Last month's announcement of Pokémon X and Y Versions was met with huge excitement from nearly every corner of the Nintendo fandom. Even many who have personal distaste for Pokémon admit that it's going to push the 3DS from "success" to "powerhouse." The staff here at Gamnesia recently had the opportunity to discuss our thoughts on Pokémon X and Y Versions. After several questions were posed by writer Jackson Murphy, the staff has combined to offer you our individual insights into Pokémon X and Y. In this roundtable discussion, you will see what the we hope X and Y Versions can achieve in expanding the world of Pokémon and much, much more.
What was your reaction to the reveal of Pokémon X and Y Versions?
Colin McIsaac: Oddly enough, I was a little bit disappointed. Pokémon X and Y were announced in the wake of those Pokémon Rainbow rumors. I had every reason not to believe that Pokémon Rainbow was really coming, but somehow I managed to keep this little glimpse of hope alive in my mind. Everything about Pokémon Rainbow and its supposed concept was just so much more exciting to me than another new generation of Pokémon, and while many of the ideas that made Pokémon Rainbow interesting are a reality in Pokémon X and Y, everything that it meant to me is just gone. Truth be told, of all the possibilities for a "major" game, the possibility of a new generation was always at the front of my mind, and I always hoping the actual announcement would be something like Colosseum 3, or Ruby and Sapphire remakes. I was just hoping for something a little more exciting to me.
Jackson Murphy: I was met with a combination of cringing and amazement. I hated the new protagonist's look. I loved the new region's look. I hated all three starters. I loved the legendaries. I hated the titles. I loved the new battle layout. Overall, it was a very mixed reaction. I was expecting a RuptureRuby and TsunamiSapphire. What I got completely blew me away, in all the best and worst ways.
Nathan Janc: Well, I was excited initially because personally I haven't played much of any Pokémon game in a decade, since I kept waiting for some sort of noticeable advancement from the outside looking in. We got that now visually as they try to bring the game into a 3D world. It's exciting, and while not the greatest visually so far, it's a big step up for a Pokémon game. I was a bit put off by the fact that we’re still moving on a tile-based grid pattern instead of including all the axes of movement, but this is probably intentional to still force some trainer-on-trainer battles in single player. It's probably the most excited I've been since Pokémon Gold and Silver.
Matthew Swaddinsgy: Not a positive one, but not a negative one. I'm very neutral on this subject at the moment. 3D battles look excellent, but look the same as ever. The overworld looks awful—a step down from the incredibly polished graphics of HeartGold and SoulSilver, but a step up from the unpolished mess of Black and White. Hopefully, the graphics get more polished up close to release.
Dathen Boccabella: Off the bat, I was surprised that the 3DS Pokémon installments were coming so shortly after Black and White 2, and releasing simultaneously worldwide to boot. I was fairly impressed with what I saw, and am excited for the potential series advancements on the 3DS with Generation VI. My big disappointment is that as of yet it looks like there won’t be any Generation III Hoenn remakes coming soon.
Are you excited for the sixth generation of Pokémon?
Colin McIsaac: I'm excited for what the sixth generation can do and I'm excited for the potential it has, but I'm not excited for the games themselves. The 3D battles look fantastic and I look forward to seeing the dynamic camera and the rest of the "evolutions" that Masuda-san hopes to bring to the franchise, and if the games manage to explore in plot and themes everything the mythos allows them to, I can safely say it will be one of the best Pokémon experiences to date. Unfortunately, no matter how much I keep telling myself this, I have a hard time actually getting behind the games, and I think a lot of that lies with the design of the Pokémon themselves. Pokémon to me has always been about the charm it carries with its simplicity, and while many gamers say the Pokémon designs are getting stale and uncreative, I think they're actually getting too creative. All the extra fluff and stray colors and lines just aren't what I like in Pokémon characters, and that's a hard blow to take for someone whose childhood orbited solely on one franchise. At this point, I'd rather they stop creating new creatures and focus instead on ways to enhance the experience. While I think X and Y are covering good ground in that field, there's still a long way to go.
