After 22 years of the same formula, now is the time to make a new, open world style Pokemon game for the ages.
Pokemon games have stuck to a similar pattern since their release. This started with Red and Blue in 1998, all the way to Sword and Shield in 2019. That pattern is start in your home town, get given your first Pokemon and battle through the somewhat linearly set towns until the final battle.
The graphics have come on leaps and bounds – obviously – but the format has invariably remained the same. After two decades however, future games need more than visual improvements.
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Limited by the Nintendo Switch?
Limited hardware in comparison to Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo’s competition, is likely one reason the style has been kept the same over the years. Open world games have been commonplace for several years now, yet even Nintendo’s latest console, the Nintendo Switch, struggles with such.
The only example of a truly open world game on the handheld console is Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which had much longer development time than Sword and Shield was afforded. Nevertheless, gamers have very high standards so if it has been done already – albeit on a different franchise – then the expectation is now there.
The Elder Scrolls franchise, Grand Theft Auto 5, The Witcher, and the Fallout games are just some examples of hugely popular open world games. Just imagine the format of those but with Pokemon as the centerpiece.
Ps5 and Xbox putting the pressure on
With the PS5 and new Xbox just around the corner, the gap, at least graphically, between Sony/Microsoft and Nintendo is going to widen. Pokemon has an incredibly loyal fan-base where the majority of them will buy whatever the next game is regardless.
If some innovation isn’t added to Pokemon games soon though, the number of fans who buy it will wain. It would be surprising if the Pokemon Company and Nintendo haven’t at least discussed the idea and who knows, maybe it is on the horizon.
How would open world work?
It’s hard to say exactly how an open world Pokemon game would work. Many suspect it would look and play similarly to Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
What would be amazing – and we’re sure many fans would agree – would be an open world Kanto. That would be a great way to introduce Pokemon to the next generation style gaming.
With an open world setting, you’d think the storyline would be less fixed. There could even be multiple ways to get to the finish with your decisions affecting the story.
When could the next gen of Pokemon games come?
It has to come sooner or later, so why not make it sooner. Pokemon Sword and Shield was hinted to be an open world game before it released. In truth though, only the Wild Area could be classed as such. And even that’s debatable!
In an interview with Pokemon.com, Shigeru Ohmori was asked about the possibility of a fully open world Pokemon game. The Pokemon Sword and Shield Game Director had the following to say: “This is our first time introducing free camera movement in the series, so we’re excited to see how our players will respond to it once they get their hands on the games. We’ll think about what we want to do in the future based on those reactions.”
Unsurprisingly Ohmori was coy in his answer. Looks like we’ll have to wait and see what he and the Pokemon Company have up their sleeve.