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Thoughts on the future of the series.(kinda-ok very-long read)

Discussion in 'Orange Islands' started by Fawfulmk-II, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. Fawfulmk-II

    Fawfulmk-II

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    well, this section is about general pokemon series discussion i guess I'm fine so here I go.

    Recently, I have been wondering about the future of the Pokemon games. Maybe it's because of all the episodes of Zero Punctuation and Extra Credits I've been watching recently, but I worry about this series. Now there is no denying these games are addictive and fun, but once you get that little bit out of the way, the Pokemon series has been suffering from a fear of progression in the core gameplay fundamentals, especially compared to other Major Nintendo series.


    Allow me to explain. With the Mario series, a common criticism is that the main story is always the same basic Mario(Popeye) must save Peach(olive oil) from Bowser(Bluto) ploy, however no one plays this series for the story-they come for the unique gameplay and innovative stages and features that it brings to itself and the medium, from scrolling screens to playing with gravity and motion controls. (Recent games have been having issues with advancing the medium, but that's a story for another topic.) Zelda has fairly good stories(not OH MY GOD, but still great), but again, one of the things that makes it great lies in the sense of exploration and adventure, and the deceptively easy puzzles that make you feel like you'll never beat it, then take a moment of pause and see the solution was in front of you the whole time.


    Metroid takes the best of both worlds-the platforming of Mario and the exploration of Zelda-but gets a step above by integrating the story and narrative with the game so the player sees it happening- you are there in Super Metroid seeing the theft of the infant, forcing your return to a fallen world that has you interacting with creatures that help you, you see yourself fighting an unstoppable bieng, only then to see that who you pursue save you and tragically die in the process. You are there in Metroid Prime, wandering through the remains of Tallon, learning the history of the Chozo and their downfall. You are experiencing the immense fear in Fusion, being pursued by a foe far beyond you that you must grow stronger to defeat. This is why many complained about the Other M game-it removed the sense of discovery by giving you everything, and reduced the story role to hours of cutscenes, a la Metal Gear. But that type of story just doesn't work for a series like Metroid, as we have seen in that game.


    Now with Pokemon, it seems like a reverse Mario-the story has gotten much better over the years, but the gameplay has been left the same to stagnate. I mean let us look at the story-it went from a child on an adventure to become the best trainer in the world while fighting a criminal group, to the story of a newer generation seeking the same goals in an older changed world, to a superhero-esque plot where you must stop 2 warring factions who seek to destroy the world with their actions, to the story of a struggle against a man who despises the flaws of humanity and seeks to make the world anew, to the story of a tortured child manipulated by a blind truth to believing the only way to bring balance and peace is to recreate everything with his ideal way. But outside of these baby steps, the main niche of “hunt down a bunch of creatures, explore a linear path that leads to battles against 8 dudes, then beat 4 more dudes and some super trainer and win” has never changed in the last 15 years.


    Now you may argue that there have been changes over the years-the day/night cycle, the introduction of items, abilities, genders, IVs, and EVs, the Physical/special split, the Dream world- but it still never advanced the core, like how Mario bros 3 added a mapway with houses and the like, or Link to the Past integrating 2 parallel worlds to solve the ultimate journey. These are added to advance the post game to appease the competitive scene, which is fine and all, but in the end most of them aren't even playing the main game proper-they just use new games for reference to add additions to simulators, where a majority of competitive play takes place. The reason why the original Pokemon games were so widely praised was because they redefined the handheld RPG-they introduced the concept of exploration and team structure while incorporating a system that made an interactive experience for multiple people and a sense of a journey. this is why the first 5 games have 10s from IGN(seriously, look it up), because it brought something new at the time.
    But then....they stopped. They resigned to the ”if it ain't broke, don't fix it” mentality, not advancing the formula that they made. Ironically, most of the spinoffs-Mystery Dungeon with the challenging roguelike mentality, Pokemon Snap with a new take on searching for the beasts for something other then combat, and Pokemon Conquest with a new take on how to strategically use your monsters outside of the whole “define EVs & IVs, see it's coverage, and exploit abilities/STAB moves” strategy we've had since gen 3. why not find ways to incorporate these these into the core rather then keep them aside from the core gameplay? I mean you even seperated the advancinly better story from the main meat of the gameplay, as all the major features in Gen 5 happen post game instead of during.


