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  1. Welcome to the fifty-seventh week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. This coming week is your last opportunity to grab Mew from participating GameStop stores. It disappears again for a while after February 24th! 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! -------------------------------- Great Expectations As you“re all reading this, we“re just a week and a day away from February 27th, 2016--the official twentieth anniversary of Pokémon Red & Green Versions respectively, and what“s being marketed internationally as “Pokémon Day”. The proverbial Hype Train has been steadily rolling along since December, with crazy physical products available for our friends in Japan, all the stuff our Official Site has outlined, kind words from Mr. Masuda and others, and...even a brand new Pokémon. That last bit“s...kind of a big deal, right? I“ll blab more about Magearna momentarily, but there are a few brief points I need to hit first: First of all: Pokémon GO is going to be at GDC 2016 (March 14-18), featured in a panel where we“ll finally hear more information about it beyond the e“er popular reveal trailer. What does this mean? Well, it means the beta-tests you“ve seen going around are collectively just one meaningless hoax after the next. And it“s definitely not releasing on February 27th, like I“ve seen some brazen folks try to report. I know it“s a slow news cycle for many gaming websites, but the amount of stretching some people are doing makes rubber-bands look bad. Next: “Pokémon Fandom”--I am generally okay with your existence, even though I don“t necessarily identify with you at all. But could you all please stop begging for The Next Big Pokémon Game Announcement already? Just look at the replies on the Message from Masuda tweet I linked to above. It“s like every time The Pokémon Company tweets something out, they“re met with a bunch of hungry wolves after their next meal. Despite some reporting it as news: with the reveal of Magearna and the anime moving ahead full swing to “Pokémon XY&Z (emphasized to emulate how the Z appears in the logo)...the fact that they“re working on another Big Pokémon Project besides GO….is expected. ...Give them time, for goodness sake. They“ll show it off when they“re ready! Okay, last bit: The release of the old Pokémon games sure is unfortunately timed, isn“t it? Most of you hardcore RPG folks are going to be a week into Fire Emblem Fates. I“m choosing a different path (n“yuk n“yuk) and playing through Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen for the first time. Plenty of other folks are out there mashing their backlog, or working through new games I haven“t thought of. Is the draw of nostalgia going to be powerful enough to get you to put down what you“re currently playing through to play 20 year-old games? Personally, I“m probably going to buy and start whichever version I end up getting (let“s be real: it“s gonna be Yellow)...but I highly doubt Old Pokémon is going to be compelling enough to get me to stop my progress in New Dragon Quest. If I“m being honest with myself: I“d say only Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is the only game almighty enough to loosen Dragon Quest“s grip upon me. Now then--where were we? Oh, right. there“s a brand new Pokémon. Japan obviously got the news first, but the West didn“t have to wait six months to catch wind of it. ...Very interesting indeed. The reveal of Magearna pushes a couple of thoughts to the surface: Magearna doesn“t necessarily mean we“ll see a 7th Generation of Pokémon this year. We saw it with Marril, Kecleon, Lucario, Zoroark and others: sometimes the reveal of a brand new Pokémon is over a year off from the Actual Game that houses them. I suspect a third 6th Generation game will arrive before Magearna does, but I“ve certainly been wrong before. I“m keeping an open mind. Magearna“s reveal could mean the 7th Generation of Pokémon is coming this year. I mean, it“s the twentieth anniversary. Could a “portable NX”, as has been theorized, be coming this year...and launch with a brand new Pokémon game? The Internet would light with the fire of a thousand Charizards, and it would explain why we“ve gone so long without word from The Pokémon company. Which side of the 7th Generation Fence do you fall on? If you“re going to be picking up the old Pokémon games on 3DS in a week, which version will you start with? Plenty of questions! I“m very interested to hear your answers! ...I think I“m going to delay next week“s Individual Values and have it go out on Pokémon Day so I can quickly write impressions of whatever Special Things go down. We“ll see! Goodness knows, as I was writing this, it was announced that Pokkén Tournament will be showcased at the newly remodeled Nintendo NY in a tournament, where the winner will go on to compete in the Championships. (And hey, did you catch the “GIVE US POKEMON Z” among the very first replies of tweet showing new footage? Don“t ever change, Internet.) Also the retail version of Pokémon Rumble World is now confirmed for North America. News can really happen at any moment. It“s kinda crazy! Either way, it“s definitely a phenomenal time to be a Pokémon fan. Here“s something cool, but unofficial to leave you all with! As the wildly marketable catchphrase goes: train on, ladies and gentlemen.
