The Case for a Space-type in Pokémon

With the next generation of Pokémon fast approaching there is much speculation regarding the new games. A point of speculation that is evergreen in the community, but not very present in current speculation, is the idea of a new Pokémon type based on outer space.

The theme of space has been present in Pokémon lore from the very first games. In Pokémon Red and Green/Blue versions the Clefairy evolutionary line is said to have come to Earth from space. The Pokémon gather at meteor impact sites and dance during cosmic events like the full moon and meteor showers.

Staryu and Starmie carry a similar space connection with their star-shaped bodies and multi-colored cores that broadcast strange radio frequencies into space.

This theme continues with more Pokémon throughout the series including Lunatone and Solrock being sun and moon-shaped meteors, Jirachi living inside of a comet, Elgyem and Beheeyem being depictions of the classic “Grays/Little Green Men”, Rayquaza living in the O-zone layer, Deoxys being a mutated space virus, and Arceus, Dialga, Palkia and Giratina originating from space and creating the Earth. There are many more examples of Pokémon with a specific connection to space.

This space lore is taken to a new level in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire’s Delta Episode post-game content. The player meets a character that teaches them more about the lore of Rayquaza and the quest culminates with the player riding Rayquaza into outer space to destroy an asteroid that threatens the planet and battle Deoxys.

A Space-type would bring with it a re-balancing of the type chart and could give a buff to under-powered types like Bug and Grass and introduce a variety of inspiration for new Pokémon species as the number of Pokémon approaches and exceeds 1000.

The lore in the Pokémon series has expanded in recent years with the introduction of a multiverse. In Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire during the Delta Episode Game Freak introduced the concept that the reason Mega Evolution exists in the Hoenn region of these games while not existing in the Hoenn of the original Ruby and Sapphire is that the latter games take place in a dimension where the events reported in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y that created Mega Evolution never took place. This put all the games that feature Mega Evolution on a separate timeline from the games that don’t.

The multiverse concept was taken a step further in Sun and Moon which introduced Ultra Beasts, Pokémon from another dimension. And in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon which introduced in their Team Rainbow Rocket post-game the idea that there were dimensions where each of the evil teams had succeeded in their goals, and in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee which feature a different Kanto from the one in Red and Blue.

With a multiverse, extra-dimensional travel, and event some space travel being introduced to the series, the time is ripe for the introduction of a space-themed Pokémon type. It would being a wealth of expansion to the series lore, from people and Pokémon living in space colonies, to exploring alien worlds to capture new species of Pokémon.

So far the information released on the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield versions hasn’t pointed towards any new types. However, the games Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing features, which replace Mega Evolution and Z-Moves, bring a whole new set of mysteries and possibilities.

So while the jury is still out of whether generation 8 will be the generation that introduces a Space or Cosmic-type, the games will very likely provide another link in the chain that will eventually lead to the cosmos of the Pokémon World.

River City Girls Announced

Wayforward, the developers behind cult-classic games such as Shantae and Mighty Switch Force, revealed their newest game River City Girls. The game will be the latest entry in the River City series. The co-op beat-‘em-up is being developed by Wayforward with Arc System Works, who have owned the River City IP since 2015 overseeing.

The game’s story introduces new protagonists Kyoko and Misako. Pair of high school brawlers must fight their way through the city to rescue their kidnapped boyfriends, the series main protagonists Kunio and Rikki.

The game features 1 to 2-player local co-op, and will have traditional beat-‘em-up game play including combos, throws, special attacks, and a leveling system. There will also be side quests, weapons, items, and abilities to power up the girls. The girls will also be able to recruit some defeated foes to fight on their side, and encounter surprise approaches from classic River City characters.

Arin Hanson of the YouTube let’s play channel Game Grumps posted a tweet hinting that the game will include some Game Grumps-related content.

The game’s 16-bit-inspired graphics, and a synth-pop soundtrack make for a vivid callback to the era of classic beat-em-ups. The story will be told through animated cutscenes and manga-inspired intermissions.