    Now you may argue that the point of pokemon is the sense of collection and completion. Well, I think that them has been abandoned for quite some time. Now Pokemon isn't about finding all themysterious beings anymore,but moreso collecting troops of various types for an immense army to assist you in the long run and variously switching between them. This is why some characters like Pikachu and Jigglypuff have decreased in popularity, because while having one is cool in the cuteness factor, they are useless in the long run because they bring nothing useful to the mian goal of having a complete team. Getting the Ultra rare stuff isn't as interesting as it used to be, since 4 out of 5 times they are illegal to use online and in some certain spots in-game, so they mostly sit in PC boxes as trophies never to be used. There isn't even much will to try and “Catch them all” anymore, because either they are pointless to obtain(seriously,would you even bother with Luvdisc if it didn't give Heart scales?), or we resigned to the inevitability that we will never own them all, as more are always added. I mean hell, they even use that slogan anymore.


    So what do I want? Well, I would like to see them try to incorporate a system similar to modern Open-world games like GTA or Skyrim. Make it feel like we really are in a huge expansive world of discovery and mystery, and give us freedom of what to do. This is supposed to be an expansive world, so why does it feel like there is less freedom to explore then Zelda or Metroid? Why not give us the option of being like someone from Snap, rather then collecting them we take pictures, possibly to be integrated in a way to effect the immense world? Why not give the strategist who likes team management but doesn't want to go badge hunting the option to craft a masterful team with out the Level limitations, possibly with a challenge tower to appease them(maybe with some roguelike elements)? Why not give people who like just collecting them for contests or films the options to just explore those options as well aside from the main quest? Many have requested that they make an MMORPG of Pokemon, but I feel they should establish an open area of travel and freedom first.


    It seems ironic in a way that a series about growth and evolution seems to never evolve itself(excluding spinoffs). Once again, I want it known that the series is by no means terrible(Pokemon White is probably one of my 5 favorite DS games I own, along with TWEWY, Canvas Curse, Elite Beat Agents, and Bowser's Inside Story) but it doesn't change that the formula has gotten stale and flawed over the years. So this is where I turn to you all-what do you believe the series needs to have happen to gain a healthier future?
  2. alkinesthetase

    alkinesthetase <@dtc> every day with alk is a bad day
    is a Smogon IRC SOp Alumnus

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    woo another big ass post for a thread with a big ass OP

    i'm not sure what part of pokemon you're talking about, but i think i understand the gist of your statement. in my opinion there are 3 basic dimensions in which pokemon can hope to innovate:

    1: mechanics. probably the thing that needs the least changing. in fact i would say that this should not be changed any further. the physical/special split was the last big thing the game really needed imo. the whole debacle over arceus's EVs was relevant but minor and BW fixed that as well. the belief that a game's mechanics need to change to shake up the game is, in my opinion, very very flawed. games such as pokemon conquest are spinoffs for a reason. they depart too far from the series to be considered a part of it. attempting to integrate such mechanics into the main series destroys the significance of a series even existing. the mario games are not really a series anymore if you ask me. there have been so many spinoffs that even the basic elements of a 2d platformer have been stretched in all directions; the only thing they have in common is a little red plumber named mario. pokemon's core games form a series primarily because their mechanics are being inherited, and because they change so little.

    2: story. i think pokemon has actually made huge strides here. i thought BW's story was really quite a big step from those of the past. it's nothing groundbreaking, but i found it way more interesting. not much to say here, this part is too subjective to really explain.

