Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pokémon: The 3D Jump: Part 2

Monster Revamping

Welcome to Part 2 of The 3D jump, my series on how Pokémon could be upgraded to provide a more modern experience on consoles, instead of cheap rehashes of the handheld RPGs. Last time, I advocated for more basic advances; such as real-time battles and spoken dialogue. You know, to have the super old school handheld RPGs catch up with many of the advances the genre had made in the last few years. But, what I described basically amounted to Mass Effect with pocket monsters. 

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Such a game would need something to set it apart from most modern RPGs, and the way to do it is how the series set itself apart in the first place: with the Pokémon themselves. The series has always been based around capturing, raising, and ultimately conquering with your partners. The RPGs have tried to expand upon this with advances such as a Pokémon’s happiness level, but I propose taking it to the next level.

Individual to Individual

Other than shinies and a few gender differences here and there, all Pokémon of a species are represented with the same little sprite. With the jump to 3D graphics, there are possibilities to get away from such limitations. No two animals in the wild of the same species look exactly the same, so why not have the same for wild Pokémon? Each species could have their own variations on their look, such as range in height, bulk, color range, etc. Pokémon such as Houndoom or Donphan could have variations in horn/tusk length, while Vileplume and Roselia could appear with different flower colors. Install an in-game creator that randomly generates these variations on the monsters when you meet them, ensuring you meet a unique looking Pokémon every time.

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He has club envy.

On this same topic, why not have regional differences in species of Pokémon? Real world animals adapt to different habitats, so why not do the same for this series? For example, Machops in the more tropical Hoenn region could be smaller and quicker, while up north in Sinnoh they would be bulkier, to compensate for the cold climate. Just an idea.

Where Eggs Come From

Hot off the heels of my idea on individual variations in Pokémon, I also advocate some changes to the daycare. Currently, a Pokémon’s father is only good for passing on moves and a few IVs. Like that one guy in your high school who was a father to many but a dad to none. Imagine though, if characteristics from both parents could be reflected in the offspring?

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A nightmare in the making.

Say, I leave a female Lucario and a male Blaziken in the Daycare. When I hatch the offspring, the baby Riolu could have a reddish tint to its fur and be slightly taller in the legs, both inherited from its father. This could have competitive potential as well, as players could breed for better features in their Pokémon to better augment their battle roles.

Personality is More than Stat Values

In Generation III, we started noticing little blurbs saying our Pokémon had personalities. Then when we dug deeper we found out they were merely variations in stat growth, crushing our childhood perceptions that our Pokémon had emotions and loved us. Sure they have happiness levels, but those are useless unless you’re working towards a Happiness evolution. Why not make them have artificial intelligence all their own?

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You don’t have a soul!

This is one aspect of the anime I’ve always wanted the games to try to reflect. In the anime, the characters bond with their Pokémon, and the monsters all have their own unique personalities. Artificial intelligence has advanced enough in games it could be taken on in this series, and to great effect if implemented well. Just as I suggested Pokémon could have random variations in appearance, they could also have different AI personalities assigned to them when generated. Hell, I’ll throw the Tourney crowd a bone and say the Natures could still have their same stat growth affects, but have an Adamant Scizor be a headstrong dolt, while your Timid Togekiss would act, you know, timid. Higher ratings in happiness would also lead to better performance in battle, giving players an incentive to bond with their monsters. 

But wait, there’s more!

I hope at this point my vision for a 3D revamp of Pokémon is starting to look unique and new, yet still faithful to the series we’ve known and loved all of these years. But there’s one part left I haven’t discussed: battling. The monsters and their battles are the main staple of these games, everything else is icing on the cake. In Part 3 of The 3D jump, I’ll discuss how to bring the battles into the modern day, and the awesome potential therein.

What do you think of how Pokémon could be redone in 3D? Let me know in a comment. 


  1. the Nature also affects how the AI works in the battles like in the Frontier where you can't control them yourself.
    but pokemon don't need to act like real animals, that's what Nintendogs is for. or the opening screen of Pokemon Dash were you can pet pikachu and he gets mad when you pull on his ears the wrong way

  2. This is really great stuff to look at and I love your blog! Instant bookmark. If Pokemon were too make the jump to full fledged 3D Action RPG, I have my figures crossed for a PS3 port. I know it may seem like too much to ask, but still, fingers crossed >_<