Nathan Janc: Yes, and I'll probably buy it day one for the first time in a while. It's enticing to see what they do with their first foray into 3D.
Matthew Swaddinsgy: No. So far absolutely nothing has been revealed about the game that makes me want to own it at the moment. So far, it looks like the same old game we've been playing since Generation IV. Hopefully, something gets announced along the way that will actually affect the formula of the game.
Brian Scheid: Of course! I love me some Pokémon! I've been playing it since it first launched in the States and have been playing it since. I still remember hearing about it from some people in first grade. I remember my first game was Pokémon Red; the first Pokémon I ever saw was Machop, because it was on a trading card I saw at school in the first grade; and the first episode I saw was “Showdown at Dark City” at 5:00 AM on a Saturday. This my holy trinity of Pokémon and I always think about is when a new Pokémon game is about to come out. I just can't wait to start playing!
Elijah Holt: Of course! Pokémon was one of the first franchises that I was ever really "in to." sure, I had other games, but none of them were as must-have as Pokémon games. Hell, Pokémon is what brought me to this fine establishment, which led to my introduction to Zelda, Metroid, etc. With the new 3D outlook, I'm looking to Generation VI to be a leap ahead of the five previous generations. I'll have my pre-order copy at launch, holed up in the corner of my dorm room until I have beaten it.
Harold Teekman: Of course. Pokémon was, and probably still is, my favorite franchise. I like the Pokémon designs, I like the overworld so far (though I hope they will be more polished) and I'm excited about what the 3DS might add to the experience.
Dathen Boccabella: Definitely. The potential mythological inspired direction with the X and Y versions, plus the potential Z title, should make for an interesting premise. Despite the usual excitement of Pokémon, seeing the advancements made on the 3DS is something to look out for. The fact that the titles allude to the X-axis and Y-axis of the second dimension, and thus by extent the Z-axis of the third dimension, hopefully means the titles will deliver in using the 3DS in the overall experience.
Which starter will you choose?
Colin McIsaac: Well, a while ago, I posted about how a secondary type trinity would make the starter mechanic more interesting, and it looks like they're actually introducing Dark, Fighting, and Psychic as secondary types to these starters. That said, I have a strong history with the water-type starters and I'd I hate to break that mold, but something about the Grass-Dark combination really intrigues me. So I'm thinking I may go with Chespin, but at this point, it's really anyone's game.
Jackson Murphy: Well, I always trade on GTS to end up with all three starters. However, the original decision always holds a special place in my party, and in my heart. I won't know for sure until I get a glimpse at the final evolutions, but right now, Fennekin seems like the clear choice. I've grown to hate Fire starters with their common secondary Fighting type, but Fennekin looks like it will finally change that formula.
Matthew Swaddinsgy: Undecided. All of the first evolutions look awful right now, so I'm waiting to see their evolutions before I make my decision. If those look awful too, I'll go with Chespin.
Brian Scheid: Froakie! *Audience gasps* I know, what right? Honestly, I'm a grass starter kind of guy, I've always chosen the grass starter since Pokémon Red, and the trend has continued since. It's usually not until my second playthrough that I'll go with a Fire or Water starter, but I really like Froakie's design. I have high hopes for it, just like I did with Oshawott. I think that I shall name Froakie Zaza when I pick him and we shall have great haggis and meed!
Harold Teekman: It always depends on the design. I like reptiles, for example, but last generation's choice for me was Oshawott, because I loved those scallops turning into shell swords! But this generation will be Chespin for me.
Dathen Boccabella: It’s hard to say, as I generally judge by final evolution which we obviously are yet to see. If my decision rested solely upon the beginning forms then without question the Fire-type Fennekin. Put simply, he’s the one that has it together the most. He looks cute and unique. Chespin doesn’t even look like a Grass-type without his ‘hat.’ As for Froakie, he looks too generic for me. It’s not exactly a bad thing, but was he taken straight from the Don Gero Choir in Majora’s Mask? Or even from Banjo Kazooie’s Bubblegloop Swamp?