    3: perhaps the thing that has the most argument to be discussed, how the game uses the mechanics to form a play experience. you are right that the formula of 8 gyms and the elite four has never changed. i think there is room to elaborate here. however, it's important to remember how broad pokemon is beyond the main storyline. the battle tower has been around since like gen 3 or something (it's been years since i played ruby, i can't remember). all of these things provide alternate experiences. pokemon is also trying to diversify by adding in things like the pokewood tournaments.

    it's my opinion that category 3 is both the easiest thing to change, and yet also the least relevant. for comparison i will reference the new skyrim DLC, hearthfire, that is basically about creating a home and living life as a skyrim protagonist, moving past all the hack and slash. many people have praised skyrim for offering a broader experience, for creating a more complete world. however many people have also criticized the creation of this DLC because they JUST DON'T CARE. they didn't come to skyrim for the house making, they came for the hack n slashing. i agree that things like hearthfire are a great way for gaming to innovate and evolve, but i also feel some tragedy in them, in that right now, they are a lost cause: people talk a lot about the openness of the world they're looking for, but in the end what they really want is more stuff to hack and slash. not everyone is looking for a new gaming experience. some people ARE looking for something new, but now we have to ask: can we really combine these two disparate experiences together? maybe the answer is no. maybe those people won't be able to get their fix of sims in skyrim.

    i think the same thing is true for pokemon, and that's why i doubt the main series will, or should change significantly. things like pokewood are fun diversions but ultimately most people play the pokemon games because they wanna beat the 8 gyms and become the very best, the best there ever was. as you play the games again you start to explore more diversions like nuzlockes and the challenges being discussed here in OI. but that's not what people usually look at when they're first introduced to the game of pokemon. what they want, what they expect, is the original pokemon experience. for better or worse, that inertia defines pokemon, and to change it greatly would not accomplish much. call of duty offers all kinds of game modes, but in the end all of them involve fps play, they involve picking up a virtual gun and shooting at virtual people. pokemon, at least in the main series, is the same. you can battle under many many contexts: competitive metagames like we do on smogon, mindless in game runs where you blast burn everything with your leve 75 charizard!1!one, crazy in game challenges like nuzlockes and scrambles, postgame stuff like the battle subway, but in the end it's all gonna be pokemon battles.

    what i think pokemon would benefit the most from right now are more spinoffs. more crazy and random combinations like conquest that use the general concepts of pokemon in hitherto unexplored ways. from the very beginning you know not to expect the usual pokemon gaming experience when you pick those spinoffs up, so they're a good place to experiment. but the main series needs to stay the way it is. it's a series because it has retained so much between generations. you can't mix those external concepts into the main series because that's two games in one, and smashing two games together just makes them both suffer.

    i will also add one more thing, possibly the most important thing: i find it extremely extremely off-base to say that a game is flawed just because it keeps doing the same thing. innovation has a place in gaming, but that doesn't mean that gaming will worsen if it doesn't constantly innovate. i guess the best way to say this is that gameplay does not worsen over time. if you keep using the same gameplay concepts over and over again, they don't go bad, they don't expire, they don't get moldy or break down. it's code and code doesn't decay. it doesn't get old. the claim that "if you keep doing the same thing, the whole gaming industry suffers" is what's flawed. the reason games keep doing the same thing is because that's what people buy! and we buy it because we enjoy it. people will not repeatedly pay for something that doesn't repeatedly pay off. there's nothing wrong with that. if we still enjoy it, the gameplay must still be desirable for us. does that mean that there's no room to find new things to enjoy? of course not. but what it does mean is that we shouldn't be sweeping away the old stuff in the process. "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is the RIGHT mentality. pokemon gameplay is not broken, so it doesn't need fixing. there is room to create new pokemon gameplay, but that is a different question altogether.
  3. Manveru123

    Manveru123

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    Pokemon is not made with competitive players in mind. Target audience are kids. If the game changes too much and becomes too complicated as a result, sales will drop. As long as the game keeps disappearing from shelves in stores quickly after release, they will probably not see much point in changing anything relevant.

