It’s been a few hours since the reveal of the upcoming installments of the Pokémon series, Scarlet and Violet. I think that’s enough time to allow what I’ve seen to congeal in my mind, and develop a non-hot-take opinion.
For one thing, it’s obvious that expansive areas with gorgeous scenery is going to be the way forward for the Pokémon franchise. Things tended towards that direction since Sword and Shield, and Legends: Arceus took it much further. While Legends has a very Breath of the Wild look to it, I’m interested in whether Game Freak will take that style of play and give it a voice more it’s own.
It seems like open-world adventures is going to be the direction that more games go in, which Skyrim did a lot to pioneer, and Breath of the Wild did a lot to popularize. I’ve been wanting to see Pokémon games like this since the Gold and Silver days, as I’ve considered the follow-route-to-destination formula to be a tad on-the-rails, and not really living up to the potential of a grand adventure in the great outdoors that a Pokémon journey can easily be imagined to be.
I’m also noticing that Pokémon games are now showing more realistic architecture in its settings, and I know I’m not the only person who appreciates this. I remember a time when Pokémon games largely just featured a bunch of large boxes, many of them without doors, and what of them that had doors usually just had them facing one direction. I also remember a time when Pokémon had no dynamic camera, and this was often the case even though the hardware running the games was capable of this. Link could run around Hyrule with a dynamic camera in Ocarina of Time in 1998, and playing Pokémon Colosseum on GameCube, I wondered whether Game Freak would get around to making a Pokémon game with a dynamic camera.
I’m liking that Pokémon are shown wandering about like they do in Legends: Arceus. But that also comes with a concern: Are the upcoming Pokémon games going to have much about them that differentiates them from Pokémon Legends? I beat the main story and post-game in Pokémon Legends, and I’m kind-of concerned that Scarlet and Violet might just provide more of the same experience. While that’s to be expected from a new game in nearly any series (not just Pokémon), Pokémon Legends is still new, and Scarlet and Violet come out later in the same year! Considering that Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl were released a few months ago, I can understand if some of the die-hards would like to take a break for a little while.
But as for the Pokémon, I’m noticing that the only new Pokémon that were shown were the starters. I know that Pokémon games are getting to be challenging to make in such a way that they include all (or even most) of the many characters that have been developed up to this point. So, I’m wondering whether Game Freak is deciding to keep the number of new Pokémon low, and focus more on developing other areas of the game, and choosing from among the many designs from earlier games.
As for the starters:
At first, I thought they looked goofy. But since then, they’ve grown on me. But among the three, I still haven’t decided which is my favorite. Knowing as little as I do about them, I’d probably go with the duck, then the cat second. If I knew what their evolved forms look like before playing, that might play a factor in my decision.
Now for the player character:
Sorry, but he just looks boring. I do like the bucket hat, which is very practical for one who plans to spend a lot of time in the sun. But a shirt and tie? That makes him look more like he’s ready to spend 8 hours in the office. That blank, unemotive expression doesn’t help much, either. This is one character that would benefit from some customization options. Is the girl character going to have more personality?
So far, from what I’ve seen, I’m actually not terribly excited. There’s likely going to be a lot more to show in the months to come, and hopefully, that will do a lot more to stoke interest from gamers who are probably still busy with Game Freak’s most recent offering.
- Expansive wild areas, showing that Game Freak is serious about implementing these in their games,
- The familiar Pokémon are a welcome sight,
- The new region is simply beautiful, and reminds me of a Mediterranean setting. Perhaps Greece, Italy, or Spain?
- The starters look kinda silly, but they’re not off-putting,
- The dullest-looking main character I’ve ever seen.
What I’d like to see:
- More human characters, particularly a more interesting main character,
- The return of game mechanics that players liked, such as Mega Evolutions. Even Z-moves would be welcome,
- More details about the adventure, such as important locations, characters, and opponents.
Because Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are being developed in-house by Game Freak, the team who made Pokémon Legends: Arceus, it’s likely that these upcoming games are going to have a whole lot of heart. I’m looking forward to seeing more in the months ahead.