Last week, as any self-respecting Pokemon fan would know, the Pokemon Company (the Nintendo owned corporation that manages all aspects of the insanely popular monster collection and fighting franchise) made a huge announcement via a special “Pokemon Direct” broadcast. Pokemon Black and White 2 will be bringing Pokemon’s fifth generation to a close as we can now start waiting and speculating for Pokemon X and Y.
It’s only been a week but we still have a lot of information, all things considered. Every generation of pokemon games comes with its own distinct additions and revisions to the classic Pokemon gameplay. So what does Generation VI with Pokemon X and Y bring to the plate?
This will be Pokemon’s first simultaneous worldwide release, and presumably not the last for the main games in the series. Nintendo is aiming hard for a mid-October 2013 release (both downloadable and boxed versions) for not just Japan, but for the Americas, Europe and Australia as well. This is, of course, great news for the non Japanese playbase, which typically thrived impatiently in the six- to twelve-month (or longer) wait for the games to reach their regions. A worldwide release only brings the different regions of Pokemon fans together in a brand new way, especially fitting considering the message of community and connectivity that characterized the announcement last week.
These games will also see a major overhaul of the overworld and battle graphics. The familiar, and possibly tired, sprites which have been relatively unchanged since 1998 will be redone as 3D cell-shaded models instead. While the main Pokemon games officially made the jump into 3D with Pokemon Diamond and Pearl for the Nintendo DS, the generation VI games will take full advantage of the Nintendo 3DS’s capabilities, with fully three dimensional graphics (as well as other features that use the 3DS). A special mention goes to the new 3D battle engine as well. Building on the dynamic battle action that has been present in all the spin off console Pokemon games (Stadium, Stadium 2, Colosseum and XD), as well as the still fairly new generation V games, the player can expect spirited pokemon reactions in battle.
Even though only five new Pokemon were shown – specifically the three starter Pokemon and the legendary mascots for this new generation – the roster of these collectible monsters has grown to over 700. Interestingly, in going with the worldwide release, we already have the English names for these new guys as well. Starter pokemon are those first partners that the games have you choose at the start of your journey, always coming in a elemental-wheel of grass, fire and water to help players learn the elemental-typing mechanic. Pokemon X and Y are no different. The new grass-type Chespin resembles a hedgehog. Fire-type Fennekin is a rather obvious fennec fox. Rounding out the new trio is froggish Froakie, a water-type. Also shown in the Pokemon Direct announcement, though their names weren’t revealed until the day after, were the two new legendary mascots for this generation of games – hind-like Xerneas and hawk-like Yveltal.
With Nintendo’s new Pokemon announcement still so fresh in our minds, we have been given a carrot dangling just out of reach, and the marketing machine of the internet continues to do its work. What else will this new generation Pokemon bring for us? October is less than a year away for us now, so here’s hoping that Nintendo doesn’t fail to deliver!