One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
With regional variants no longer restricted to gen I Pokémon, it might be a good time to consider which of the Unovan Pokémon you rejected you would like to give a regional vatiant?
There’s probably a fair bit you could do by building on the
industrial revolution theme that some of the generation VIII material we’ve
seen already seems to be going for. I
could see Heatmor getting some kind of region-specific evolution that builds up
to a whole steam engine, maybe changing its type to Fire/Water or Fire/Steel (although
the implied comparisons to Volcanion or Heatran would not be flattering). Or even a Galarian form of… [ahem]…
grbdr… that’s based on a sack of coal, making it a Fire/Poison-type that also
gets Rock attacks. Then, on another angle,
we could have a Steel/Fairy form of Pawniard and Bisharp based on white pieces
from the famous Lewis chess set from Mediaeval Scotland, to contrast the original
black Unovan ones. Possibly some sort of
“royal” form for Swanna, but I’m not sure where exactly to take that.
You mentioned a while back that if you had your way, Pokémon would have less types, and Water would be one of the types on the chopping block. Can you elaborate more about which types you’d cut and why, and what would remain in your ideal type chart?
It goes through… iterations, depending on how much wild abandon I’m feeling from day to day, and what kind of scope I’m imagining for whatever hypothetical redesign of the Pokémon games that would give me this opportunity. The common thread of my logic is that (contrary, I think, to a lot of fans) I don’t believe more types actually make the game better. Once you have about seven or eight you’ve probably already exhausted 90% of the strategic depth they add to the battle system (compare the TCG, which originally had just seven, although it was more or less forced to expand to eleven by the introduction of new types in generations II and VI, as well as the proliferation of Dragon-types starting in generation III). Having more just makes it harder to memorise all the relationships, and makes the game harder to get into. Like, I get it because I had the bulk of it seared into my impressionable child brain when I was nine, changes in generations II and VI notwithstanding, but if I picked up my first Pokémon game today, in my late 20s, I’m not sure I’d think that was worth my time (though I admit it helps that recent games in the core series display the type effectiveness of your moves against your opponents). There’s an argument that more types enable a wider range of creature designs, but I think you can actually achieve the same result with fewer types more broadly defined. But let’s actually take a stab at answering this question.
It’s been a while since we here at Pokémaniacal introduced something new, but with the end of the Gen VII Pokédex in sight, we thought we might try something a little different and begin a spotlight series. This monthly series will take the form of a conversation or interview between Chris and I (Jim the Editor) around the subject of one of Chris’ past projects throughout the eight-year history of this blog. Of course, as good historians, all references to old works will be linked to so if you’re new to the blog, you won’t be left in the dark and can follow on with the loyal few who have followed us from BlogSpot, to Tumblr and finally to our new-ish home on WordPress.
Now, before you stop reading and accuse us of just lazily pointing at old content in the ever-going quest for more clicks (I mean, yes, I’d be a liar if I said that wasn’t part of it), the real aim of this series is to allow us both – mainly Chris – to revisit some of his older works and address what /he/ liked about some of his older stuff, where his perspective has changed, and whether he might do things differently now. It’s a way of updating and revisiting some of the earlier stuff without having to trawl through each of the 2,237 posts on the site to date individually… Which I don’t think anyone wants. Anyway, without further ado, let’s get to it – please let us know what you think of our topic and this new series in the comments – be sure to include any old posts which you would like to see covered next!
Type (re)Design 1: I doubt the logic of type differences will ever be rigorously explained in-game to satisfy veterans who grew up with the series but I am curious about tinkering with weaknesses/strengths from a design perspective. For instance, I think it’s a design flaw that Rock- and Ground-type – hardy “earthen types” if you will – have so many weaknesses in common because it that discourages these types from appearing together in future designs given how crippling a 4× weakness to both common Water- and Grass-type attacks can be. An early idea I had was to combine these types into a single Earth-type but I realize this is unlikely and would mean cancelling out some of the more interesting resistances/immunities of either Rock- and Ground-types. My other idea would be to remove Ground-type weakness to Water-type attacks (becoming 1× normal damage) and remove Rock-type weakness (also becoming 1× normal damage) to Grass-type attacks. That means the Rhyhorn and Geodude families for instance would only suffer 2× weakness to either Grass- or Water-type attacks.
Thoughts? Or is this plea overly specific?
I have… a bit of a history of badmouthing Ground as a type that doesn’t really have a point, or any thematic unity. You could get rid of it, I think, and we would manage without it. I tend to think that, all else being equal, a smaller and less complicated type chart is actually better, as long as it doesn’t restrict design space. There is an argument that we need some variable in the game that makes Flying Pokémon immune to Dig, Earthquake and Magnitude, but every other strength and weakness of the Ground type either overlaps with Rock (as you noted – weak to Grass and Water, strong against Fire) or doesn’t actually seem flavour-essential. Why do Ground attacks need to do extra damage to Poison-types? Or reduced damage to Bug-types? There are also plenty of Ground attacks that… don’t seem like Flying-types should automatically dodge them? Drill Run, Mud Shot, Sand Tomb, Earth Power… Bonemerang, for heaven’s sake. I think it would actually make more sense to have specific attacks flagged as “this doesn’t work on anything that flies or levitates.”