Grand Duke Khollow asks:

What would You think if Game Freak released an Ultra Beast game? You would play a member of the Ultra Recon Squad traveling between ultra wormholes, stopping hostile Beasts from rampaging, and training your own Beasts. All the old Ultra Beasts would return, plus about 100 new ones.


well, it’s certainly an idea

I guess the immediately obvious issue is that the game would focus on a very small fraction of the roster of existing Pokémon – and not any of the popular “big name” ones either, but ones that… well, my impression at least has been that they were quite divisive with the fanbase, which isn’t really surprising because they were deliberately designed to be unlike other Pokémon (as all the new Ultra Beasts presumably would be as well).  So… it’s a game that probably wouldn’t ever get made, whether by Game Freak or by any other studio ordained by the Pokémon Company, because you’re not using any of the stuff that makes Pokémon a valuable and dependable IP.  It’s an extremely bad bet, just economically.  From the perspective of a designer who set out wanting to make a game with this premise… well, you’d have a lot more freedom if you didn’t make it as a Pokémon game.  If you don’t actually want the vast majority of Pokémon’s existing worldbuilding and designs anyway, why deal with the hassle of licensing, or shackle yourself to the corporate masters of the Pokémon brand?  I mean, are you so wedded to the sheer charisma of *checks notes* Celesteela and Buzzwole that you can’t imagine making your sci-fi monster-hunting wormhole-jumping adventure without them?

Of course, none of that necessarily means it would be a bad game if you did make it.  I mean, it’s sufficiently weird and off the wall that I genuinely have no idea whether it would turn out well, but honestly “weird and off the wall” kinda sounds good right now, and frankly, writing the words “sci-fi monster-hunting wormhole-jumping adventure” just now has more or less convinced me that a game with this premise has the potential to be awesome.  Just let your designers go wild creating alien-looking monsters and bizarre environments.  Develop the city of Ultra Megalopolis, its characters and its history.  Ultra Beasts are supposed to be a riff on the concept of invasive species, so there’s an interesting thematic angle in seeing all these weird, alien creatures getting accidentally mixed up in each other’s weird, alien environments, causing chaos and disrupting ecosystems until you can pacify them.  Like, you get to be a sci-fi adventurer-naturalist; what’s not to love?

14 thoughts on “Grand Duke Khollow asks:

  1. I’m delighted at how confused and reticent you were at this idea, because I’ve recently replayed US and less than a month ago I was talking to my (admittedly unenthusiastic) friend about how much I love the UBs’ unique aesthetic and wish we had a better look at their world than just seeing eleven* of them.

    There’s so much to explore! They seem to be all from different areas in the same world- If they aren’t, how are they all related by ability, and all biologically similar enough to be well caught by beast balls? Still, I’m curious: what are the bottom feeders in this world. The rattatas. Is kartana high or low in the food chain. Why is there only no light near necrozma, is it like how its theft of “Earth”’s light would have stopped at Alola? Why don’t the Ultra Megalopolisans relocate?

    I know a game based on this world might not be very profitable, but I’d adore a spin off. I am indeed wed to the charm of xurkitree and stakataka, and I want to see at least a small regional dex with them. Aren’t you curious what a fairy type UB would look like?

    (*fifteen if you count the cosmog line and necrozma, but necrozma is a literal deity, and although they live in Ultra Space and are well-known to the Ultra Recon Squad the games aren’t eager to categorize cosmog as UBs. Hell, it doesn’t even make sense but these guys, who are just as alien as every other creature from their world, fall under regular Poké Balls’ jurisdiction, not Beast Balls. I like to imagine cosmog to be adjacent to a dratini or goomy in Ultra Space.)

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  2. I really like this idea! (But what I really would love is an Ultra Beast dating sim.)
    Although I’d be very surprised if Game Freak decides to expand upon Ultra Beasts or Ultra Space at all until the release of SassySun and MustyMoon in 2038, even in a spin-off game.
    Taking the general concept and filling it with new IP would be just as good though, and the framing would also be a great way to distinguish the game from Pokémon. Maybe it could be an Action-RPG?


  3. As someone who loved the Ultra Beasts, sure, I’d greatly enjoy to learn more about them and explore their world… but I fully agree with you that at some point, it’s barely even Pokémon and isn’t worth sticking the IP on this idea. Monster raising games are popular right now and this can easily just be its own thing, unrelated to Pokémon. Yeah, the dozen Ultra Beasts we’ve seen can’t be in it, but as much as I love Celesteela, it’s just… silly to center an entire new game idea around a dozen very obscure monsters from a series with a cast of nearly a thousand? Just make an entirely new IP then.


