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.
Imagine Game Freak gave us a new set of starters in a future generation, but instead of the traditional Grass-Fire-Water scheme, it’s a trio of types that have zero interaction with one another; say, Dark, Poison, and Flying. I can only imagine how the fanbase would react upon the initial announcement…
…BUT, upon reaching their fully-evolved forms, they adopt secondary types that are – you guessed it – Grass, Fire, and Water to become Dark/Grass, Poison/Fire, and Flying/Water, thereby simultaneously doing something new with the starters while still adhering to the tried-and-tested formula (and yes, I did choose those three types specifically so that each starter would have a double weakness, and not to each other). Obviously Game Freak shouldn’t announce the final forms prior to the games’ release to maximize that surprise factor. What do you think? Sound like a fun idea?
Honestly I think the initial fanbase reaction would be positive, because “a new starter type trio, even if it makes no sense” tends to get brought up a lot as a fun way to shake up the formula (if anything I suspect some people would be disappointed by the eventual return to Grass/Fire/Water, but whatever; you can’t please everyone). I’m… sceptical; like, of all the things you could do to change Pokémon’s formula, “change the types of the starters” seems like maybe the tamest.
What are your special skills? – Compassion: You are less of a $#!tbag than most kids your age, allowing you to empathise with people and Pokémon, and intuit their desires or concerns. – Science: You hang around Professor Oak’s lab a lot, and have picked up a lot of debatably useful trivia about everything from astronomy to marine biology. – Tactics: You watch televised Pokémon battles obsessively. You know Pokémon type advantages by heart, and know how certain moves can be used in creative ways.
What is your rival’s name? – I think it’s like a colour or something
Okay, let’s get on with it!
You’re at Professor Oak’s lab, ready for the beginning of the rest of your life! The floor is tiled in pristine white – or at least, it used to be; they do a lot of experiments here and the cleaners can’t keep up. You can still pick out most of the stains that are your fault. Thick textbooks on Pokémon behaviour and anatomy line every wall and are scattered over most of the tables, complex machines with lots of enticing buttons litter the main room, and the lab assistants are that particular kind of dishevelled that says “we barely know how to feed and clothe ourselves, but give us grant money and we’ll work 36 hours a day!” You nod cheerily to each of them as you pass. You have a lot of fun memories in this place – culturing bacteria in Petri dishes, mixing chemicals to create violent colours and beautiful explosions, learning to predict the weather from air pressure measurements, helping the Professor’s assistants to draw up charts of Kantonian habitats and biomes. It’s almost a shame to be leaving, but there’s so much to do out in the world: people and Pokémon to meet, natural phenomena to explore, battles to win! Professor Oak is standing, magisterial and dignified, but with a kindly smile on his face, just next to a high bench with three glittering round objects.
Did you see the alleged starter leaks? They’re pretty clearly fake but still cute and whoever made them did a great job of copying Pokemon’s aesthetic.
I have now. I think maybe they feel so much like Pokémon because the pony is very reminiscent of Keldeo, the bear of Solosis, and the coral thing a little bit of Phantump, albeit with a palette swap. The type changes make it hard to put your finger on what feels familiar about them, though. Pretty clever (assuming, of course, that they are fake – and I see no reason to speculate otherwise).
In generations one/five/six/seven you were just kind of given your starter to go an a journey. In two you were originally loaned your starter to do a short errand before it was permanently given to you (the best introduction to starters, imo). And in three/four you took a starter from a bag to defend someone (the professor/yourself and your rival respectively). How would you do it? How’d you frame being given your starter Pokemon?
I’ve always had rather a fondness for IV, which I think is the most involved version. It feels like it adds something to the relationship between you and your starter, to have you owe your Pokémon something like this, and for your partnership to begin with sheer chance (and the characterisation of the rival character Barry, through these events and your subsequent interaction with Professor Rowan, was interesting). Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”→
Bulbasaur is slightly curious, no? Why do you think the devs decided to give a starting Pokemon a dual type? It risked confusing new players, and there’s nothing about the design that particularly screams “Poison-type” anyway.
Ehhhh I don’t know about that. Poison has no interactions with Fire and Water, so it doesn’t mess with the basic starter trio at all, which is how they teach type interactions, and new players will meet dual-type Pokémon on literally the first route anyway (Pidgey is Normal/Flying). It’s true that Bulbasaur doesn’t really need to be Poison-type, and I’m tempted to put that down to Game Freak not having finished figuring out what Grass-types actually were yet. Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”→
I have a little personal conjecture about how Incineroar was designed.
