Pokémon is a game franchise full to the brim with imaginative features and exciting gameplay, and its world has kept millions of gamers engaged and entertained since it first released for the original Game Boy back in 1996.
However, despite there being many iterations of the incredibly popular franchise over the years, #Pokemon has never embraced one idea in particular—taking the highly successful Pokémon formula and spicing it up by bringing it into the expansive realm of open-world gaming.
Gotta Catch 'Em All!
Without a doubt, the main feature that would make an open-world Pokémon game so attractive to fans of the franchise would be the direction it took in incorporating the stars of the show, the Pokémon themselves!
In a typical Pokémon game, players can roam around the world using fairly linear paths, finding Pokemon in areas such as tall grassy patches, or inside the depths of gloomy caves. Encountering these wild Pokémon lets the player capture them with a Pokéball, taming them.
However, an open-world iteration of Pokémon would certainly have scope to change this formula. Instead of the standard encounter in which the player is thrown into a one-on-one battle with a wild Pokémon, it may instead involve tracking down and capturing a Pokémon using different methods. For example, a Squirtle may be found near to a river or lake, and the player would have to venture to that type of area to track down and capture one, potentially following tracks or using lures. Just like #PokemonGO, but without needing to actually go outside!
This system would be similar to that of Red Dead Redemption, in which certain animals could only be hunted in the areas they were most likely to live in, and players would therefore have to work hard to explore various habitats in order to capture wild Pokémon and fill up their Pokedex.
Incorporating this sort of tracking system could also open up possibilities for how the player could catch the Pokémon they find. Obviously, using a Pokéball would probably be the standard method, and players could find Pokéballs of differing rarities scattered around the world. However, there may also be the potential to use other capture methods to allow for total flexibility of gameplay, possibly allowing the player to catch 'em all using a capture styler (as seen in Pokémon Ranger) instead. The possibilities are endless!
Travel Across The Land, Searching Far And Wide!
Another perk of an open-world Pokémon would be the sheer scope of the universe which could be captured within the game. Over the years, players have been able to explore beautiful regions in a number of stellar games, the most recent of which has been the Alola region introduced in the sunny scenic worlds of #PokemonSun and #PokemonMoon.
However, if Pokémon were to make the shift to open-world, then it could be entirely possible for players to experience a game in which they could travel between several of the established regions within the Pokémon universe. Imagine basking on the sunny shores of the Alola region, and afterwards going to visit the quaint hamlet of Pallet Town in the Kanto region, home of the one and only Ash Ketchum!
This scope of exploration would certainly have players everywhere clamoring to get their hands on a copy of the game, but the question still remains, which system would they play it on?
Switching To Open-World May Require Some Fresh Hardware
Making the switch to open-world would be no simple task for Pokémon. The franchise prides itself on its focus on handheld fun, letting players take their adventures on the go with systems like the #Nintendo 3DS.
However, running a fully-fledged open-world Pokemon game may require a little more power than a #3DS system can provide, and Nintendo would undoubtedly be reluctant to take the focus of Pokémon away from the handheld platform.
Now if only there was a system with the power of a home console and the portability of a handheld...
Well as luck would have it, Nintendo comes to the rescue with their new #Switch console! And an open-world Pokémon experience would certainly benefit from what the Switch has to offer.
The Switch's console-standard hardware and its in-built handheld capabilities open up a world of possibilities for the future of classic Nintendo franchises, and an open-world Pokémon game would be no exception. The Switch has already been showcased running huge titles such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and #BreathoftheWild on the go, and the power it boasts for a device with such a large focus on handheld gameplay is incredibly impressive.
Furthermore, an open-world Pokémon game would not only benefit from the hardware capabilities of the Switch, but also from the functional aspects of the innovative new console. For example, the JoyCon controllers' new and improved motion technology could be used to support potential capture methods either letting the player use motion controls to operate a capture styler or throw a Pokéball. This would certainly add an interesting element to capturing Pokémon in the wild!
Would It Be The Very Best, Like No Game Ever Was?
Pokémon is legendary in the world of gaming, and there's no doubt that it'll continue to amaze and entertain fans of the franchise for years and years to come. However, sometimes a long-standing franchise needs a fresh injection of ideas and innovation to really keep gamers interested. And no, that doesn't mean taking Pokémon to outer space (looking at you Call of Duty).
Obviously, the formula already followed by Pokémon games is completely engrossing, hence the incredible success that Nintendo has with the franchise. But no fan can deny that seeing a true next-gen Pokémon experience would be amazing!
The potential for an open-world Pokémon game is huge, and with the support of the Nintendo Switch's innovative features and its entirely new take on console gaming, it's all but guaranteed that a Pokémon game with this sort of ambition and scale would be destined to succeed.
Would you like to see an open-world Pokémon game in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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