Pokémon is impossibly good. I mean to say that it’s impossible that a game first released in 1998 has kept me away from my Xbox 360/PS3, the pinnacles of gaming technology, for a solid week. By all conventions of technology, Pokémon should be nothing more than a fond memory. Like the briefcase cell-phone, the room-sized personal computer, and the VHS, Pokémon should have been defeated by newer technology a decade ago.
The story? Non-existent. A couple dozen lines of poorly-written dialog don’t constitute a story. The graphics? Sub-par. The gameplay? Like, three buttons and an off-switch. Pokémon is an anomaly. It shouldn’t exist in its current form. Yet it does, and does so very well. But what if Japanese developer Game Freak finally decides to stop proving wrong every convention of technology and instead starts utilizing the best hardware available to create a Pokémon game that the world has been waiting for?
Pokémon becomes the only Wii U game that doesn’t suck
Isn’t the unwilling to develop games for such a complicated system. Indeed, with the failures of the 3DS torpedoing Nintendo’s profits, they need an ace in the hole now more than ever. With the help of Game Freak, Nintendo could turn around their pattern of their gimmicky systems failing miserably (Virtual Boy anyone?).
With Black and White having just released and no clear commitment to the Wii U from Game Freak, a fully-fleshed out console Pokémon title seems just as far off as it has always been. The most we can expect in the next year is yet another mediocre filler title designed to do nothing more than further line the pockets of Game Freak executives.
But let’s say that at this point, having reached the logical conclusion to their color-named games, Game Freak realizes they either have to seriously consider developing Pokémon Purple or make a real Pokémon game for consoles. With the Wii U out and struggling like a Magikarp to stay afloat in 2012, Nintendo is desperate. Their most recent experiment is starting to look like the GameCube and 3DS; seriously threatening their fiscal standing. So they turn to one of their most reliable developers, Game Freak, to flip the game on its ear.
In late 2012, Game Freak announces a full-length Pokémon that utilizes the full capabilities of the Wii U. The game is revealed to be a third-person MMORPG, designed to test the limits of the new, more powerful Wii U with support for hundreds of players online. Videos soon surface of the fledgling system’s controller being used to spot wild Pokémon in the grass and as a convenient inventory screen. Speculation arises about the format of the game; whether it will be a remake starting with Blue, Red, and Yellow.
Not a remake – a redo
Having explored the full possibilities of the original top-down series, Game Freak decides to venture into a world they’ve been peeking into for years: the MMO stage. With a strong community of gamers who have been trading online for years, the leap from the DS to the Wii HD is made easier. In the middle of 2013, as sales of the Wii U have plummeted amidst a terrible offering of games, Game Freak decides if they don’t prop up the struggling system, it will tank before their game is complete.
At E3 2013, Pokémon HD is unveiled and playable on the show floor. Players explore Kanto and try to catch the first 150 Pokémon. But unlike other Pokémon games, in which interactions with other players are limited to battles and trading in select venues, Pokémon HD is a fully interactive online experience; much like WoW and LOTRO. Cities are buzzing with trainers looking to trade wares and exchange tips on where to catch rare Pokémon.
The world of Kanto is massive and takes many cues from the anime series. Players can fully customize their trainer, so no one looks quite the same. Different offerings as to what types of trainer further the replay value and keep players clamoring for more. As the first game only features the original 150 Pokémon, rare Pokémon are insanely difficult to locate, and even harder to capture.
When Pokemon HD hits the ground running, the Wii U takes off in sales, with Nintendo finding success they haven’t seen since the Game Boy. Game Freak has massive servers running at full capacity that still crash due to the overload of players grabbing their first Pokémon in Pallet town. Further, battling to become the best Pokémon trainer in the world is not the sole objective of the game anymore. Various quests, including defeating rampaging Pokémon, battling Team Rocket and getting rid of Tentacruels on beaches make players work together in traditional MMO fashion.
Game Freak uses every aspect of the Wii U controller, from shaking it to rustle wild Pokémon out of tall grass to using it as an itemfinder to scan areas for hidden loot. And with a steady stream of DLC (now possible on the Wii U’s much more impressive hard drive), players are treated to countless quests, NPCs, rare Pokémon and battles.
Unfortunately, we all know from experience that this will never happen. Even with the perfect opportunity to change course with the Wii U, Game Freak will continue to churn out carbon copies of Pokémon Blue and Red for the handheld for years to come. And the Wii U will likely putter out and hit the wall before reaching its true potential. Just like with the 3DS, Nintendo has created yet another console that developers will undoubtedly avoid, spurring an early death. But hey, you can’t blame a Snorlax for dreaming.
Nationally unacclaimed freelance writer Jonathan Deesing has been writing about video games for dozens of weeks. His professional knowledge ranges from skiing to Peruvian history and of course, anything with buttons. If you can't get enough of his musings, check out his Twitter feed.