Pokemon has changed a lot in recent years. Fans have watched the transition of the main series from 2D to 3D, from handhelds to consoles, and most recently from the linear to the open-world structure. All of these things can make following the mainline Pokemon games still exciting after all these decades of playing around with Game Freak’s hundreds of different monsters.
Many fans find themselves unhappy with the current state of Pokemon, however, whether it’s because of the loss of the National Dex, the loss of fan-favorite features like Mega Evolution, or the controversial release state of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. This understandably has tipped those fans either towards the nostalgia of the older titles or towards wanting the franchise to take larger steps forward, which potentially opens the door for the franchise’s 10th generation to break one of its more recent traditions.
The Case For Pokemon To Escape 3D
A lot of the issues found in modern Pokemon games can be traced back to the transition to 3D as at least one of the root issues. A 3D world is naturally going to be more demanding to animate and render than a 2D world, and that’s sometimes come back to bite the IP. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s bugs and visual issues are a prime example of why the series could greatly benefit from returning to the two-dimensional format of old.
It wouldn’t be that strange for Game Freak to take this step with the main series games, either. Many modern JRPGs still utilize 2D pixel art styles to great effect. The Octopath Traveler series is a prime example of a successful modern JRPG utilizing pixel artwork that new Pokemon games could take a lot of inspiration from. Many other titles outside of JRPGs have also been extremely successful in the 2D space, like Hollow Knight and Dead Cells.
3D can be a notoriously difficult thing for game designers, especially when transitioning a game from 2D to 3D. Sonic the Hedgehog fans know the tumultuous transition from one dimension to another all too well. Game Freak has clearly been experiencing growing pains, which doesn’t necessarily mean it should throw in the towel, but maybe some consideration should be put into what direction the franchise needs to take to avoid similar complaints from the fanbase moving forward.
More Pokemon Traditions To Break
It might also be worthwhile for Game Freak to step back from the recent focus on the standard single battle format and give more attention to battle variants, especially double battles, which have a rich history in the franchise that deserves more acknowledgement. The spin-off Pokemon Colosseum series for GameCube should have set the standard for Pokemon double battles driving the series moving forward. The fights grant more complexity and utility to the game’s movesets and type matchups. As it is, moves like Helping Hand and Protect essentially serve no purpose in any main series Pokemon story.
The tradition of more frequent releases is another thing Game Freak could potentially reconsider, as it is also likely a contributing factor in the development issues that have plagued recent titles. Yearly Pokemon content really isn’t necessary to give one of the most profitable video game franchises in the world relevance. The sales of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet along with Sword and Shield despite divisive reviews should more than prove that the fans will line up regardless of how often the games release. Taking the time to ensure that each new generation will deliver something innovative, fresh, and exciting to the franchise will add meaningful layers to the legacy of Pokemon in the modern era.
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