    Personally what I'd love to see in the future games is a proper challenge mode (not the higher levels and some stronger moves crap), and possibly some tweaks to reduce the impact luck has on these games. Call me old fashioned but I don't really want any other changes.
  4. Pika25

    Pika25

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    That's why they have a checks-and-balances system. The point of the badges, besides allowing access to the League, is the level threshold they provide for the so-called outsiders, that is, Pokémon that do not belong to their registered original trainer, identified by name, gender (since Crystal), ID, and SID (since gen 3). If an outsider's level exceeds this threshold, they have a chance of disobeying their current trainer. If a level 75 Charizard, let alone one that knew Blast Burn, belonged to a registered OT that didn't even earn his first badge, then it must have been: 1. traded to another trainer who taught it Blast Burn and traded back, and 2. level-farmed from 5 (assuming it was his starter) to 75, and item 2 takes a boatload of time to accomplish, especially for the OT. If, on the other hand, the level 75 Charizard didn't belong to its registered OT, it may simply disobey its current trainer up until the point where he earns the badge that increases his level threshold to at least 75. The C/B system was integrated into the in-game mechanics starting in gen 1, in fear that an overleveled outsider like the Charizard would clear the whole game easily. The one loophole in this system could easily have been exploited in gen 1 via a series of glitches (read: level 100 Mew/Gengar/Venusaur/etc). The first of these glitches (often called the trainer-fly or Mew glitch) involves actually generating and catching a level 1 Pokémon within such an evolution line (by Growling six times against the foe with the required special, be it trainer-owned or wild), and the second (experience underflow glitch) allows them to reach level 100 after just one battle. Later gens fixed both of these glitches and thus closed this loophole. Another glitch in gen 1 that was fixed in later games: the accuracy glitch, where even moves that claimed to have 100% accuracy (even the infamous Swift) actually had a 1/256 chance to miss the foe, assuming no accuracy or evasion modifiers, and one X Accuracy made even the OHKO moves (Fissure, Guillotine and Horn Drill) a sure hit against anyone that said move had a chance to hit; in the case of the OHKO moves, anyone who wasn't faster and wasn't immune to that move's type. (Speed was changed to level for those three moves starting in gen 2.)

    Of course, with each passing generation comes its own set of glitches. Remember the tweaking glitch in DP that allowed a user access to anywhere in Sinnoh, including the Darkrai, Shaymin, and Arceus events? The Sky Drop glitch in BW1 that led to the banning of said move on random WiFi? Come gen 6 and beyond, those game testers had better report any glitches that do occur by combining newly introduced elements, such as moves, items, abilities, or terrain, with (possibly) old, to be fixed by Game Freak.
  5. alkinesthetase

    alkinesthetase <@dtc> every day with alk is a bad day
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    okay it was just meant to be a joking stereotypical example of a six year old obsessed with his/her charizard =P i had in mind some crazy ass kid who would sit in front of his gba playing fire red for hours, training his charizard on victory road so he could boast to his neighbor about how "MY CHARIZARD IS LEVEL 75 WHAT'S YOURS HUH HUH" obviously nobody in their right mind would actually do that if they just wanted to make a quick run of in game... but those six year olds be crazy

    oh and if it needs to be said, i agree that new games should keep fixing mechanical glitches, yes. stuff like arceus's EVs, or the sky drop glitch, those things are mechanics that should NOT be carried forward. i think that kind of goes without saying though?
  6. Jellicent

    Jellicent ~the spirit who loves spirits~
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    What the series really needs is something that triggers emotion. The first game was amazing because everything was just so new. The entire world was a mystery that you slowly uncovered more of, and damn was it amazing. The second generation offered a new region to explore: yeah, there was that feeling of mystery, but hey, you had already done all of this before, just in a different location. Where it got amazing was the return to Kanto; no longer were you some scrub starting off in this region. You were an experienced, proven professional that could sweep through a land that once seemed so difficult to master. Third gen offered only that sense of mystery from a new location, which only gets you so far. Things became a classic case of same shit, different day. The games themselves were and are still fun, but they just don't trigger a new emotion. This goes for fourth and, to a lesser extent, fifth (I say lesser for fifth because, hey, at least you didn't run into Zubat and Geodude in every single cave, and there was even a plot developing around you :O ).