The game will arrive for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 5th, 2019. The game will retail for 29.99 and be available digitally, as well as in a physical edition from Limited Run Games with a price to-be-determined.

A playable demo of the game will be available at the Ark System Works booth at AnimeExpo this week.

Final Fantasy VII Launches for Switch on Nintendo eShop

Nintendo has announced today that Final Fantasy VII has been released on the Nintendo eShop for 15.99 USD. This marks the first time that Final Fantasy VII has ever been released on a Nintendo console. This is the same port that was released on PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. The game has a few features to make the game easier such as the ability to turn of random encounters, and a fast-forward button. These features are optional so players can still enjoy the game as intended.

Pokémon Sun/Moon/Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon – Special Battle Season 15 rules revealed

Time to get ready for battle, Pokemon trainers. The rules for Pokemon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon Special Battle Season 15 are now available. Get the full scoop below.

– Season 15 will run from April 2nd through June 17th, 2019
– This Season runs on Sun & Moon and Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon
– Rankings for the games are separate from one another
– Only allows Pokémon that can only have the move Metronome across all generations
– this rule excludes Mewtwo, Dusclops and Dusknoir)
– Single battle format
– Pokémon Restrictions: Only Clefairy, Clefable, Mankey, Primeape, Poliwhirl, Poliwrath, Abra, Kadabra, Alakazam, Machop, Machoke, Machamp, Geodude, Graveler, Golem, Gengar, Drowzee, Hypno, Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, Chansey, Mr. Mime, Jynx, Electabuzz, Magmar, Snorlax, Mew, Cleffa, Togepi, Togetic, Politoed, Aipom, Snubbull, Granbull, Teddiursa, Ursaring, Smeargle, Smoochum, Miltank, Blissey, Celebi, Ludicolo, Makuhita, Hariyama, Sableye, Meditite, Medicham, Plusle, Minun, Volbeat, Illumise, Spinda, Kecleon, Banette, Jirachi, Ambipom, Happiny, Munchlax, Electivire, Magmortar, Togekiss.
– Attack Restrictions: Metronome only
– Item Restrictions: No Mega Stones
– all Pokemon are set to Level 50
– if they are above that, and you choose 1 Pokémon out of your 6, and you can’t have two Pokémon holding the same hold item
– battles have a 10 minute duration, with turns getting a 60 second timer
– Pokemon transferred through Poke Bank are allowed

Wayforward Announces Shantae 5 for PC, Consoles, and Apple devices.

Today on Twitter developer Warforward revealed that Shantae 5 is coming to PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and to Apple devices via their recently announced Apple Arcade service. Wayforward’s tweet reads:

The series stars Shantae, a half-genie that uses her hair to attack and can use her magic to change into various transformations to aid in her adventure. The metroidvainia title has gained a cult following since its first appearance on Game Boy Color. Before this game the most recent Shante release was 2016’s Half-Genie Hero which was crowdfunded through Kickstarter, and achieved over $800,000 in funding. As of yet there are no details known about the game outside of the platforms and the fact that the game is due out sometime later this year.

Five Things That Would Make Pokémon Sword and Shield the Best Games In the Series.

Now that the generation VIII Pokémon Games have been revealed, we have gotten a taste of what the games are about.  And speculation is booming among fans. Here is a list of realistic features that would make Pokémon Sword and Shield an experience like never before. These ideas are based on the information from the February 27, 2019 reveal trailer. Game Freak, as a developer, has become fairly notorious for introducing new features in games only to remove them in the following games. So many of these features are based on concepts that Game Freak has already touched on or implemented in previous games that were liked by fans.

