There have been rumors of a Kanto reboot for the upcoming Pokemon game on Nintendo Switch. At first, I wasn’t very fond of the idea, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like it might actually be a great idea.
It’s true that there would be a nostalgic element to it, which is pretty obvious. While Kanto may have been done pretty heavily in Pokemon, it’s been a long while since the Kanto region appeared in a Pokemon game. It last appeared in a 4th gen game as a post game area, and it hasn’t been a central focus since 3rd gen, and right now, we’re moving on to the 8th gen. Therefore, while Kanto may be heavily represented, it hasn’t been overplayed in recent times. There might be some merit to returning to the region if there were some way to represent it that hasn’t been done in a long time.
A recent interview revealed that there was a pokemon that was scrapped before the release of Pokemon Red and Green, which was intended as an evolution to Raichu. It would have been called Gorochu, and it would have had fangs and horns. Not only that, it got into the original design concept for Pikachu, which was originally intended to be a squirrel pokemon that resembled a daifuku bun with ears.
Sometimes, game developers share their thought processes for character designs after a game is released. But this information comes so far after the release of the original games and is so specific to their iconic mascot, there might just be something to their decision to share it, especially considering just how tight-lipped they’ve been about characters that didn’t make it into the game.
If GameFreak were to make a new Pokemon game rebooting the Kanto region, what’s an obvious way to make it interesting? By using ideas that were considered for the original game, but might not have made it. There are quite a few elements that were considered for the original games that didn’t make it to the final version, and here are just a few we know about:
- There were originally intended to be as many as 190 pokemon in the original games. When Red and Green were released, they had only 151 of those pokemon, with some of those pokemon included in the Gold and Silver versions, and we know of Gorochu as a pokemon that hasn’t been included in a game, yet.
- There was originally intended to be a plotline putting trainers that were kind to their pokemon against the ones that were harsh. The harsh trainers carried whips on them. While the plotline wasn’t included, the sprite art for some characters in the final games still depicted them with whips, including Tamers, Team Rocket, and even the gym leader Sabrina.
- Early art revealed a slightly different roster of gym leaders, with a young boy being pictured before Brock, and Giovanni being excluded from the roster. This boy may have been the original gym leader of Viridian City.
- Data for Pokemon Red and Green contained trainer data for Professor Oak that wasn’t used in the final version of the game. His pokemon were top-tier, and their levels were high, suggesting that he may have been available to battle right after the champion. In the final games, he does appear in the champion room, but not as a trainer you can battle.
On top of this, there are new regions and game mechanics that can be used to make the game more interesting. In terms of gameplay mechanics, mega evolutions and Z moves are already a part of the more recent games. For new areas to explore, the last Kanto remakes included new areas called the Sevii Islands. Not only that, there’s the fact that Johto is located right next to Kanto that can make it a convenient inclusion.
Considering all this, there is certainly plenty that GameFreak can do with a Kanto reboot that would keep it interesting. The nostalgic elements would appeal to those who remember the original games, and might even draw some old players back in. The inclusion of elements that weren’t a part of the original games would guarantee that everyone playing the game would have something new to do.
Of course, it’s possible that the upcoming Pokemon game for Switch won’t be a reboot. It seems sensible for a new Pokemon game on new hardware to offer a new region with new pokemon, as has always been the case until now. One way or the other, it might not be a bad idea to avoid getting one’s hopes up for a certain outcome. Whatever it is that GameFreak ends up doing, they’d likely do it after carefully considering how they could give us the most interesting experience.
Having said that, Gorochu sounds like an interesting concept.