The first significant amount of news for the seventh generation of Pokémon games has been released. A trailer and a press release occurred on May 10th 2016, giving some details about the games, the three new starter Pokémon, and a glimpse at the two new legendary Pokémon that adorn the covers of each game. Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon will release for the Nintendo 3DS on November 18th in North America, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. It will release in Europe on November 23rd. Understanding why this is significant requires knowing some of the series’ history.
Pokémon is a long-running and very popular turn-based (the manner in which combat unfolds) RPG (role-playing game, a term that is rather poorly defined, but is often associated with prominent numbers and statistics-based gameplay) series published by Nintendo. The primary games are all on handheld Nintendo consoles (namely the Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS, and the 3DS.). The spinoff games can be on any Nintendo platform (console or handheld), and a couple are coming to phones and mobile devices. The primary games all come in sets of two, three, or four games, which focus upon the generation of Pokémon introduced for that set of games. There are usually two (or three, in the case of Gen 1’s Japan-exclusive Pokémon Green) games released initially, and then one (or two for Gen 5, or, currently, zero for Gen 6) special version released a bit later. It’s a blatant marketing trick, but the presence of different versions with different rosters of obtainable Pokémon and the ability to trade Pokémon between any version in a given generation has worked in the series’ favour. As the series tag line goes, “Gotta’ catch em’ all!”
I decided to report on this news as a jumping-off point for a quick discussion about my relationship with the series. In terms of the main games, I have only played Ruby (from Gen 3) and Diamond (from Gen 4). I stopped playing Diamond largely because I was worn out after sinking so much time into it, and didn’t really feel like partaking in the main games for a while. More recently, I became slightly disillusioned with turn-based RPGs in general after realizing that, in their most basic form, victory can always be achieved by healing more than the maximum amount of damage an enemy can inflict. Most games are actually much more complex and involved than that, of course, but my interests had moved on towards more action-packed games by the time I reached that conclusion.
Despite all this, I am fairly interested in this new Pokémon generation. My place in the Pokémon fandom has been maintained outside of the main series due to the various spin-off titles I have played over the years. In fact, I can probably thank the recently released Pokken Tournament for motivating me to really pay attention to Pokémon again. Another reason I am interested in possibly playing Sun or Moon is that I like the Pokémon revealed so far. Litten, the Fire-type starter, is a cat, and I love cats. The other two starters, Rowlet the Grass/Flying owl and Popplio the Water sea lion, are pretty cute too. The improvements to the engine the games are running on have interested me a bit too. Human character models are starting to have more realistic in-game proportions to match their artwork. It sounds like Pokémon idle animations for when you are choosing an action in battle may be a thing now too, as Rowlet will rotate its head to look at your avatar when it is your turn. One more reason is that the appearances of the two primary legendary Pokémon (powerful single-specimen-per-game Pokémon that have been on the game covers since Gen 2) for Sun and Moon have been revealed. I don’t really care too much about the Sun legendary, but I like the edgy look of the Moon legendary. If I purchase a Gen 7 game, it will be Moon.
At the end of the day, I’m still not completely certain if I want to buy a Gen 7 game, as I need to spend my money carefully if I want my current most anticipated games. Those games will be more action-oriented and will all release before Sun and Moon. I’ll have to wait and see, but at any rate, I am impressed enough with what I’ve seen so far to look at any future news about Gen 7. Because the games are releasing in just a few months, there should be fairly frequent announcements leading up to their release date. The next news announcement will be on June 2nd, so I’ll be looking forward to that.
(Honestly though, I just want a sequel to Pokken Tournament.)
D., Em. (2015, December 16). Couterpoint: Regarding Active-Time Battle Systems. Retrieved May 19, 2016, from http://www.thejimquisition.com/counterpoint-regarding-active-time-battle-systems/. This article showed me some of the inherent flaws in turn-based battle systems.
Pokémon. (2016, May 10). Retrieved May 18, 2016, from http://www.pokemon-sunmoon.com/en-us/pokemon/. This page on the official Pokémon Sun and Moon website links to the starter Pokémon profiles.
The first gameplay trailer of Pokémon Sun and Moon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kn25hijDL7c