The Pokémon franchise has seen incredible success on the Nintendo DS, with nine main series entries each selling in the multiple millions. A year and a half into the life of the 3DS we’ve seen just one spin-off Pokémon game, and no main series entries. Game Freak is choosing for now to continue to ride the ridiculous wave of success created by the DS, but pretty soon it’s going to be time to make the jump to the next generation.
The 3DS is starting to become pretty successful itself, and Game Freak won’t be able to resist all the perks of the new hardware much longer. When Pokémon finally takes the next step, what can we expect? Read on to see how Pokémon could evolve on the 3DS.
Pokémon has certainly come a long way since the Gameboy days. Over time we’ve seen Pokémon add color, become more detailed, and even progress to top down 3D style. The 3DS packs a considerably larger punch than the DS, so Pokémon should look absolutely beautiful in its next incarnation. Some people would like to see “true” 3D in the form of an over-the-shoulder camera angle, but I think the series should stick to its guns with main series titles. There’s a simple charm to the current style, and the top down view is very accessible. Rather than changing the view of the Pokémon world, the extra processing power should be focused on perfecting the tried and true formula to give us the best-looking Pokémon game yet.
Of course, one of the biggest changes from the DS to the 3DS is the inclusion of stereoscopic 3D. Pokémon would be a fantastic franchise to make use of this glasses free style of 3D. The landscape could really come to life with tall buildings and mountains popping out of the screen, creating a perception of depth that just wasn’t possible on the DS.
The area with the most room for improvement in the visuals section is easily battles. I was pretty disappointed to see sprites continue in the DS titles, as opposed to fully 3D character models. With the superior power of the 3DS, I would like to see this change. Based on the Pokédex 3D, we know that the 3DS is more than capable of making beautiful 3D models for Pokémon , and it’s high time we see them in a real game. With the added bonus of stereoscopic 3D, battles could really come to life with more impressive-looking Pokémon and attacks.
Pokémon has always had a heavy emphasis on bringing people together to play, so the evolution of online gaming has been a huge benefit. No longer do you have to be in the same room as someone to challenge them to a duel or propose a trade. Wi-Fi on the DS allows you to challenge friends from around the world, but I’d like to see things go a step further on the 3DS. Imagine if a virtual Battle Arena was created. From the game players could access the Battle Arena and interact with other 3DS users from around the world without the necessity for sharing codes. Simply pop on in and meet up with people from all over the world for battles and trades. To avoid over-crowding or unfair matches, each player could select the specific type of match they’re looking for before entering the Battle Arena, and only other players with similar preferences would be visible.
The potential new addition I’m most eager for is the inclusion of DLC. Nintendo’s finally starting to allow DLC on their games, and Pokémon is absolutely perfect for it. Previous Pokémon titles used Mystery Gift to receive items via Wi-Fi that could unlock secrets within the game. DLC can take this a step further by actually adding to the game itself. Instead of downloading an item that unlocks a legendary Pokémon already written into the game’s code, you could download a whole new area in which a legendary Pokémon resides. Additionally, the download could add in some events that create a story for this new area, incorporating the quest for this new legendary Pokémon into the game’s already existing plot. A few DLC updates released several months apart could extend the lifespan of a game long enough to keep it interesting until the next installment comes out.
Unique 3DS Functions
Aside from improved online and stereoscopic 3D, the 3DS has quite a few other new, unique features that Pokémon could put to use. Augmented reality cards, gyroscope control, StreetPass, and SpotPass could all be used to set the next Pokémon adventure apart from the rest.
Games like Kid Icarus: Uprising and Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance have used augmented reality cards to add to gameplay, and Pokémon should do the same. By creating a hybrid brand of Pokémon Trading Cards and 3DS AR Cards, players could use their 3DS to have virtual 3D battles anywhere. Just set the cards down on your couch, table, sidewalk, or any other surface, and scan them with your 3DS to make them come to life. This would be an interesting new way to battle. A common use of AR cards is importing things into your game, and this is especially fitting for Pokémon. Nintendo could release cards with rare Pokémon or items, and by scanning them with your 3DS you could bring them into your game. Much like the Pokéwalker, this would be a fun new way to catch Pokémon outside of the main game quest.
Pokémon is always coming up with new mini-games to incorporate into your quest, and the gyroscope could be used to create some fresh new ones. A few ideas that come to mind are a Pokémon flight simulator, Pokémon bowling, and a target-shooting game. Even just looking around and surveying your surroundings through binoculars is more fun when you can control it with the 3DS gyroscope.
Finally, the combination of StreetPass and SpotPass can be used to enhance the game and bring players together. StreetPass, which lets you trade information with other 3DS owners who are close by, could be used to swap Trainer Cards and give you the option to add people to your friends list for future battles and trades. SpotPass could be used to allow Game Freak to occasionally send players gifts via Wi-Fi.
All in all, Pokémon is a franchise that, like its lovable creatures, is constantly evolving. With each new system, and each new audience of eager gamers, Pokémon keeps finding new ways to improve, and I’m sure that this trend will continue on the 3DS. Hopefully some of these ideas make their way into the next title, but whatever Game Freak has in store, I’m sure it will be great. How would you like to see Pokémon evolve on the 3DS?