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Individual Values: A Pokemon Feature - Week 62: How Much Is Too Much

Jonathan Higgins

Welcome to the sixty-second week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Sorry for the two week hiatus! You shouldn't blame Chronicles of Teddy & Yoshi's Story at all. ...Nope! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday.


Now is your chance to grab Jirachi via the Nintendo Network. No trip to GameStop necessary this time; just get your Mystery Gift via any Internet connection. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all!






How Much Is Too Much?



This past weekend, the Japanese TV show Pokénchi promised the first ever TV broadcast of Pokémon Sun & Moon. While many people misinterpreted this to mean that gameplay footage would be shown [trust me; I could go on for days about how stir-crazy the community has gotten, like I have in the past], what“s far more interesting to me is something Mr. Masuda said during the broadcast. He joked -- confirmed, but joked -- that there would be “over ten new Pokémon in [the new games]”.


"What if the number of added critters is actually teeny tiny, like even less than 6th Gen?"



Even a bit of humor can get the cogs in my head turning. The jump from Black & White [Generation 5] to X & Y [Gen 6] only brought the running total of Pokémon from 649 to 721. That increase [72] is certainly the smallest one in Pokémon“s entire history. And I think the focus of both XY and ORAS combined was to make every Pokémon obtainable again. Since newcomers to the Nintendo 3DS family of systems have almost certainly punched a decent dent in their quest to “catch ”em all”, and previous Mythical Pokémon have become widely available during the 20th anniversary... many expect 7th Generation to feature a sizable increase, like Black & White did in its day.


But Masuda“s joke has me thinking. What if the number of added critters is actually teeny tiny, like even less than 6th Gen? 721 is already a fairly large number to anyone looking at the franchise from the outside. What if Pokémon Sun & Moon combined only brought that total to 750, and instead focused on battle mechanics, an immersive story with multiple regions, and the other fodder [besides creature collecting] that makes Pokémon so great? How would people react to another increase that“s even smaller than the last?


Would the new generation even “count” in some people“s eyes if it didn“t reinvent the wheel [like 6th did by adding the Fairy Type] and only added fewer than forty new Pokémon? What makes a Pokémon Generation “count” to you all?


My personal take is that I“d prefer a game that heavily focused on narrative, world-building, and adding new Mega Evolutions and ways to use the 720 Pokémon we already have...instead of adding 100 new ones so that we can forget, or competitively replace, several of them. I“d rather a Pokémon game spend time improving its more flawed or dated mechanics over just coming up with new things to catch with each go-round.




I“m still in the camp that the region Sun & Moon takes place in will be directly connected to Kalos, like Johto to Kanto in Gold, Silver, & Crystal. While the argument that “the ultimate 20th anniversary game will just add 100 more critters to catch, emphasizing ”Train On“” is a perfectly valid one.... I“ve always thought my ideal 20th anniversary game would celebrate the many people and places and stories of Pokémon, instead of the critters themselves.


Part of making the games a living, breathing world is letting us go back to old and new places, fleshing out the narrative [in a way that doesn“t alienate newcomers], and focusing on so much more than actually...catching new ones over and over.


I“ve already asked the more controversial questions. People are angry at Masuda“s joke -- does that mean the reaction would be super-strongly negative if the increase in number was tiny, and Sun & Moon focused on other aspects of the series instead? I“m interested to know how you all feel.

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