time Pokémon had a strong plot was in Black and White. The plot was fairly successful even though it had a few hiccups (you can watch this video in which a YouTube reviewer goes over the plot of Black and White in some detail). X and Y’s plot felt very rushed, especially at the end. The Ruby and Sapphire remakes’ plot was weak. I think that the series should go back and try to place the plot more at the forefront in the new iteration just as it did with Black and White. I hope Nintendo learns from the mistakes they made in Black and White and tries to incorporate a stronger plotline.
• Give us difficulty settings. This series is intended for children so Nintendo won’t make it too difficult in its default settings. However, it would be nice for Nintendo to give players the option to adjust the difficultly when they start a new game. More advanced players could choose to play the game on a higher difficultly setting, increasing the levels of all enemy Pokémon and improving the AI of Trainers and Gym Leaders while less advanced players could experience the game the way it is set now. That should satisfy everyone.
This is just a short list of improvements Nintendo could make and is by no means exhaustive. Whatever decisions Nintendo makes, I’m sure that I’ll enjoy Sun and Moon and I hope you will too.