5 Things That Would Make Pokémon Switch Awesome
By Pat Lunn
As we head into March, it’s less than four weeks till we get a brand new Pokémon game... sort of. Detective Pikachu will be our first, and probably only, Pokémon game of 2018 and while I’m excited to see what it adds to the franchise, as well as get my hands on that beautiful Pokémon 3DS, I’m more interested in the future of the mainline games.
At last year’s E3 we got a quick clip from the Pokémon Company's Tsunekazu Ishihara saying Game Freak was working on Pokémon for the Switch and since then there as been little more than whispers on winds of the internet. However, I think that might change soon.
Whether it’s with the release of Detective Pikachu, at E3, or even another surprise Nintendo Direct, I’m fairly certain that we’ll be hearing about Pokémon for the Switch in the next few months. Which brings me to today’s topic: there’s been a lot of innovation for the series over the last two generations (click here to see my thoughts on the changes to the game’s opening section), but what would make Pokémon on the Switch truly amazing?
Number 1: Exploration In A 3D Environment
With games like Monster Hunter World and Final Fantasy XV exploring the concept of marrying traditional JRPGs with modern gaming, there has been a growing trend to bring more action into turn based games. I don’t want Pokémon to turn into a platformer or a hack ’n’ slash, but I would like to see some sort of exploration element. It would be great if we got the ability to climb cliff-faces, with the small chance of placing our hands on a disgruntled Nosepass or Geodude. I’d love to climb trees and see a group of Pidgey fighting over a twig and then choose to battle them. Pokémon was originally based on the joy of bug collecting, and I think exploring in a three-dimensional space could give us a new take on that.
Number 2: Wow Factor
Imagine you are hiking over a vast mountain range towards the end of the game. You reach the peak and see the lair of the legendary Pokémon you must face. For argument's sake, let’s say it’s Groudon. Imagine seeing a huge volcano beneath you, lava pouring out of it into the valley beneath. You take a few steps and the earth begins to shake, the rock beneath your character moves and you must complete a quick-time event to stay safe. You relax and look out at a colossal red, black and gold creature looming over the countryside. There are Skarmory and Fearow flying away, and you even see the few residents of this area escaping using their Pokémon. They flee from the danger. You take a minute, then charge towards it. This is everything I want from a Pokémon game. If Nintendo and GameFreak can find a way to give it this ‘David vs Goliath’ feel, then it’ll go a long way to being one of the greatest titles in the series.
Number 3: Voice Acting
This might seem a small thing but how many of us have enjoyed the weird and wonderful dialogue from the residents of the various towns we’ve come across. I would love to hear different accents from the north to the south of the new region, and finally get ‘the talk’ from whichever tree-based Pokémon Professor we get in this game. This would enhance the narrative and really pull people into the world of Pokémon. Extra points if they can get any voice actors from the anime to make an appearance.
Number 4: Bring Companion Pokémon Back
Ride Pokémon seem to be becoming a permanent fixture in the series, removing the tiring HM slaves from everyone’s party, but I want to take it a step further. I want companion Pokémon from Heart Gold and Soul Silver to make a return. A Pokémon who stays out of the Pokéball and travels by your side, just like Ash and his Pikachu. Depending on which Pokémon you had as your companion, and what badges you've obtained, you could customise them and give them abilities. So, that Growlithe you love could help track rare Pokémon for you, and it’s mane could be shaped into an epic mohawk.
Number 5: Cross-play With Pokémon Go
I think it’s fair to say that since the first generation there hasn’t been a success quite like Pokémon Go. Kids love it, adults love it, and it has been a massive win for the series. Personally, I would like to combine this with companion Pokémon and be able to have my favourite party member join me in the real world (a little like that Pokémon step counter that came with Heart Gold and Soul Silver). But failing that, it would be cool to send items between games, maybe if you catch a Mankey on Switch, then you could send some Mankey candy to your phone. I don’t even know if this is possible, but looking at the likes of Labo and the Switch itself, the impossible has never stopped Nintendo before.
Whether Game Freak decide to go down any of these routes, or try for something completely different, I have no doubt that the future is bright for Pokémon. I would love to hear what you guys think, so feel free to comment below or drop a tweet to us on Twitter and give us your wish list for the new Pokémon games. Do you want it to stay top-down in the overworld? Do we need the elite four? What gen 8 Pokémon would you love to see? Let us know!
Pat has a background in both pop culture and gaming, having studied creative writing with a focus on comic book script. His introduction to gaming was through a GameBoy Color, alongside his first and favourite game to this day, Pokémon Blue.