Game Freak deeply, sincerely, earnestly didn’t mean to make a fourth Fire/Fighting starter Pokémon. They were just going to sit down and come up with some unique, entertaining and vaguely Hawaiian-inspired Fire-type. But then Incineroar just rose up, unbidden, out of the primal mists of Game Freak’s collective id, embedded himself in their tortured psyches, and refused to leave. Aware that they were making another Fire/Fighting starter Pokémon, but horrified by their inability to stop, they desperately called on Yveltal for help, and the vicious and cunning death god answered their prayers by corrupting Incineroar into a brutal Dark-type.
Bloody hell, if I don’t hurry this up they’re going to announce another damn generation before I’m done with this one; we’re already expecting whatever this bull$#!t is supposed to be and I’ve got eighty whole Pokémon to evaluate in the next couple of months, as well as talking about Team Skull and the Aether Foundation, and Hau, and maybe Lillie too, and whoever I decide counts as the Champion, not to mention answering the neverending tide of ridiculous banal questions that keep pouring out of my goddamn inbox (obviously, gentle reader, I’m not talking about any questions you might have submitted, which are of course consistently insightful and thought provoking; it’s all those other bastards that are the problem).
Since they seemed to have abandoned mega evolution for the moment, any idea what you’d do with megas of the 2nd gen starters?
Not really… I’ve never been wild about any of the generation II starter Pokémon (not even Meganium, who enjoys the benefit of my blanket fondness for all Grass Pokémon), and honestly I don’t really like designing mega evolutions very much. Typhlosion in generation VII actually got an interesting little almost-signature-move (she shares it with Moltres, and it can be bred into Growlithe, but hey, who’s counting?) – Burn Up, which gives you one really powerful Fire attack and then strips you of your Fire type, which in Typhlosion’s case makes her typeless. I’d sort of like to give Meganium and Feraligatr something new to match, and then maybe these putative mega forms could have new abilities that mesh with the signature moves somehow. For Typhlosion, you could have her automatically regain her Fire type at the end of the turn after losing it (for any reason – Burn Up, but also Soak, or anything else added to the game in the future that can cause a Pokémon to lose its original type) and increase her special attack whenever that happens. Meganium ought to have something better than Sweet Scent that emphasises her ability to quell violence and conflict or restore life… maybe a kind of mass Wish, a delayed full restore that affects everything in play, with an ability that causes all healing from Meganium’s moves to recur one turn later, with reduced effect. And Feraligatr can just… I don’t know, be able to bite everything in half, or whatever.
I really like the Sinnoh starters, how their typings countered each other and how they all have mythological influences behind them! It helps set the atmosphere of D/P/Pt and shows that a lot of thought really go into the starters. Do you think Game Freak should do more of that kind of thing?
The Sinnoh starters are definitely my favourite trio, and the way Game Freak chose to play with their type combinations is certainly part of that. It’s nice to have a bit of variety mixed in with the Grass/Water/Fire standard, and the way Torterra can beat Infernape with Ground attacks, Infernape can beat Empoleon with Fighting attacks, and Empoleon can beat Torterra with Ice attacks gives it all a pleasing symmetry. As long as we have to keep Grass/Water/Fire, I’m glad there’s some scope to play with it.
I don’t know if you’ve looked closely at the screenshots from Pokemon Sun and Moon, but if you have what are your thoughts on the bird Pokemon they show. Do you think it will be another generic starter bird? Maybe a starter?
Okay so something you should understand about me is that I am a terrible, awful wet blanket when it comes to pre-release speculation. Like, pretty much anything that anyone says at this point, my reaction is “yeah but there is literally no way you can prove that so I don’t care.” Case in point, with that half-finished wireframe model we saw for a few seconds, I’m not even 100% convinced it wasn’t a Skarmory. I mean, it’s probably not because it looked like it had some kind of poofy headdress thing, but the first time I saw that trailer it honestly didn’t even occur to me that I might be looking at a new Pokémon at all. And even once we get that far, I just have zero interest in using such incredibly scanty information to make vague and poorly informed guesses about something that we’re just going to be straight up told in a few months anyway. I’m boring like that.
I much prefer making vague and poorly informed guesses about subjects that Game Freak is never going to give us more information about. That way I can never be definitively proven wrong! Muwhahahahaha!