Sun and Moon will be the next major entries into the Pokémon series, the seventh generation in a franchise celebrating its 20-year anniversary tomorrow (27 February) with the digital re-release of the original Red, Blue and Yellow GameBoy games for Nintendo 3DS.
The new games, which leaked earlier this week, were confirmed during a brief Direct broadcast earlier today. No much was given away, so we thought we'd run through a few of the features we'd like to see in the first non-remakes to arrive since the sweeping changes introduced in 2013's X and Y.
There are minor improvements we'd like to see, such as a streamlining of the Global Trade System, the introduction of multiple save slots and addition of more Mega Evolutions, but to save time droning on about those, we've kept our wish list of five to more interesting changes for the series.
A Pokéwalker app
Nintendo is making major moves in the mobile market this year thanks to a partnership with DeNA, the first product of which is a social networking app called Miitomo – which will be released in March. An app could be the ideal way to re-introduce the Pokéwalker – a pedometer which interacted with the remakes of Silver and Gold released back in 2009.
Each step a player takes in a real world would help train a Pokémon from the game that they had transferred to it. There would also be encounters with wild Pokémon and items picked up along the way. It would be an ideal use for a companion app released on smart devices, but may prove an idea that steps on the toes of Pokémon GO too much.
Bring back Pokémon Snap
In 1999 Nintendo published Pokémon Snap, a unique, on-rails N64 game that tasked players with taking pictures of Pokémon. Players would use items to lure out Pokémon and judged on the quality of their pics. It's baffling that there hasn't been a sequel, especially on Nintendo's current Wii U and 3DS consoles – which seem custom-built to support such a game.
If a full game isn't going to happen, it would perfect sense to include a Snap-like mode in a future mainline Pokémon game, particularly given the fully-3D models introduced in X and Y. With today's picture-obsessed social media culture Nintendo could easily allow players to share their photos online as well.
Pokémon Yellow was the first game in the series that had the player character followed around by one of his Pokémon. In that case it was Pikachu, because Yellow was based on the television series and in that the series' mascot refused to get inside a Pokéball.
The feature later appeared in Nintendo DS games Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and remakes Heart Gold and Soul Silver, but hasn't appeared since. With the greatly improved character models for Pokémon, this would be great visually and continue the growing series of trend of a great cohesion between the Pokémon we know and world we occupy. For much of the series, Pokémon primarily existed separately in battles and on PCs, not so much in the world itself.
A nemesis system
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor ended up becoming a cult classic because of its intuitive "Nemesis System" – which helped forge rivalries between the player and orcs that would span multiple fights. These orcs would appear sporadically, even during missions. Strangely, no game since has taken influence from this.
Pokémon could. I'm not saying that Brogg the Skinless should pop up and start bothering teenagers and their Squirtles, but what if the rival system that has been well-established in the series to date was expanded well beyond a handful of characters.
Rivals have always appeared throughout your adventures to challenge you, and in Gold and Silver players would receive calls from trainers who would want to fight again – but I'm thinking of a system that has you creating rivalries with those you happen across throughout the game, who later appear in the hope of a rematch with a team that grows as yours does. It could greatly improve Sun and Moon's post-game as well.
Pokémon in space
The Pokémon series has long flirted with science fiction and outer space. Some Pokémon are known to be from outer space or other dimensions, and others are only rumoured to be. In Delta Episode – a post-game download for 3DS remakes Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire – you briefly travel to space to battle Deoxys, the only confirmed alien Pokémon.
It could be setting up a future trip to space, which would open up the possibilities of more alien Pokémon. Imagine if Sun and Moon included a brief excursion to the Moon itself? Where all new 'mons were found.
Pokémon Sun and Moon are set for release later this year on Nintendo 3DS.