    For a real rejuvenation, this series needs to evoke some new inner sensation. I know I'm not the only guy to see the 3D Pokedex models and think "Oh, sweet! So when are we gonna see these in-game?" It might not sound like much, but a 3-dimensional world would be a huge boon for Pokemon. A series that relies so heavily on that sense of exploring a brand new region really needs to improve the "exploring" part of that concept. Simply taking the series from bird's-eye-view to first (or third) person would be an incredible jump. As shallow as it sounds, a graphical overhaul is just what the doctor ordered for this series. The mechanics and general plot could stay the same; hey, it works every time! But let's bring back that feeling of wonder, of exploration, of pure untapped potential. I'd be thrilled to play even Blue for the millionth time if it was from a brand new perspective :P
  7. BlueStar99

    BlueStar99

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    Yes, I agree with Jellicent. The storyline at the end could have something very touching like in the movies, like someone "dies" but turns out all right. I also agree with Fawfulmk-II. The game could be improved by a more open space to explore, maybe like in Zelda, in sort of first-person view. Maybe it could even be for the 3DS.
  8. Count Serperior

    Count Serperior

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    Jellicent said what I came here to say.

    What I always wondered about is why the gym leaders still have fixed levels. What I think they should do is provide a large world with no obstacles, you take whichever road you want and fight the leaders in any order you want.
    A way to solve that problem is that they always adjust the leaders' levels to be 3-5 higher than the highest Pokemon in your party. (I guess their movesets don't change, or they do based on their levels, like pre-30s they have the "easy" moveset and after 30 they get their "challenge" moveset).

    With that kind of gameplay you get to take your time and enjoy the game the way you want to.

    Also, add an Ubers Battle Tower/Subway. Yes, it's not realistic in-game storywise but it gives us a reason to use our EV trained legendaries in the game.

    I also thought of something yesterday actually. The starters are meant to portray the rock-paper-scissor aspect in the game but I'm pretty sure everyone knows those. (My 7 year old bro started with BW so I can see how it still helps newbies but I think it's still a simple enough concept to grasp). What I was thinking about was more of a collection of starters, like maybe "elemental" starters, Earth-Fire-Flying-Water.

    But I'll miss my Grass starter TT_TT
  9. NidokingKing

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    @Jellicent, I'm sure that the game's could invoke emotion in us if we didn't spoil the games for ourselves by reading the Japanese reveal/release threads or reading anything else that would spoil the game.

    @BlueStar, I can almost guarantee that Gen VI will finally switch to 3DS. The system's price is reasonable, it's got a good library (meaning that there is a reason to buy it), and GF has shown how good pokemon looks in 3D (see: Pokedex 3D).

    As for me, I would love to see pokemon hit a first person view. I would also like to be able to control the pokemon when you're in a battle, preferably in a different style from Mystery Dungeon. The only foreseeable problems I can immediately think of is the complete destruction of moveset control, no way for doubles or triple to be successful, and, most importantly, the loss of accuracy and evasion stats. This would only really suck with the high risk, high reward moves like Focus miss and Stone Edge, plus earthquake would become ridiculously easy to avoid.
  10. Codraroll

    Codraroll
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    To be honest, it appears that the main flaw we see with the games as they progress is: "They get less fun to play from the third or so story you clear onwards". If you played RBY and loved it, you enjoyed the novelty and changes of GSC, and really appreciated the mechanics shift in RSE, but the story had got a little stale by then. Choose a Grass/Water/Fire type, beat 8 Gym leaders and a rival, fight an evil team, beat the Elite 4, catch the legendary Pokémon. Yawn.