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1.      A Battle Frontier

It’s no secret that the Pokémon games have been suffering from a lack of solid single-player post-game content. In the third generations Game Freak introduced the Battle Frontier, a post-game area where the player would face off in facilities dedicated a myriad of unique battle challenges with A.I. trainers of a much higher skill level than the trainers in the main story. This served as a way to introduce players to the deeper competitive elements of Pokémon and essentially provided a second gym quest with a challenge to players after breezing through the story with little difficulty. For the past few generations the Battle Frontiers have been absent from the games, replaced by single facilities more akin to the old Battle Tower. If Sword and Shield introduced a full Battle Frontier as post-game content alongside a story quest like Gold and Silver’s Kanto or Ultra Sun and Moon’s Team Rainbow Rocket, that would be a wealth of post-game content that has never been seen before in the series and, I think, would be a real read for players.

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2.      No Less Than 100 New Pokémon (not including Mega Evolutions/Regional Variants)

As the total number of Pokémon approaches 1000 Game Freak seems have become more timid in the number of new Pokémon they introduce. Pokémon X and Y stand at a mere 72 new Pokémon, a series low, and Sun and Moon is not much better at 81 new Pokémon. Game Freak instead seems to be falling back on revisiting and re-conceptualizing already existing Pokémon as a method of adding “new” Pokémon without actually creating a brand-new Pokémon. They did this through Mega Evolutions in X and Y, and Alolan variants in Sun and Moon. While I am not wholly against these ideas on face value, I fell they should not be used as replacements for proper brand-new Pokémon. Part of the lasting appeal of Pokémon compared to most other monster catching series was that every monster was an individual, there were no simple reskins. I feel like this has contributed to why X and Y and Sun and Moon felt lacking compared to other games. If Sword and Shield adds a minimum of 100 brand new original concept Pokémon, regardless of any new megas or regional variants, the games will have a lot more of the excitement that comes from discovering and learning all about new Pokémon, which is one of the core elements of Pokémon games in my mind.

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3.      Stop Being so Hesitant to Challenge the Player In-game

It’s no question that Pokémon games have gotten progressively more hand-holding as time has gone on. From extended tutorial segments, enemy trainers with no more than 4 Pokémon throughout the entire game, A.I. that is dumbed down, a world map that is blocked off, and story beats that railroad the player from point to point.  They have tried to address the difficulty a little with the Totem battles in Sun and Moon, the Ultra Necrozma Battle in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, and with the Coach Trainers in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, however these moments of increased challenge are all too brief and infrequent to truly test the player’s mettle.

Sword and Shield should do away with much of the handholding and challenge the player with more trainers that aren’t pushovers. The games should bring back NPCs that have full teams of 6 Pokémon, include more in-game double battles, and perhaps even bring back triples and rotation battles. Let the rival sometimes corner the player fresh out of a grueling dungeon and challenge them to a battle without healing them beforehand.

If the player can get through the whole game without blacking out a single time, the game is probably far too easy for the average player. Also, bringing back the hard mode from Black 2 would be most welcome addition.

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4.      Expand Pokémon Interaction with the

Player, and the Environment

People love interacting with Pokémon. A feature that seems to be universally agreed on from Sun and Moon and Let’s Go was the increased focus on interacting with Pokémon.

From playing with Pokémon, to riding Pokémon, to exploring the world with them. The more ways methods of interacting, the better. Sword and Shield should take this concept and expand on it as much as possible.

The Pokéathlon, and Pokémon Contests should return alongside a new Pokémon minigame that fits the British theme. The idea of Pokémon soccer has been floating around due to the soccer-inspired uniform the player is seen wearing in the trailer. Something else that could be interesting would be a medieval-themed Pokémon mini game.

The Ride Pokémon system from Sun and Moon should be changed so that incorporates whatever Pokémon the player has in their party, so that the player travels and overcomes obstacles together with their chosen team, no HM Slaves of old, or rental Pokémon where the player has no connection.

Expanding the concept even further, the player could have to train whichever Pokémon they want to use whatever world exploration ability. For example, if the player has a Flygon and they want to use it to Fly, there would be a training process to teach it how to carry people and fly. And, rather than just the RNG-based survivals and cures the player receives in-game for interacting with their Pokémon, the rewards for interacting with your Pokémon in-game could lead to positive or negative stat chances that can be applied in competitive battles. This would add a bit more incentive to interacting with Pokémon.