How do you want the franchise to improve in this entry?
Colin McIsaac: Most of what I'd like from Pokémon has either already been shown in off Pokémon X and Y or proven not to be the case. At this point, I'm just hoping for a stellar story. Black and White had a great plot that didn't really get much showtime until the end, and I'm still waiting to play Black and White 2. But if Pokémon X and Y take any hints from the mythology their legendaries draw from, I think they have potential for a plot that truly amazes. The kids that grew up with Pokémon's earliest titles are now old enough to understand profound messages hidden within a game, or at least a plot line that goes beyond "evil team wants world domination," and I think now is the perfect time to do that.
Jackson Murphy: After Black and White's great plot, I want to see the franchise take a step further and really go all out. Why stick to the same old evil “Team Blank” routine, when we can go for a more interesting approach? How about a repressive government? A corrupt Gym alliance? The protagonist's mom should be the Elite Four Champion! I've wanted so many ridiculous things from the franchise since I first played it. Though it's unlikely, I can dream. I would also like the touch screen menu from HeartGold and SoulSilver return; the C-Gear never really intrigued me.
Nathan Janc: Any advancement in story telling and the overall game world would be great. I want some real variety that draws me in rather then what always felt like the same game in a new setting.
Matthew Swaddinsgy: I want them to improve the overall stagnation of the franchise. I want them to introduce something that truly changes up the game, like the introduction of natures in Generation III and the separation of move types in Generation IV. Generation V introduced nothing that made the formula interesting, and it was extremely boring as a result.
Brian Scheid: I think that players should be able to develop more intricatel bonds with their Pokémon. Feed it, play with it, walk it (Especially your Groudon) and increase your bond with it. Each time a Pokémon's bond level increases, your Pokémon gets a stat boost. Reaching specific bond levels would grant your Pokémon the chance to learn special attacks or abilities. Plus, there should be a special dual-attack feature. Pokémon in double or triple battles can use their attacks together for special attack. For example, Safeguard plus Thunder would give you Thunder Shield, granting each party member an immunity to Electric attacks for however many turns. It'd essentially work like the Pledge moves in Black and White, but with more variety.
Elijah Holt: Oh, where do I begin? To start, I'd like to see more exploration and puzzle-type gameplay; I'd like to see the game more Zelda-esque, as opposed to the standard “wander until you get to the next city” kind of gameplay. Also, I'd like to see the standard "Team" plot line erased, or a least made into a subplot. I'd like the main plot to go a different direction, like perhaps delving into Norse mythology—Thor cameo, anyone?
Harold Teekman: Maybe some changes to the battle system, but since Generation IV, I am quite content with everything. I think Game Freak has nearly perfected the formula, but who knows? I could be wrong.
Dathen Boccabella: People say that Pokémon has gone stale, which is a fair enough claim, but in reality, it just hasn’t changed. It has been the same look and style for decades and you either enjoy that or you don’t. Black and White failed to deliver the promised change, which is now necessary on the 3DS. That means completely rethinking the formula. Change the eight-gym structure and make the game story-driven from the start, instead of just increasingly as you progress. Change the starter Pokémon type and make it possible to continually have high experience point battles once you’ve done everything. Also please just put the pause menu options on the bottom screen instead of the C-Gears and whatnot. Many would say that this is no longer Pokémon, but I’d love real time battles. Let me combine my Emolga’s Thundershock with my Empoleon’s Whirlpool, like in the anime. I guess I’d like to see more console Pokémon titles like Gale of Darkness, or Colosseum, or even Stadium, and the 3DS has the capabilities for such caliber.
What's your guilty pleasure Pokémon?
Colin McIsaac: I've got to say Igglybuff there. My first Pokémon game was Gold Version, and the Mystery Egg the Daycare Couple gave to me hatched into an Igglybuff. Being six, I just thought it was the cutest thing ever, and proceeded to give it the nickname: "AAAAAWWWW!" Ever since then, I've just had a particular attachment to it.