    1. …it IS pokémon though. And it’s not like you’d be *shackling* yourself to anything besides,,, the very pitch of the game? Training & befriending UBs of UB aesthetics, with Beast Balls, in a world with Ultra Space’s atmosphere.

      It’s not like existing in the same multiverse as the Pokémon world will make the hypothetical game suffer. Alola doesn’t have to have any more development in it than Ultra Space had in the Original Sun & Moon, and it’d be fine with even less. Look at Mario Spinoffs: Luigi’s Mansion and Captain Toad don’t suffer because their world has other things in it, or alienate fans of either the original or the spinoff. If anything they’re richer for it.

      It’d be awkward and stilted to cut out the entire basis of the thing from the finished product, and it certainly wouldn’t give more creative freedom, unless you wanted to go so far from the original concept (train UBs! They’re Pokémon, but have a different aesthetic and world!) as to become another thing entirely (sci-fi monster hunter expy, monster training mixed in), or you wanted to turn this into some M rated Bayonetta level stuff. Which, well, I don’t see a single reason for this game to be more explicit than Orre.

      When I thought of this my own way (I’m the anon above, i still need to put the effort into wrangling wordpress into being agreeable.) I thought about digimon: it’s a monster training franchise that doesn’t even try to put most of its designs in every game, and although it’s sometimes a mess for this, they have the freedom to make designs for a specific atmosphere that isn’t the one the series always keeps, such as appmon. It wouldn’t be a problem if the mainline series never wanted to include the rattata equivalent UB, it’s not like we live and die by the National Dex anymore.

      Also, consider: in the postgame you can find a few regular Pokémon through Ultra Wormholes. Since they are odd aliens and nobody here knows how to breed them, unlike regular ‘ol beasts, they’re kinda rare and hard to get, too. The dex says this one named “Pikachu” is a popular first partner in its home world, given its social behavior.


      1. I should repeat that I don’t think any of this makes it a *bad idea* as such, or that I don’t think it could be a really good game – I just don’t see why anyone would ever make it. I believe this with equal certainty about *many* concepts that I would love to see made. To my mind you can look at this from the perspective of either the people who run Pokémon now (Game Freak, Nintendo, the Pokémon Company) or the people who would be making this game (some other hypothetical studio that I guess is really into Ultra Beasts?). If you’re the Pokémon Company, you’re a soulless corporate entity that mostly cares about doing things on an established model that you know will work, selling them with the immense popularity of your existing cast of hundreds of fantastic creatures. You don’t see why you should fund a game that breaks from formula in order to spotlight a very small number of not especially popular Pokémon and introduce a bunch of new ones that will, by their very nature, be a pain to work into other future properties.

        If you’re an independent studio, then you want to make a game about travelling through wormholes taming and training bizarre alien monsters. You don’t want the Pokémon world, as we know it. You don’t want 98% of the Pokémon that already exist. You don’t want an aesthetic style that fits with them. You don’t want the standard structure of the Pokémon games, with its gyms and badges and so on. You want Ultra Wormholes, but, like, Pokémon doesn’t own the concept of wormholes, hasn’t done anything all that interesting with the way it portrays them, and honestly isn’t even all that consistent with how they work. You don’t even really want Pokéballs, because the bloody things *don’t work*, you just want Beast Balls, which… well, they were only interesting in the first place because they were so closely specialised to catching a very narrow selection of Pokémon. If all you want is a standard capture item for your game, who cares whether it has the existing name and design for a Beast Ball? The main things you want, as I see it, are the 11 existing Ultra Beasts plus Necrozma, the environments they live in, the city of Ultra Megalopolis and the characters of the Ultra Recon Squad (and of those things, only the Ultra Beasts themselves are particularly well developed). That’s *not nothing* and I can see why you might want them, but in order to *have* them, you need to promise a substantial fraction of your profits to the Pokémon Company and probably let them meddle in a bunch of your creative decisions (and no, you *don’t* get to know in advance what they will and won’t let you do).