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5.      At Least One Event-exclusive Pokémon as Free DLC

Piracy and cracking happen, it’s an inescapable fact that whenever a game is released the game data will be broken into and scoured for any and all secrets which will be published to the public.

In this world all hidden event Pokémon are found right away in the game data, which makes their reveal down the road a surprise to no one at all. The excitement of a secret character can only come from post-launch DLC a la Super Smash Bros.

Taking into consideration that currently many events are distributed in-person at GameStop or visiting events like the World Championships, it is understandable that the data has to be on the games prior to the transfer in those cases. However, it would be amazing to see at least one event Pokémon that is free post-launch DLC that is just added to the game one day without any prior announcement.

The name of the Pokémon could be left in some mysterious lore within the main game story so that the fans can speculate as to whether this Pokémon exists. And if Game Freak really want to go all out they could add an entire quest centered around this Pokémon as the DLC rather than just a simple patch adding it to the game. The surprise of it alone would make Sword and Shield something special the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Red and Blue and would make the strongest case possible for the introduction of actual DLC to the Pokémon series. After all, a surprise like that just wouldn’t be possible without DLC.

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These are a sample of some ideas that could really add to the experience of Sword and Shield and cement them as possibly the greatest Pokémon games yet. Some fans want an overhaul in which Game Freak upends the tea table and does something completely different with Pokémon. However, there are many aspects that are essential to a Pokémon game, and changing them drastically could create a game that’s “Pokémon” in name only.

Such unchecked radical changes could lead results like a bloated MMO with no single-player experience that forces users to pay a subscription fee on top of paying for Nintendo Nintendo Switch Online service to even play the game, or a washed-out Monster Hunter clone that ends up feeling neither like Pokémon or like Monster Hunter. Developers that lose touch with their roots end up chasing trends or upheaving for upheaval’s sake.  Game Freak stated during the reveal that they plan to innovate in Sworn and Shield while still staying true to what makes Pokémon special. This is a hopeful comment that suggests they may be more open to experimenting, but they will keep true to Pokémon’s core.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Versions Revealed

Nintendo just held Pokémon Direct today, and the 7-minute broadcast revealed lots of new information. The long-awaited main Pokemon games for Nintendo Switch were finally revealed as Pokémon Sword Version and Pokémon Shield Version this is the first time in the series that the games have been named after man-made objects. Thematically it fits the industrialized, almost steampunk aesthetic within the games. Traditionally the game logos incorporate design elements from the Legendary Pokémon in the games, so the Sword and Shield emblems on these game logos could point to  the story-central Legendary Pokemon being based on knights, and or wolves.

The game play trailer reveals several details, it shows the player entering a random wild Pokémon battle, this confirms the return of random encounters and wild Pokémon battles. It can be assumed that the rest of the core mechanics, natures, abilities, held items, will be returning as well. The models for the Pokemon and the attacks appear to be updated from the previous games. The trailer also shows a Pokémon Gym, and Ohmori, the director of the games, confirmed that there is a gym quest in the games. There is a shot of the player in a uniform resembling a soccer uniform as he walks into a stadium, this indicates that perhaps the Pokémon League will be treated more like a professional sport, I.E., Soccer, in these games.

The three starter Pokemon were also revealed, the Grass-Type Chimpanzee Pokémon: Grookey, The Fire-Type Rabbit Pokémon: Scorbunny, and the Water-Type Lizard Pokémon: Sobble. These were the only new Pokemon introduced in the trailer.

The games take place in the Galar Region, which is very industrialized, having lots of gears and large machinery.  The region appears to be based on the England as indicated by the climate and European-inspired architecture, this is something that many fans had speculated.

The games were reconfirmed for a late 2019 release date. No specific date was given, but following the typical release dates of previous games, it is likely the games will see release sometime in October or November.