  2. Welcome to the thirty-first week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning. NOTE: This week's Individual Values will slightly spoil some content for Pokémon X&Y and Pokémon ORAS. I'll be discussing plot details. You have been warned! -------------------------------- From Z to A The previous Individual Values was actually part of a massive piece that I split in two in order to prevent my feature from becoming a borderline research paper on the Sixth Generation Pokémon games. I spent last week detailing PROJECT AZOTH (Team Flare and Team Aqua/Magma“s efforts to make “everything as it was in the beginning”), the close relationship between the Hoenn and Kalos regions, and even the possibility of interdimensional travelling within the Pokémon games. Now it“s time to detail what Game Freak could actually do with this stuff, as well as impart some new information I didn“t get to last time: Are brand new Pokémon or Pokémon Formes coming? The movies have often been ideal opportunities to show off brand new Pokémon that have never been seen in the games thus far. Hoopa and the Clash of Ages is no exception. While #721 Volcanion hasn“t been officially announced yet, I don“t think what you“re seeing above is anything close to what hackers have uncovered. The image is a screen-cap from the Hoopa and the Clash of Ages preview courtesy of CoroCoro in Japan. In addition to what CoroCoro showed, there's a new Pokémon that was sketched from a friend of Serebii.net who attended the film. What we“re looking at could be two new Formes of existing Pokémon, or even two brand new species of Pokémon not yet released. I“m not about to speculate what they could be based on a tiny screen and a few sketches. I“m guessing the larger one may be a new Forme of Zygarde. But the other one has me a little perplexed. Rather than try to guess what it is — instead I“ll just ask this: Could it be possible that the 721-Kalos Pokédex is incomplete? Are there more Pokémon in the sixth generation that are lying in wait for the next game, instead of in a brand new region? There“s one specific pattern Game Freak follows that“s always bothered me about X&Y. Ever since Diamond & Pearl, there have been at least two sets of “Legendary Trios”. In that game“s case — the Legendary Pokémon Dialga, Palkia and Giratina were also accompanied by Mespirit, Uxie and Azelf — the three Emotion Pokémon. In the Kalos Pokédex, there is only one Legendary Trio to be found--Xerneas, Yveltal and Zygarde. There are no Legendary Birds, Beasts, Emotions, Weather Pokémon, or anything go alongside the “Mascot Legendaries” in XY. Are they going to be revealed in the next game? Or am I just thinking in patterns too much? Lysandre and Zygarde Looking at Zygarde“s Pokédex entries ties this Legendary Pokémon closely with Kalos“s ecosystem. It says it“s going to appear whenever the ecosystem of that specific region is threatened. Since Kalos was never really in danger outside of when Lysandre fired the Ultimate Weapon after his defeat — and only used a fraction of its power, mind you — Zygarde never appeared. The protagonist of X&Y merely came to it in its cave, instead. I think Zygarde“s Pokédex entry could yield a slight clue as to what the plot of a potential “Pokémon Z” could be. In order for Zygarde to appear, I think Lysandre — or any conceivable villain in the Kalos region, would have to succeed in actually threatening the balance of life within the region. If the game is a rehash of the story similar to Pokémon Platinum, perhaps the protagonist will fail to reach Xerneas/Yveltal in time, and Zygarde will appear to stop Lysandre instead. If the game is a sequel... I“m not really sure how the events leading to Zygarde“s appearance would play out. But it could lead to seeing way more destruction in the next Pokémon game than folks saw in X&Y. The mere prospect of a Lysandre that succeeds in his endeavors — however briefly — is exciting, to me. Would AZ try to stop him? Looker? Zinnia? Bringing up looker and Zinnia will actually be a fine way to wrap up this discussion. I think we“re going to see something besides Pokémon Z in the 6th Generation“s Story. Pokémon ORAS just leaves too much open to interpretation for me to believe that“s all Hoenn has to offer. Looker“s still sitting there with no memory. Zinnia just scooted off to pursue other endeavors. AZ“s Floette“s flower is sitting under that tree signaling he could be in Hoenn, possibly. I think it“s (slightly) possible that Game Freak could announce Pokémon Z for Winter 2016, but offer something unprecedented for those players lying in wait: downloadable content. A DLC episode similar to how the Delta Episode played out could do many things. First of all, Game Freak wouldn“t have to worry about confusing new players, since it“ll be downloadable content only available after beating the Elite 4. It gives them the chance to do crazy stuff like bring up PROJECT AZOTH again, and multiple dimensions. Instead of a brand new game, DLC that showcases new areas in the Hoenn region while revisiting key spots and developing plot, could offer enough to neatly wrap up Hoenn“s story… ...or leave players on a cliff-hanger that will be revisited in “Pokémon Z”. The third, final Generation 6 game could feature a separate story for the Kalos region that brings back Lysandre and welcomes new players/a new protagonist, but hides multiple allusions to the Hoenn DLC completed by returning players that are easily connected and understood — like Zinnia, for example. It wouldn“t be too hard to work in references and important people that seem new to some, but that returners know very well. It“ll be interesting to see what plays out. What do you think "Pokémon Z" will be? Next year marks the 20th Anniversary of Pokémon...so you know Game Freak is going to pull all the stops and show off plenty of surprises. I think DLC (I“ll dub it “Pokémon A”) preluding "Pokémon Z" (to make the full story “AZ” — beginning to end) is just one of those surprises. That“s enough of my conspiracy theories. Be sure to share yours (or even tell me how wrong or crazy I am)! Next week is another Region Spotlight. Stay tuned!
