Since its inception in the late 90s, the Pokémon series has been a Nintendo handheld staple with a generation appearing on each portable iteration. Recently however, we’ve been a little spoilt for choice when it comes to the games Nintendo have released for their DS console. What started out as Diamond and Pearl versions has quickly grown into remakes, another generation and direct sequels. Eight Pokémon titles on one console is bordering on insanity, and with the 3DS semmingly being ignored we began thinking about the next logical step: The Wii U.
Whilst solid facts pertaining to the Wii U don’t exactly exist just yet, picturing the Pokémon series taking a huge step into proper 3D seems like the perfect fit. The closest we’ve ever got to a full-fledged 3D Pokémon adventure was the Gamecube’s Pokémon Coliseum, which, whilst enjoyable enough, just wasn’t the same as a classic adventure. So why do I feel that Pokémon would fit so perfectly on the upcoming Wii U?
Whilst the game would no doubt evolve (ho, ho) into something visually attractive on the new console, one of the major draws would be how instantly accessible it would be and this is down to the Wii U controller. When you think about it, for all intents and purposes, when paired with a TV, the Wii U is effectively a much stronger DS complete with touch-screen functionality. What this means is that everything that just worked on the DS would be instantly transferrable. Touch screen battle commands? Check. Touch screen item navigation? Double check. Sometimes the best things developers can do when making big changes is to ensure that there’s some modicum of familiarity retained so as not to alienate those who were content as things were and this would certainly achieve that.
Don’t kid yourself, as much as the handheld visuals are slowly improving (ooh, animated sprites!), you’ve always imagined a 3D title with a massive expansive world, bustling towns and cities and most importantly, epic 3D battles. Pokémon would undoubtedly need this were it to make the jump from handheld to home console and if done right, it could be the best thing ever. We’ve contemplated such a thing for many years but now that Nintendo are finally playing ball and moving into the HD era, there’s no better time.
Thanks to Pokémon Gold and Silver (and their respective remakes), we’ve already been greeted to a huge world through Kanto’s connection to Johto but just imagine what would be possible with a console release. The first thing that jumps to mind would be to have all five main worlds from the handheld games reimagined for Wii U but then again, would that be quite the same as having a completely new world to explore? Sure, the nostalgia rush would be incredible as you explore painstakingly recreated recreations of places like Saffron City or the Goldenrod Radio Tower, but it might feel a bit too samey. Verdict? We’re open for discussion.
With the 3DS’ release, Nintendo are finally catching up on the world of online play and hopefully, the Wii U will only further this. Obviously, one of the series’ biggest lures is competitive battling and currently, the only way to battle in 3D is to send Pokémon from your DS to Pokémon Battle Revolution and even then, it’s cumbersome and now outdated. So rather than create another pointless 3D battler that serves no real purpose, just make sure Pokémon Wii U has online down to a tee. Maybe even throw in regular tournaments for prizes including rare Pokémon or in-game cash. The online realm of Pokémon is currently a little sparse and could really use that certain something to give it more attention. Kudos to Nintendo, I mean with things like Dream World, it’s obvious they’re trying but it’s just not enough yet.
One thing that Pokémon Battle Revolution on Wii did right was give the player some sense of personality with customisable avatars and more. Now imagine this expanded even further to a proper Pokémon title that lets you explore a full world as your own custom character rather than a generic, often daft looking default boy or girl. Like many RPGs of similar style, perhaps you could collect new items, clothing and more as you journey and customise your character to be something truly unique by the time you’re inducted into the hall of fame. Naturally, it’d still retain the series’ simple cartoony style but it’d be nice to be a trainer that looked somewhat normal. I don’t do spiky hair.
For all that is good about Pokémon, the games are for the most part incredibly linear and the dungeons that currently exist are little more than basic mazes that often offer rare items or even a rare Pokémon. Now whilst these are fine, a greater variety of dungeons, possibly even randomly generated could be really interesting. Imagine walking into a cave, knowing that no strategy guide is going to help you here. You have no idea whether you’ll pick up a few rare items or just a few bog-standard Poké Balls and you definitely don’t know if any rare Pokémon are lurking around every corner.
Above are just a few examples of why Pokémon on Wii U would work so well, but all it needs to do in essence is stay true to the original formula and foundations and evolve into something on a bigger scale; something only possible with the power of the Wii U.
…and we all like it when Pokémon evolve…