What future for the Pokémon license?

Did you like the breath of fresh air that Pokémon Legends Arceus blew throughout the license? Then chances are you’ll love what he has in store for us in the future. Because what seemed like a small aside is actually the starting point of a great rebirth for the entire franchise. Revival that was confirmed during the last Pokémon Presents. The opportunity for us to return to the evolution of this legendary license and what the future holds.

Summary

  • a fixed formula
  • Let’s Go: the beginning of change
  • Arceus: the wind of freedom
  • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: more freedom, less RPG?
  • A Pokémon World Tour

The following text is a transcript of the previous video.

a fixed formula

You can’t have missed the Pokémon phenomenon. After more than 25 years of existence, this franchise has grossed more than 110 billion dollars worldwide. An impressive figure that makes it the most lucrative franchise (all media combined) of all time. Obviously, in the lot there are letters, derivative products, cartoons, but video games take much of the bet. If, unsurprisingly, spin-offs are far ahead (with $82 billion in revenue anyway), video games have grossed nearly $27 billion. In other words, it is an industry that works. As a reminder, Pokémon is the fourth best-selling video game license in the world. And behind this success lies a very effective recipe, which has been repeated over and over again over the years. Everyone knows the principle: you arrive in a region, choose a starter and meet your rival. What follows is a series of fights and Pokémon catching sessions in the tall grass to build the strongest team, win the famous League, and become the best trainer. So much for the structure, but what level of play does it give? Well, this is a good old JRPG. Everything is there! The initial quest, the Japanese universe and team fights punctuated by the classic turn-based system. Added to this familiar combination is the importance of types, one-on-one (or multiple) confrontations, the capture and hunt system, some notions of breeding, and, above all, cute little creatures with different stats. You mix it all together and you get THE winning Pokémon formula.

It’s simple, for almost twenty years, all the works worked in this way without ever bringing big differences. (if we do not count the arrival of new generations of Pokémon of course). A shame for a license dedicated to developing little monsters, isn’t it? Over the years, small improvements have been made, especially when going from one generation to another. The second generation of Pokémon has thus introduced the possibility of reproducing your favorite little monsters, as well as the notion of happiness and the objects to be held. The next one reworked the stats and brought in the passive abilities specific to each Pokemon. Then there was the classification of attacks, the appearance of hidden talents, the arrival of Mega-Evolutions, the creation of new types, etc.
As you may have understood, each opus has contributed its small stone to the building to refine the Pokémon formula. But fundamentally, the latter has not changed. A point that has also ended up tiring many players from the first hour. But there are still plenty of them to be ecstatic at every announcement and to be around as soon as a new play is released.

And yes, despite the abandonment of some, the frozen formula of Pokémon works and the various titles continue to sell in abundance. And yet, despite the good numbers, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company have taken several risks in recent years. The goal ? Innovate and ultimately evolve this iconic license.


Let’s Go: the beginning of change

We said it, the Pokémon formula was for a long time sacred, impossible to touch. And yet after pokemon ultra sun and pokemon ultra moonGame Freak and The Pokémon Company are playing the surprise card with Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu/Evoli. At first glance, it’s simply a remake of the 1998 Game Boy Color game, pokemon yellow version. But no! This new work presents a different gameplay; based on mobile game capture method Pokémon GO. Among Pokemon mystery dungeonthe pokemon rangerthe pokemon snap or even the pokemon stadium, without forgetting puzzle games, party games or beat’em all, Pokémon has always offered parallel games. The franchise continues to produce them, as Pokémon United Where pokemon masters. But never had a secondary game influenced another in the main series. Pokémon GO thus acts like a true giant, in every sense of the word.

Pokémon GO was quite a phenomenon, a revolution even for many. It’s simple, you couldn’t miss all these trainers walking the streets while glued to their phones. It must be said that the promise was crazy: to become a life-size Pokémon trainer. No wonder there were (and still are) millions to play, but back to our Moumoutons (and Pokémon Let’s Go). The latter not only offered us to launch our Pokéballs ourselves, but also introduced a simpler and more accessible experience gain system, considerably reducing farming. If the structure is still quite classic, these novelties in gameplay come to revolutionize a hitherto invariable formula to attract a new audience.

