Alpha and Omega: What Can We Expect?

By blizzardy. Art by chameleonskyes.
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Nearly 12 years ago, on November 21, 2002, the third generation of Pokémon games was unleashed. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire brought on a giant new world to explore, with over 100 new Pokémon to capture and train. It wasn't just a giant leap graphically, with familiar mechanics such as natures and abilities getting their start in these games. Double battles were introduced here as well, bringing on new methods of playing and strategies. While these games were certainly beloved, the Hoenn region has been pushed aside to make room for the likes of Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos. Game Freak is finally ready to revive these gems, with the newly announced Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. This article will look at all the potential features these games may have, based on the original games and the new technology of the 3DS. Keep in mind this is completely speculative, and these features may or may not actually happen. Game Freak is kind of funky that way.

You Got Your StreetPass in my Secret Base!

Keep in mind that this was written before the latest information on secret bases was released.

Generation 3 saw the introduction of Secret Bases. Basically, whenever a player came across a particular tree, bush, or wall indent, they could have their Pokémon use the move Secret Power to transform it into their own Secret Base! In a similar manner to a house in the Generation 2 games, players could fill their Secret Base with all sorts of junk that they had collected on their journey; possible decorations ranged from dolls to plants to posters. Let's be real here; if you were in the game, you would have been a kid on rigorous quest across an entire country. The Secret Base would have been your place of respite: a place of comfort and customization where you could have rested after a long day of adventuring.

Unfortunately, no amount of praise will change the fact that Secret Bases were relatively useless. Outside of the comfy feelings, they had little use in the long run. In fact, it was possible to go the entire game without making a Base, and it was not uncommon for players to make one and forget all about it. Generation 4 did attempt to alleviate this with Capture the Flag in the underground, but when Black and White came around, the mechanic was lost.

The 3DS has the potential to really take advantage of this forlorn mechanic. This is all thanks to the new StreetPass feature. Through StreetPass, you can share different game data with any other 3DSes you pass by. It has already been seen in other 3DS games, such as Fire Emblem: Awakening, where you could recruit another player's customizable avatars, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf, where you can see their houses on display. Implementing this feature into the remakes seems to be pretty simple. Perhaps have it so you can find the Bases of other Trainers scattered through the game world (though a notification upon the appearance of a new one would be helpful!) while making each base work in a similar manner to the Union Room, where you can see the others Trainers and interact with them. Perhaps They could allow players to leave Pokémon or items to be traded to guests. Maybe allow players to and even set a predetermined team to battle in their place when they are away. Perhaps make it so you can leave messages or drawings (maybe this could be a good time to brings mails back?) for the owner to find. It should be developed so that entering every new Secret Base will be an adventure in of itself.

The Big Bad Battle Frontier

Post-game content is critical in video games, especially for RPGs like Pokémon. You just spent hours grinding and powering up your precious monsters: you can't just stop battling now! Thankfully, these games have been pretty good in that regard; there have been Towers to conquer, World Championships to win, and regions to explore. Emerald version had one of the best post-games, thanks to the then newly-introduced Battle Frontier. The Battle Frontier was a complex of different battle arenas, each with their own rulesets and playstyles. Such arenas included the Battle Palace, where Pokémon fought without the guidance of their trainers, with the attacks they used being based on their nature; the Battle Factory, where players had to use unfamiliar, rented Pokémon to fight; and the Pyramid, a dark maze that was crawling with trainers and dangerous wild Pokémon. Other arenas included the Battle Dome, where 16-contestant tournaments were held by the fabulous Tucker; the Battle Arena, where Pokémon were judged on aspects such as Mind, Skill, and Body; and finally, the Battle Pike, a strange tunnel modeled after Seviper where players were forced to choose between different rooms that had different surprises waiting inside them. Oh, and of course, the good ol' Battle Tower.

Phew... that's a lot. But a lot is good, as it means more things to do. The Battle Frontier was such a great area because it was hard to get bored of it. That is exactly what the post-game needs to do: to keep you playing the game even when the main story is long gone. That's why the Battle Frontier absolutely needs to come back (especially after XY's mediocre post-games...). But it can't JUST come back; it needs to be updated, remade, and transformed into something even greater. Imagine what the 3DS is capable of doing to it: enhancing the shadowy caves of the Battle Pyramid and the mystifying mindgames of the Battle Pike. Perhaps we will see some new additions to the already great line-up of Battle Facilities. Maybe one for Inverse Battles, Sky Battles, or, dare I say, Little Cup (Please, Game Freak, I need this)? Let's not forget about some facilities released in the Battle Frontiers of other regions, such as the Battle Arcade or Castle.

