So still we await any official news from Nintendo regarding the next installment in the wildly popular [Pokémon](tag:2538552) franchise, widely speculated to arrive in the form of Pokémon Z with legendary Pokémon Zygarde tying into the central narrative.
We learned recently that we might get some news about Pokemon Z in the December issue of CoroCoro Magazine, but until then here's a quick rundown of how we'd like to see Pokémon Z improve over the games that came before it, Pokemon X and Y and Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
Pokémon is still massively successful but, as with any long running series, repetition can kill a franchise. So with that in mind, here's what we would like to see from Pokémon Z...
1. A Fresh Narrative
The Pokémon story has become so same-y now that it's starting to lose that childhood charm that carried it forwards.
The 10-year old novice trainer moves to a new town, is given their first Pokémon by a kindly Pokémon Professor and sent off into the world with their Pokédex. They overcome an evil "Team Something Or Other" organization, defeat the Elite Four to become the ultimate Pokémon Champ and learn about the power of friendship along the way.
Sure, this is a time tested formula and it's been successful throughout Pokémon's 19 years, but perhaps the time has come to tweak this blueprint even a little to freshen up the format. A game like Pokémon doesn't necessarily need a lot of character development, but imagine if it included some more? Wouldn't that make it even more engaging?
Also, whilst I appreciate that Pokémon is primarily a kids game, the overwhelmingly cutesy themes and dialogue in Pokémon X & Y was bordering on sickening at times (if you didn't want to punch Shauna in her little pixilated face you have better control than I), not to mention the lack of any real rivals. I'm not saying Nintendo should go full blown darkness on the series, but maybe tone down the cotton candy a little.
2. Difficulty Options At Beginning
Again, I'm aware that Pokémon is a game marketed to children as well as adults, which is why difficulty settings are a must for those players who have been fans of the franchise for the past 19 years and are now looking for more of a challenge.
Difficulty settings were introduced back in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, but were nowhere to be seen in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. So not only did ORAS feel formulaic, it was far too easy for anyone who had played the games before. Same goes for the underwhelming Elite Four in Pokémon X & Y, so a difficulty setting option at the beginning of the game is a must for Pokémon Z.
3. Save Files
One of the BIGGEST annoyances with the mechanics of the Pokémon games is that, unless you want to delete the game in which you've spent hours and hours completing your Pokédex, you can only play them once per cartridge. Want to have two separate Pokémon save files? Better go shell out another $40.00 for another cartridge, at least then you can justify buying the other version of the game.
And while we're on the topic, why is it so complicated to delete save files on the 3DS generation games? To delete your files you have to press Up + B + X during the opening cinematic, but nowhere on the menu does it tell you this. What gives Nintendo?
4. A Rejig Of The Type Strengths/Weakness
The introduction of post-Gen 1 types like Fairy, Steel and Dark certainly helped to keep the Pokémon rosters fresh and open up new possibilities, but it might be time to take another look at the type chart.
Though the introduction of Fairy type irritated some fans I personally loved it - Sylveon is hands down my favorite/most powerful Pokémon in Pokémon Y (suck it Yveltal). But I'll admit that Fairy is perhaps a little too overpowered, whilst others like Ice are weak against everything but itself to the point where it's barely worth using. Obviously Ice will be weak against Fire types and the like, but it's not unreasonable to give Ice a resistance against Ground, Rock (like Water types) or Grass to even the playing field a little.
Dark and Ghost are pretty much the same in terms of advantages so having two separate type categories seems a little redundant. The two could either be merged back into one or become more distinct from each other, opening up further battle strategies.
5. More Post-Elite Four Content
So you've done it, you've defeated the Elite Four, you're the official Pokémon Champ and your name will go down in the annuals of history.
Well, you know, there's the Pokédex to complete; Shiny Pokémon to find; breeding; trading and online battles. But for those players who prefer to stick to offline local play there's not much to do in terms of continuing your quest after the Elite Four are defeated, especially if you've been chasing up the optional Legendaries as you go along.
The Elite Four will probably always be the end game goal, but it would be nice to have some quests to do after you've ground them into the dirt.
Alternatively every so often a new challenger could appear in the form of another Pokémon Champion, someone else who defeats the Elite Four that you then have to battle to reclaim your title. That'd keep it interesting at least.