    Meanwhile, the kids six years younger than you picked up a Pokémon game for the first time. They were thrown into a vast region, found many exciting Pokémon to catch and raise, beat the eight challenging Gym Leaders, stopped the baddies from being bad, explored the various environments, caught powerful legendary Pokémon, beat the Elite 4 on the fifth try, and had fun joking around postgame. Some of them bought and enjoyed the next generation of games, loved the new Pokémon you got to see, and had fun beating the new region. The third generation comes around, and the story is beaten a lot quicker. The kids grow up, the postgame doesn't thrill as much anymore, and there are too many Pokémon to count. Many of them don't bother getting the new games, skipping straight to simulators online.

    Unlike you, however, these kids started with RSE, had a refreshing experience with DPPt, and grow a little tired of the story by BW.

    I think that no matter where you begin, you may get the same experience. Kids of today have BW as their first Pokémon games, they enjoy catching and training their Lillipup and Venipede, and have fond memories of seeing their Pignite evolve into Emboar and stomp stuff for the first time. For them, anything pre-gen. V is just a vast catalogue of various, but mostly uninteresting, 'mons from days past. Charizard and Typhlosion are just yet two more Fire types. Tentacruel is a jellyfish that just doesn't stand up to Jellicent, and seeing a Zubat doesn't invoke any frustration, or for that matter nostalgia at all. Bricks in the wall, all of them. The fun lies in Gen. V, and it is from here today's kids will have their nostalgia.

    Pokémon follows this success formula: Attract bunches of kids as fans/customers, let them enjoy as many future generations as they can handle, but don't give them anything special in the long run. The focus is on the current generation, and how to make it draw in more new fans. Fans that stick around for more than two generations is a nice bonus. Longtime fans from the RBY era are amusing, but they don't make up enough of the customer base to warrant any special treatment.

    What can we, as fans, do about it? One answer is "deal with it", but the spin-off games can be a fresh breath into the same old routine. They usually force you to use Pokémon from a mishmash of generations, Pokémon you wouldn't normally use together. Some of the spin-off games also shuffle around and redefine which Pokémon constitute "Early-game" and which are "Late-game Ubers". They use the old Pokémon in exciting new ways.

    Last, though, a wish from me: Give us another spin-off along the lines of Colosseum/XD. Those games were all I wish for now. They put you in an entirely new setting, cared nought for stuff like Gyms or Elite 4, and chose their own set of appropriate Legendaries - while supporting the transfer of all and any Pokémon from the main series games. The 3D graphics also allowed for an entirely new dimension of details. Seriously, have a look at Pyrite Town or the Pokémon HQ Lab.
    I would even consider sacrifising support for all Pokémon to be used in the game, in exchange for better graphics on the ones you get to use. It's understandable that you can't have elaborate models with HD textures and realistic fur and shadows for all ~700 Pokémon, but if you were to cut that number to someplace around 150... it's not like a story mode can utilize more than a fraction of all available Pokémon anyway.
  11. Rowan

    Rowan not a professor
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    I agree with Cobraroll for the most part. GF aren't doing a lot to give us a wider experience because they're too focused on making the new games appeal to the next generation. I started playing pokemon with Sapphire and had massive frustration because I couldn't find Surf and I couldn't beat Winona with my Sceptile, the only pokemon that I'd raised. I recently lent my Platinum cartridge to my 8 year old cousin, and he actually phoned me up a few times because he couldn't work out how to get Strength or didn't know how to get to Sunnyshore City, which made me smile because he basically had the same experiences as me, except he played in Sinnoh and I played in Hoenn, he caught Giratina with his Master Ball, I caught Kyogre. Both regions had a sense of exploration and he probably felt a massive excitement when he got his hands on Giratina, just as I had when I first caught Kyogre.

    As for what I want to happen to the games... I'd like to see a Challenge Mode that's actually... challenging. Where you have to work more strategically to beat the gym leaders rather than just grind and use a super effective move. A bit more like competitive battling, where the AIs are a bit more intelligent. I know we have the battle tower, but it doesn't really link in with a story in any way, only coming post-game.
    Also a MMORPG would be great... just walking along and ending up fighting 'real' trainer instead of an AI sounds pretty cool. I also agree with Jelli about needing a massive graphical revamp.

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