What future for the Pokémon license?

If only the experience gain system will continue in subsequent games, Pokémon Let’s Go serves as a watershed moment in the franchise’s history. With this work, Game Freak realized that it was possible to play a little with the already established codes of its flagship license. And four years later, the studio is having a field day.


Arceus: the wind of freedom

If Pokémon Let’s Go paved the way for change, it was Pokémon Legends Arceus that kicked down the doors to put a big kick in the anthill. Whether you like the game or not, it is impossible to deny that it has revolutionized an entire formula. Goodbye air runners and hello to the great plains to explore without restrictions. An approach that Game Freak had already experimented with with the Wild Lands in Pokémon Sword and Shield. These vast natural areas pushed the player to roam without limits and catch Pokémon in abundance. Between lakes, desert areas, caves and other green paths, there was enough to satisfy the dreams of the most adventurous players. We even have the opportunity to camp, because that is the real adventure! And given the various feedback, Game Freak had every interest in pushing the license in this direction.

Thus was born Legends Arceus, the first “open world” Pokémon. Eagerly awaited by players, it portrays this crazy promise: giving a breath of freedom to a license with a structure sewn with white thread. And at this level, the report is unanimous. That works ! Of course, the game is not very pretty and has some bugs, but the large open areas have their small effect and even manage to reconcile some players with the license.

What future for the Pokémon license?

And fortunately! Because if Legends Pokémon Arceus were presented as a separate work, with new sensations, it would ultimately seem that it was created to set the tone for the future of the license.


Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: more freedom, less RPG?

On February 27, the Pokémon Company introduced the ninth generation of Pokémon. Scheduled for the end of the year, it is located in the direct line of Arceus. In fact, the title will offer us a true open world to explore. Forget about the transitions between each zone and explore a vast new region without limits, that’s what the editor promises us. We might have expected the Arceus formula to form a parallel series, like Mystery Dungeons in particular, but no! With Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, The Pokémon Company persists and signs: the future of Pokémon will be placed under the sign of freedom. Thus, now we can see in Pokémon Legends Arceus a beta that will supposedly prepare the arrival of a new recurring formula. We see that the license is trying to give players more freedom, there is a point that still remains unresolved. What about the RPG branch? Fundamental point of the DNA of the license, it was indented in Arceus. If the scenario and the very particular approach of this Pokémon explained this, it is impossible to know what will happen to Pokémon Scarlet and Purple. Let’s see if that renewed freedom will be synonymous with less RPG.

What future for the Pokémon license?

In any case, it is clear that The Pokémon Company intends to continue developing the license, as it has been doing for a few years. So we can look forward to other new gameplay features that will refine what promises to be THE new Pokémon formula.


A Pokémon World Tour

But it’s not just the gameplay that has changed in Pokémon. Who says new generation, in fact says new monsters to capture. And there is also room for some speculation. Today, each new generation is entitled to its own little region, inspired by a country other than Japan. If this may seem like a detail, it is a significant and fairly recent change. For almost 15 years, the Pokémon games were limited to regions inspired by their homeland: Japan. 15 years is more than half the life of the license. So when in 2011, pokemon black and white taking us to Unys, clearly inspired by New York City in the United States, is a shock. And yet, it quickly becomes the norm. Then we will have the right to the episodes “Pokémon in France”, “Pokémon in Hawaii”, “Pokémon in England”… As you may have understood, each work made us travel to a new region of the world. And that could well be the case until the extinction of Pokémon.

As for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, everything indicates that they will take us to Spain. If nothing is official, the announcement trailer brought us big clues in this direction. We have, of course, the decorations and especially this monument that recalls the famous Sagrada Familia, but also the appearance of maps of the Iberian Peninsula.

If that can be a detail for you, for Pokémon it means a lot. And yes, renting is important! Pokémon depend on it. If in Sword / Shield we find Moumutons, we could well find Tautauro or other Pokémon inspired by the fauna and flora of the Hispanic region. Therefore, the bets can be placed, it is up to you to see what Pokémon you imagine for this new generation and even those to come, who knows.

What future for the Pokémon license?

About Pokemon Legends: Arceus

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