The thing about the pika-clones is that Gamefreak has stopped trying to use them to recapture pikachu’s popularity and seems to now be making them just for the sake of tradition, just like the generic birds and rodents. But at least diggersby and talonflame have had multi-dimensional designs, cool new elements, and awesome hidden abilities to make up for their low stats. So if Gen 7 has a new electric rodent, do you think gamefreak could do the same and make it actually interesting and useful?
Okay well first of all I don’t think VII having a new Electric rodent is an “if.” And certainly they could, and I hope they will. I agree that Diggersby and Talonflame (and I suppose to a lesser extent even Vivillon, I will grudgingly admit) prove that there’s scope for cleverness even within the “templates.” Emolga, I thought, was a good start, though Dedenne was a rather depressing return to form. And I suppose one could argue that Se Jun Park’s famously creative use of Pachirisu in the 2014 world championship gives them some justification for continuing to include Pokémon that demand a very… unconventional strategic approach, though not much (I believe we are still waiting on such championship-level breakthroughs for Farfetch’d, Delibird, Kricketune, Phione, Girafarig… you know, I’m just not going to list them). They may by this point actually regard competitive uselessness as an essential part of the template. So of course they could; that doesn’t mean they will.