Pokemon needs to go back to basics in 2024

After a shaky yr containing disappointing titles, it’s time for the Pokemon franchise to return to its roots in 2024.

There’s no denying that the Pokemon franchise has had a tough yr, at the very least in phrases of vital and fan response. The sequence continues to print cash as a multimedia entity, so The Pokemon Company won’t care a lot about on-line reception so long as the video games promote.

And promote they’ve. Despite Pokemon Scarlet & Violet being criticized for his or her shoddy efficiency, poor visuals, baffling elimination of long-standing QoL options, and an underbaked open world, they offered extremely effectively, approaching the best-selling entries in the sequence in phrases of gross sales.

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As of the time of writing, no new Pokemon video games have been introduced for 2024 (apart from a free Pokemon Scarlet & Violet epilogue). This doubtless gained’t keep true for lengthy, particularly with Pokemon Day quick approaching, however hopefully, the teachings of 2023 will probably be on show in no matter new video games are launched.

What went unsuitable with new Pokemon releases in 2023?

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet's Indigo Disk Secret EndingThe Pokemon Company

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet launched in a sorry state, however that doesn’t essentially imply a sport is condemned endlessly. Cyberpunk 2077 proved in 2023 that it’s potential to replace a sport to the purpose the place it turns into unbelievable, leaving the empty husk of the launch construct behind.

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For Gen 9, this might have occurred with The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero growth for Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, which featured two DLC updates: The Teal Mask and The Indigo Disk.

The followers hoping for a efficiency replace alongside the DLC have been left dissatisfied, because the video games are nonetheless simply as massive of a multitude now as they have been at launch. There are nonetheless bugs in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet that haven’t been addressed in over a yr.

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The DLC was additionally a letdown. The Teal Mask was extremely brief and didn’t provide a lot that wasn’t in the bottom sport. The Indigo Disk had a bit extra content material, however it felt like a tacked-on post-game phase, the sort that used to be a part of the video games free of charge.

Outside of the Gen 9 video games, there was additionally the underwhelming Detective Pikachu Returns and the weird Pokemon Sleep, each of which have been forgettable and shortly misplaced followers’ curiosity.

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What’s unsuitable with the Pokemon sequence in 2023?

Pokemon Sleep SnorlaxPokemon

The challenge with the mainline video games is that the Pokemon franchise isn’t prepared for the open-world fashion, at the very least not in the best way the builders have been trying.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus was a wonderful launch, and it managed to create the texture of an open-world sport whereas having a segmented overworld. Meanwhile, the mainline video games have been attempting to emulate that grand scope, however have been falling brief.

The worlds of the brand new Pokemon video games really feel underwhelming due to the growing older Nintendo Switch {hardware} struggling to sustain with the ambitions of the builders and a brutal schedule that can not be messed with, as new Pokemon video games are tied to the multimedia franchise.

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The comparatively brief growth cycle of the Pokemon video games implies that the manufacturing group simply doesn’t have the time to create these huge worlds, particularly with the Switch chugging away in the background.

Outside of Gen 9, you might have Pokemon Sleep, whose idea tries to make falling asleep right into a online game regardless of that motion being the other of participating. Meanwhile, the thrill surrounding the Detective Pikachu spin-offs has lengthy since died, so why make extra, particularly a low-effort title?

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Pokemon needs to go back to its roots

Reshiram and Zekrom from the Pokemon Black & White box art

There are just a few candidates for the subsequent Pokemon video games: the Gen 10 video games, one other Pokemon Legends, one other Pokemon: Let’s Go, or the rumored Gen 5 remakes.

Whatever the case, one of the best factor for the Pokemon franchise is a title that matches the sequence’ strengths. We want Pokemon video games that harken back to the basic JRPG fashion that constructed the franchise. This could be a Pokemon sport in the standard fashion, one which focuses on a smaller setting.

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The Gen 5 remakes could be a wonderful candidate for this method, as would Let’s Go video games set in the Johto area, particularly contemplating the recognition of their authentic video games.

It would additionally assist if these video games reversed a number of the ridiculous QoL modifications put into current entries. The Pokemon Company might show that it’s listening to followers by bringing back issues like a detachable Exp. Share or the power to skip battle animations.

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This extra streamlined expertise doesn’t essentially have to be put into the Gen 10 video games. There’s room for a Pokemon facet sequence with a retro really feel that appeals to old-school followers, dare we are saying, one which’s more difficult than the mainline entries.

This isn’t to say that the Pokemon franchise ought to by no means experiment with new concepts. After all, Pokemon Legends: Arceus could be one of the best entry in the sequence on the Nintendo Switch.

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It’s simply necessary for the franchise not to lose sight of its identification and for its group to acknowledge the boundaries of what it could actually accomplish in the time allotted.

If the rumored Nintendo Switch successor is a technical powerhouse, then perhaps that would be the system to host an incredible Pokemon open-world journey and do the idea justice. That time has but to arrive, nonetheless, and The Pokemon Company needs to work on profitable back the followers alienated by Gen 9.

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