Jackson Murphy: Bidoof. Sue me. It's not the original 151. It's 152. Bidoof is the best.
Matthew Swaddinsgy: Pichu. It's so cute. <3
Elijah Holt: Those who know me on the forums already know this, but for those who don't, I'm an absolute Honchkrow fanatic. I don't know what it is about it (maybe it's the pimpin' hat), but it's just cool. I have had one on every team that I could since Diamond and Pearl came out. On top of that, I probably have at least 6 EV trained, competitive Krows on standby. Because you never know.
Harold Teekman: I don't have any guilty pleasure Pokémon. The closest to one might be Pichu, because to me it's nearly useless, except when equipped with Volt Tackle, but I use and love it anyway.
Dathen Boccabella: Emolga. Together we soar and electrify the world.
What capabilities of the 3DS would you like to see built into the game?
Colin McIsaac: Well, what left is there to do with it that wouldn't be a gimmick? I'm excited to see what this whole "connecting to other players and playing at the same time" business is, but I don't really have any ideas at the moment for how they could make StreetPass or SpotPass anything but a gimmick. Having a battle house where you could fight CPU versions of other players and their teams would be pretty neat, and that's certainly the one thing I do hope comes out of the 3DS' features, but I have a hard time imagining I'd actually use it beyond fighting my own friends' teams.
Jackson Murphy: Well, everything. The beautiful 3D vistas are a given, and we all know StreetPass and SpotPass will be built in somehow. Maybe a “send an egg, get an egg” kind of thing. But what I really want to see is the revival of an old feature of the 3DS that hasn't been utilized for months—Augmented Reality. I want to be able to see Bulbasaur in the palm of my hand. If Nintendo followed the Kid Icarus: Uprising AR card idea, but sold them with certain unlockables coming through each one, then the big N could be raking in dough. Imagine you get your brand new event Pokémon by buying a card, and having to battle it on your desk to catch it and bring it into the game. That's the future of event Pokémon right there.
Nathan Janc: Mostly just the graphical fidelity of the system, and I wish it had all-axis movement that actually uses the Circle Pad. Unfortunately, the latter doesn't appear to be the case. I am sure a neat minigame or two with the gyroscope could be tossed in, as well. I know many may talk about the 3D effect, but I don't feel it's necessarily going to improve the experience.
Elijah Holt: I'd like to see a capability that we really haven't seen yet, but has been discussed: Wii U communication. At the vary least, I'd like to be able to play X and Y on the big screen with the 3DS as a controller. On top of that, a MMO or third-version style game that could tie in with X and Y would also be sweet (Pokémon U Version, anyone?). Other than that, I think that a StreetPass egg and/or berry swap would be neat. I'd also like to see how they could tie the gyroscope into game mechanics.
Harold Teekman: The ability to play against other trainers when you meet them with StreetPass would be great. And the built-in pedometer of the 3DS could be used like it is used with the Pokéwalker in HeartGold and SoulSilver. Leveling Pokémon up as you walk. Love it.
Dathen Boccabella: With titles like X and Y, you’d especially hope it fully utilizes the 3DS console. I’m not the game’s developing idea man, but I am sure StreetPass is the kind of function that is made for Pokémon. I'm sure they’ll incorporate some cutesy augmented-reality 3D camera based activities, but I frankly don’t really care for that. So long as they use the console’s processing capabilities to provide a larger and more visually stunning journey than ever before, I’ll be happy.
so i herd u liek mudkipz?
Colin McIsaac: Is the Space Pope reptilian?
Nathan Janc: Actually, I have a hard-on for Magikarp. SPLASH BABY, SPLASH.
Brian Scheid: Is Matt wrong about DmC: Devil May Cry being a bad game? Yes. The answer to both is yes.
Harold Teekman: i liek turchick wings meur, meur flaveur.
Dathen Boccabella: Not at all.
Now it's time for you to answer these questions! Are you excited for X and Y Versions? What starter will you choose? What was your reaction to the announcement? Do u liek Mudkipz? Let us know in the comments!