It’s hard to believe that Pokémon is now over 25 years-old. Since it’s inception in 1996, the multi-media franchise has seemingly dominated the globe with its video games, hit anime tv series, feature films, trading cards, toys, and an untold amount of other merchandise. Its mascot, Pikachu, is comparable to video gaming icons such as Nintendo’s own Super Mario as one of the most recognizable and believed fictional characters around. For Pokémon, the world is its (cl)oyster.
Pokémon has come a long way since its humble beginnings, and while the people in charge have been historically reluctant to change (at least with their video games), in recent years they have been much more open to evolving the pocket monster catching experience.
On August 8th, The Pokémon Company premiered a lengthy digital direct showcasing much of the new material coming to fans in the next several months (you can read all about it in this handy recap), in particular Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
With Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, fans are getting Switch remakes of games that originally released on the Nintendo DS way back in 2006. The Pokemon franchise is no stranger to such remakes, and it’s great that these classic games are getting a fresh coat of paint on top of becoming available to a modern day audience. Many fans however are upset with the revised chibi artstyle that, while inspired by the original handheld graphics, leans far more on the “cute” side than most other titles. Although opinions vary, one poll has 30% of contributors stating that they expect more from a Switch title, which is certainly a heavy amount.
While some fans are upset with the art direction, the Pokémon games are undoubtedly showing signs of improving gameplay. Fans have clamored for an open world setting in the Pokémon series for over a decade now, and it’s uplifting to see the developers listen to this significant fan request in the most recent entries. Despite all of its issues, Sword and Shield’s open world area was a delight to explore, and was an impressive first step into this format. Pokémon Legends: Arceus looks to improve upon this ten-fold, and deliver one of the most unique Pokémon experiences to date. Even Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will offer an open world area as an added feature to these remakes, which makes them all the more exciting to dive back into.
Of course there’s more on offer than just these three games. The Pokemon Company is steadily producing even more content for the franchise, in particular the strategic battle game Pokemon Unite, the augmented reality title Pokemon Go, and puzzle games such as Pokemon Cafe. All of these types of games makes the Pokemon franchise one of the most diverse in gaming, and it literally offers something for everyone.
With all that being said, are you satisfied in the direction The Pokémon Company is headed with the series? Is Pokémon Legends: Arceus offering enough of a new experience to excite you, or are you disappointed that it’s not pushing the envelope even further? What is your opinion of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, both in terms of its graphics and its gameplay? What does your dream Pokémon game look like, and, realistically, how likely is it that that game will come about? I’d love to know your thoughts about the future of Pokémon!