Pokemon modder adds wild overworld encounters to HeartGold & SoulSilver

pokemon heartgold overworld encounters

A Pokemon ROM hacker has added overworld encounters to the fan-favorite remakes HeartGold & SoulSilver, and they can even appear shiny!

ROM hacking has become a staple of the Pokemon community. Fans of the franchise use ROM hacks to add their own twist to games, increase their difficulty, randomize encounters, or even change storylines completely.

However, it’s not too often you see a modder take elements of a newer title and add them retroactively to a classic game. But one creative player has taken one of the best innovations of modern Pokemon titles and applied it to arguably the most beloved games in the franchise.

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Overworld encounters were fully realized for the first time in Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee. This saw wild Pokemon roaming the world instead of hiding inside tall grass. This idea would loosely carried over into Pokemon Sword & Shield, with Shiny Pokemon not revealing themselves until after the encounter, but was revamped for Legends Arceus and Scarlet & Violet.

Overworld encounters in Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver

Pokemon fans often ask for remakes of their favorite generations to see what they would look like on modern hardware – although many fans claimed BPSP left much to be desired. But a modder who goes by turtleisaac on Twitter has trainers wanting a ROM hack that adds a single feature to HeartGold & SoulSilver.

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“Overworld wild Pokemon, anyone?” turtleisaac captioned a video of them exploring Johto’s Route 32 with the pixel artwork of Pokemon appearing on the overworld map. The wild Pokemon spawned in tall grass patches and tiles outside of the normal wild encounter areas.

In a follow-up tweet, Isaac showed himself encountering a wild overworld Pidgey. He ran into the sprite, and it initiated a turn-based battle like usual.

Fans began gushing over the ROM hack in the comments while also bombarding turtleisaac with questions. He clarified that he does not make or release full hacks, just systems that he then makes available for other ROM hack developers to use. So there isn’t a way to play the game shown above.

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The Pokemon on the overworld can also appear Shiny, and Isaac is working on implementing a visual and audible effect to signify when one spawns in. The overworld encounters can coexist with random grass encounters, but he has that function turned off in the preview videos.

So, while there isn’t a way for franchise fans to get their hands on overworld Pokemon in HeartGold & SoulSilver just yet, you can expect a ROM hack that implements turtleisaac’s tech.

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