        That doesn’t make your game inevitably bad! You could do all that and create something really cool! But working with someone else’s IP is a massive headache, creatively and economically. You only want a tiny fraction of that IP, which doesn’t even contain any of the things that would guarantee your game popularity or an audience. The 11 existing Ultra Beasts might well be so important to you personally that being able to use them is worth any sacrifice to you, and *I’m not going to tell you that’s wrong* because *I don’t get to dictate other people’s creative decisions*.

        I just telling you that I don’t get it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. …yeah, fair. All that’s true, but I still find that if such a game had a chance to be made it’d be great, and the idea of rebranding Yooka-Layee style just seems somewhat of a letdown.

          It’s something I genuinely don’t think will ever happen, but that just makes me care less about the bureaucracy of it and want to talk more about how cool it’d be.


          1. I don’t think it’d be Yooka-Laylee style. The thing about Yooka-Laylee is it’s basically just Banjo-Kazooie without the characters. This idea is mostly independent of Pokémon and functions great (almost better) without the Pokémon IP. This would function wonderfully as its own thing entirely. I’d be into it.


      2. Again, I agree with Chris here. I get where you’re coming from but the Pokémon IP seems pretty irrelevant here. About all it has in common is Beast Balls (can be replaced with any other capture device), a dozen-ish creatures (not worth basing the game on), and like… what, some phrases? “Ultra space”, “Megalopolis“, “Ultra Recon Squad”… you can replace those with any other name and nothing really changes. I’m not saying I don’t like the gameplay idea, but sharing the IP seems… silly? There’s a load of monster battling RPGs out there that are great. Digimon, Temtem, Monster Crown… cutting out the handful of things tying this to Pokémon hardly seems like the “basis” of the game. The basis of the game is traveling through alien environments capturing alien creatures and averting ecological disasters. The ecological disasters part is already its own thing and irrelevant to Pokémon. The alien creatures and environments are based on such a tiny subset of Pokémon that it’s truly irrelevant, in the broad range of monster battling RPGs. And capturing and battling monsters… I mean, that’s already the entire subgenre, you don’t need Pokémon for that.

        Once again, the idea is cool for a game, but I too feel tying this to Pokémon is pointless. The elements you’re borrowing (aside from the specific dozen Pokémon they already have) aren’t unique to Pokémon. Besides, the last thing we need is for TPC to saturate the market with such a range of monster battling games that they lose the little competition they have. They pretty much had a monopoly on the subgenre for awhile, and even now most series can’t really compete with them in a meaningful way, which is part of the reason the series rarely innovates. I think this would work much better as a fresh IP.


  4. If you watch Mr. Buddy’s video about his personal pokemon game, I think that would be a way of doing it that you would want the IP for.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Re:twitter:

    Set of Polteageist
    Salad of Bulbasaur
    Dynasty of Nidoking/queen
    Court of Clefairy
    Catacombs of Cofagrigus
    Landfill of Garbodor
    America of Remoraid

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nausea of Koffing/Weezing
      Doom of Gengar
      Clan of Greninja
      Agency of Gumshoos
      Coma of Komala
      Blizzard of Glalie
      Flurry of A.Ninetales
      Beach of Pallosand
      Origin of Mew
      Variety of Eeveelutions
      Loyalty of Lucario
      Pride of Pyroar
      Geode of Sableye
      Guild of Decidueye

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you guys so much for these, and everyone on twitter too. Trying to mind the believability of each species living in small to large groups, instead of alone, I have to offer:

        A toybox of shuppet
        A field of magnemite
        A fault of diglett
        A shower of minior
        An omen of absol
        A shiver of froslass
        A spring of spoink
        A strain of solosis
        A haze of drifloon
        A giggle of wooper
        A snore of slowpoke
        A riddle of sigilyph
        A shout of whismur

        And coming up with broader terms for each type (because nobody can remember over 800 of these) I suggest:

        Pack/herd of normal types
        Bouquet/forest of grass types
        Pond/flood of water types
        Flash/inferno of fire types
        Swarm/hive of bug types
        Flock of flying types
        Charge of electric types
        Slide of rock types
        Hill/tremor of ground types
        Sting/miasma of poison types
        Team of fighting types
        Terror/gang of dark types
        Haunt of ghost types
        Study/trick of psychic types
        Alloy of steel types
        Flake/glacier of ice types
        Whim of fairy types
        Lore of dragon types

        (Look, it feels weird to mention a flood of tympole and it feels weird to mention a pond of gyarados, so I made more and less dramatic terms.)

        Liked by 2 people

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