We all should already know what the next Pokémon game is going to be like. There will be another one hundred-ish monsters added to the steadily growing tally, and you will once again be tasked with catching them all. There will be legendary Pokémon, a generic bird, a rat no one cares about, a cute Pikachu stand-in, a badass dragon that isn't legendary that everyone puts in their party, and a whole bunch of locked Pokémon that hackers will have access to while everyone else waits for Nintendo to hold an event to re-invigorate the waning interest in the franchise.
However, we have also seen that Nintendo is starting to spread the Pokémon franchise out into other areas. Pokémon Conquest, for example, was a huge departure from the established formula, and I for one wouldn't mind another epic Samurai/Pokémon crossover. They've made adventure games and strategy games—even photography games with Pokémon Snap. Right now, they are still focusing on the DS, which by all other accounts is dead, so that Black and White and Black and White 2 can interact with each other without major issue. So what will Pokémon be like when it finally catches up to the 3DS and the upcoming Wii U?
Well, Pokémon Snap may make a comeback. Say what you will about that game, but it would be pretty cool to see the Wii U tablet used as a camera in a new generation of Pokémon Snap. Linking the game up to whatever 3DS version of Pokémon that comes out would be a great way to give accomplished photographers bonuses in an actual Pokémon game. Internet functionality would even let you compare your photo albums with your friends'. Unfortunately, Pokémon Snap was one of those games that lived mostly off of its nostalgia factor. It wasn't exactly a blockbuster hit back in the days of the N64, so it most likely won't actually be remade.
Pokémon Stadium, on the other hand, actually does have a chance of being remade, or at least having some sort of analog produced. The Wii U is Nintendo's most graphically accomplished system to date, and the ability to have two Wii U gamepads will allow Poké-trainers to choose their RPG style commands in secret. Seeing Pokémon battle it out on the big screen is almost certain to be a huge hit, and Nintendo would be foolish to not make it happen.
Graphics for traditional handheld Pokémon games are going to be changing quite drastically in the near future. The 3DS has more graphical power than a GameCube, which means the old days of sprite battles are most likely over. We are sure to see a full 3D polygonal Pokémon game soon. However, this may not actually be the next big Pokémon game. Instead, Nintendo may remake an older title like they did with fire red, leaf green, heart gold, and soul silver. Perhaps the third generation will get the HD upgrade this time around.
The mechanical system of Pokémon is pretty well established by now. Sure, Nintendo will probably add new items and attacks, but the simple turn structure of Poké-battles will likely remain the same. The real variation will come with the new Pokémon, specifically their types. Nintendo probably won't be adding any new Poké-types any time soon. So instead, they have to experiment with the ones they have. Luckily there is still a lot of wiggle room in type combinations. In fact, I just so happen to be obsessive enough to make a list of every combination that hasn't yet been used. Here it is:
Several of these type combinations can be very powerful, like Dragon/Grass or Ice/Steel. There are also several combinations of "normal" Pokémon that haven't been explored, mostly because "normal" tends to be overwritten by whatever type the Pokémon has otherwise.
Pokémon is a series that shouldn't reinvent the wheel. It has two very obvious places it can grow. It can grow in its sub-series games through utilizing the new technologies available, or it can simply refine the system that Poké-fans have known and loved for years. Nintendo is smart. We probably won't see any violation of trust here. At the end of the game, Poké-fans will still have to catch them all. But frankly, it's ok if we get the same game over and over again, as long as that game is fun to play. And Pokémon has always been fun to play.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: October 5, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*