Of course, the island where the Battle Frontier was located housed some other nice surprises. For one, there are move tutors who will teach your Pokémon attacks in exchange for your well-earned BP. The IV checker also takes up residence here. Not to mention the Artisan Cave, home to hordes of Smeargle. Baton Pass users rejoice!

Cook Up Those Pokéblocks! The Contests Are Back!

Even the most powerful of Pokémon Trainers need a break from fighting every once and a while. That's where Contests come in. Pokémon Contests are where your Pokémon compete in one of five different tests: Beauty, Strength, Coolness, Smartness, and Cuteness. Different moves have different effects: some allow your Pokémon to move first, while others let you sabotage your rivals. The main goal is to make the greatest appeal to the judges by using moves according to the contest theme. You can cook up special candies called Pokéblocks to increase the "condition" of your Pokémon, which will make it appear more attractive and help it earn more points. Admittedly, the Contests that appeared in the Generation 3 games were kind of dull. However, they were incredibly improved in Generation 4, where fashion and dancing contests were added, and the appealing process was streamlined and much more accessible. Plus, they were called SUPER contests, which we all know makes it way cooler.

Like all else, the Contests have room for improvement as well. Two words: Pokémon Amie. Amie. Amie. Amie. Pokémon Amie defined what the Pokémon models were capable of (and how cute they can be). One possible contest event could involve playing with your Pokémon and making it do tricks and such. Another neat feature on the 3DS is the gyro, which detects the tilting of the device. AR cards could also be put to good use here. Basically, the Contests should take advantage of all the 3DS features and gimmicks. It should be about personally working with your Pokémon to get the highest scores, though, to be completely honest, as long as it's not Pokémon Musicals, I think we should be happy.

A Mega Evolution

This generation of Pokémon introduced a bold new feature: Mega Evolutions! Unless you've been living under a Graveler all this time, you probably know how influential Mega Evolutions can be: they provide some Pokémon with sky-high stats, game-breaking abilities, or, in some cases, both! Courtesy of hackers, we know that Latios and Latias are due to receive Mega Evolutions, so it stands to reason that other Pokémon may be receiving them as well. Groudon and Kyogre appear to be undergoing a change as seen on the cover of the game boxes. Of course, if they get Mega Evolutions, their guardian Rayquaza will have to keep up. Metagross, being the generation's pseudo-legendary and Champion's signature Pokémon, probably deserves a Mega Evolution as well. From a competitive standpoint, some less-than-viable Pokémon such as Huntail, Tropius, Torkoal, Camerupt, Dustox, Relicanth, Masquerain, Hariyama, Grumpig, and Luvdisc (lol) probably deserve to be Mega-fied in order to help them stand out in the metagame. Hopefully, Game Freak won't disappoint.

Hoenn: Now in 3D!

From bustling cities to volcanoes, deserts, underwater caverns, and the big sparkling sea, Hoenn is just a downright cool place. Now imagine how cool it will be... in 3D! One location in particular is Fortree City. Fortree is one of the later towns you visit, and as the name suggests, it's located right in the middle of a dense forest, where the houses are built high in the treetops. Meteor Falls is a strangely beautiful cave that can only get even more beautiful in 3D. East of Fallarbor Town is Route 113, a pathway that is covered in soot from the nearby volcano. Aside from the great music, the route is a great place to take full advantage of the 3DS's graphic capabilities. Of course, we can't forget about Sootopolis, the peaceful island community formed by ancient volcanoes. There is so much more as well, from the Slateport beaches to the bottom of the ocean. Hoenn is definitely a place I won't mind exploring again.

Other Stuff

Not hyped yet? Consider all the other features that may be present in these games that I haven't talked about, such as the Safari Zone, a fun area that gives you the opportunity to capture rare Pokémon. It hasn't been present since Heart Gold and Soul Silver, so it'll be nice to see it back. The Trick House, a strange place run by a probably senile old man, provided a fun way to train your Pokémon. Don't forget about your rival, May or Brendan, depending on the player's gender. Admittedly, though, they weren't the best rivals, not appearing very often and having relatively weak teams, so here is to hoping that Game Freak revamps them, perhaps making it so their dream is to be a star Pokémon Coordinator?


Whether or not you've played the original games, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are looking to be great games in their own standing. From the possibility of an epic Battle Frontier, beautiful new 3D landscapes to explore, the return of Contests, and maybe even some new Mega Evolutions, the possibilities are endless. Hopefully, we will see the return of features that weren't introduced until later generations, such as Wonder Trading, character customization, rollerblades, Pokéwalking, Pokémon Amie, Super Training, and of course, a way to access hidden abilities. Overall, I think this will be a game both veteran and new players alike will deeply enjoy. But the real question is... how long until the Diamond and Pearl remakes?

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