  3. Welcome to the twenty-fifth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning. -------------------------------- Use Foresight to Predict E3 2015 Surprises Hard to believe that by this time next week, E3 2015 will be over and I“ll be on a plane back to my home from the West Coast. I suppose a lot can happen in seven days. Regardless of how you feel about press conferences, all the hype, and the fact that a few people will all get together inside a convention center for a few hours each day... E3 could be the epicenter of several paradigm shifts for the industry, Nintendo, and Pokémon. Or not. Right on the cusp of some of our E3 Predictions, it“s time for us to figure out what specific Pokémon-related things, games and announcements could be revealed in Los Angeles! Here are my educated guesses. Maybe I“ll throw in an off-the-wall suggestion along the way. Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon will be playable Since it“s coming out in Japan in just a few months (and in the United States by Winter, and in Europe during the first part of 2016), I have to assume the game is far along in development. Hopefully we“ll get a definitive release date during the Nintendo Digital Event, but I won“t hold my breath. Regardless, I am officially on the PSMD hype train, especially after seeing the game“s debut trailer. It may follow the same formula as Gates to Infinity, but it certainly seems to have a lot more content! Speaking of which, have you read my Pokémon Mystery Dungeon-focused IV piece yet? The next mainline Pokémon game... could be announced, but it probably won“t be playable, and it probably isn“t coming this year. We“ve had a bunch of side content coming from the franchise lately. Between Shuffle, Rumble World, and now PSMD... I“m quite certain there are a number of distractions out there to keep fans busy until the next great adventure, which is probably farther off than some are hoping. What could it be, though? Does anyone have any ideas? I reaffirm that I think we“re getting a “third game” that blends elements of both Pokémon ORAS (Zinnia) and Pokémon X&Y (Zygarde) together — Pokémon Z! But speaking of distractions...there“s a game I haven“t brought up for a while hitting arcades in Japan this July. Have you forgotten? Pokkén Tournament will be announced during the Nintendo Digital Event as coming to Wii U worldwide in Q1 2016 I really hope it“s playable. And I also hope Nintendo has a decent-sized portion of its booth devoted to versus matches among attendees like they did for Smash Bros. and Splatoon last year. The unique arcade stick all but confirms a console variant is on the way. Pokémon Social Media here in the states and in Europe haven“t exactly been quiet about the game this whole time. Why not choose E3 to announce it, especially if there“s no mainline game coming until late next year? Will Pokémon amiibos be announced? I doubt any of it“s true, but sleuths have certainly seen rumors to that effect. I“m scared, y“all. I“m so, so scared (here“s an earlier IV that explains why). Okay, here“s an off-the-wall-one to wrap us up! What if...Pokémon Snap 2? Pokémon Stadium U?! I would backflip for either one. If The Pokémon Company has dispatched secret Alakazams or Gardevoirs to this location to read my mind... can either one of these please happen?? Pokémon Snap would be phenomenal to experience on Wii U. You could post photos of Pokémon seamlessly to the Miiverse... use the Wii U Gamepad“s gyro-scopic controls to move around freely in all directions (assuming the game continued the on-rails nature of its predecessor). Heck, why not make the Gamepad the camera itself and have the game be first-person and off-rails? The possibilities are endless. ...And listen, I know battling in Pokémon has become more seamless than ever, and we don“t need to see all 720 known creatures in stunning high-definition because they“re already 3D on our handhelds. But a guy can dream, can“t he?! I just want to see again. That“s all for me this week. Maybe I“ll have time enough to compile a “Greatest Bits of Pokémon at E3 2015” while I“m in Los Angeles. If not, I still have a cool side thing for next Friday“s Individual Values! What are your Pokémon-related E3 predictions?! Are mine right on the money, or do you think I couldn“t be more wrong? Be sure to let me know!