Pokémon GO took the world by storm, and even though interest has dwindled over the last several months, it hasn't stopped the Pokémon Company from thinking about the future of mobile Pokémon games; on smartphones and the Nintendo Switch. With the rumors that Nintendo was working on a mobile game based on The Legend of Zelda came the very small tidbit stating that the Pokémon Company has multiple mobile games in the development queue.
That's great news for any fan of Pokémon, and even greater news if you're still a fan of #PokemonGO; because it helped show the potential that the franchise has on mobile devices - and it looks as though that was all Nintendo needed to give the green light.
So What Can Fans Expect?
Considering that there are already a few mobile Pokémon games out there, it's still a little mystery. But based on what's out there we can make some logical assumptions. Currently on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store gamers can find:
- Pokémon Shuffle - The match 'em game
- Pokémon TV - episode streaming
- Camp Pokémon - kid-friendly app
- Pokémon Duel - A 'board game' experience
- Pokémon GO - The augmented reality game
With a fair variety of games currently available it's fairly safe to say that we likely won't be given a new game that bears similarity to one currently on the market. Since the Pokémon Company is going to want to be wise with what they develop as to offer something new and fresh, there are 3 obvious choices.
1. A Collectible Trading Card Game
This is what the current rumors point to and it would be a great way to test the waters to a point for the Pokémon Company. With the popularity of the physical trading card game, a mobile version would be the easiest to introduce especially since it already exists.
Currently there is an online service called Pokémon Trading Card Game Online (PTCGO) which is available only on tablets, PC and Mac and allows players to use QR codes on the physical packs and theme boxes along with online purchases to collect new cards and battle other players on line. Considering that there is already an app available for tablets, it should be fairly easy to make a version available for smart phones as well.
Yet, it's more likely that the Pokémon Company wants to reach a broader audience (players who don't buy physical packs) so the hunch is that there will be an entirely different app available similar to what Nintendo released in the late '90s on the Game Boy - Pokémon Trading Card Came. This would let anyone join in the game and not require purchasing physical card packs.
2. A Card Based Battle Game
If the rumors hold true that the Pokémon Company is working on a card-based game, then a new iteration would be well received considering how popular card-based battle games are now. Just look at games like Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat X and even more fanservic-ey games like Valkyrie Crusade or Lies of Astaroth and you'll see the potential that Pokémon has.
We already know how the Pokémon battle system work on the seven generations of games released on Nintendo handheld consoles over the last nearly 20 years. Players spend time exploring and capturing various Pokémon, while using a team of 6 creatures to train and battle.
That's the basic plot of nearly every card-based battle game. Collect. Level Up. Battle. Collect More. Level Up More. Taking that general game style and transitioning it to a card based collection would be a great way for the Pokémon Company to join in the success that other major companies are having with the card-based system.
3. An Open World RPG Based on the Handheld Games
Now this would likely be a stretch considering that it may/may not take quite a bit of developing, but if Nintendo and the Pokémon Company truly wanted to reach the largest fanbase then the smartest move would be to introduce an RPG game that matches the games launched across the various Nintendo handheld consoles since 1996.
If you took a poll of gamers who currently use emulators to experience their beloved Pokémon Games, I think that the numbers would be staggering. There is a large collection of fans that would jump at the possibility of experiencing a Pokémon Adventure that truly utilizes the graphics capability of current generation smart phones.
Using an RPG base would match well with what Nintendo & The Pokémon Company have successfully kept alive for the last 20 years, so transitioning that style to mobile devices would reach the widest spectrum of gamers, as you'd get new players and old join together in their adventure to catch them all.
What do you think? Is it time for Nintendo and the Pokémon Company to deliver one of these game styles, or do you think it should be something completely different?