Team Blue Sun on Pokémon X and Y
On Tuesday morning, Nintendo unveiled a new generation of Pokémon to the world in ten minutes of Japan’s most stilted English. How excited is Team Blue Sun? We’ll leave it to them to tell you.
Avery Penn, Editor-in-Chief
I think I speak for all of Team Blue Sun when I say I’m excited for the next additions to the mainstream Pokémon series, curiously titled Pokémon X and Y. Details are still scarce, but there’s no understating that, upon its global release in October, the key feature of the next generation of the Pokémon franchise will – thank God – be the banishing of Game Boy-era two-dimensional sprites to the Poké-history books.
There are a lot of good things that are pretty likely to happen when X and Y arrive nine months from now. It’s essentially guaranteed that 3DS sales will skyrocket; those who dropped out of the series around the time Diamond and Pearl hit will probably return to experience what was hopefully described by folk on Twitter as “the Ocarina of Time of the Pokémon franchise”, which can only be good news for Nintendo. With those in Japan, North America, and Europe getting the game simultaneously, the most powerful Pokémon you’ll be able to get from online trades finally won’t have Kanji nicknames. And hey, maybe 3D will make people like me, who’ve been rambling on about how the series hasn’t really innovated in years, finally shut up.
It’s likely that X and Y will live up to the hype that will no doubt be generated through the Nintendo Directs and press conferences of the coming months, but part of me isn’t so sure. It’s true that this new generation gets me excited for a new Pokémon title for the first time since Diamond’s release six years ago, but I’m worried that 3D will be the only new thing X and Y provide, a shiny and colourful distraction from the fact that this is still the 2D Pokémon some are tired of. On another note, isn’t Nintendo a little concerned that, a year after Black 2, gamers will be a little frustrated at having to shell out for yet another Pokémon title?
Look, it’s pretty likely I’m making a fuss over nothing in my head. Maybe everything about this game will be perfect, and it truly will be the game everyone’s been dreaming of. For me, the jury’s out until I get my hands on the game – at least, once I stop drooling over the trailer.
Brian Skahan, Managing Editor
It seems only yesterday that I was playing Pokémon Black Version 2 in an excited childhood-fueled return to the Unova region, though that’s probably because it was. Now, with the announcement of Pokémon X and Y , it’s time for Pokémon players of all ages to get out their Game Boy and DS Systems to return to their childhood and the world of Pokémon. It seems that we have finally been given what we’ve been asking for: a fully 3D Pokémon generation. Not only do the battles actually look like battles, but the Pokémon retain a black outline around them, blurring the line between the games and the show.
I’ve been a longtime Pokémon fan as far back as the initial release of Pokémon Blue Version, having played every generation, some later ones before earlier ones. Each generation has seemed to introduce some new features and type combinations, but also new gimmicks that verge on the point of downright ridiculous—ridiculous in a game where every animal has superpowers. Pokémon Black and White Versions introduced an upgraded combat view with moving sprites in the battle, as well as Triple Battles and Rotation Battles. These changes brought me back to the second generation with the addition of the animated sprites in Pokémon Crystal Version and the addition of Double Battles in the third generation. Pokémon Black and White Versions also brought an antagonistic group that actually had motive beyond saying, “Grr, we’re evil,” which was a welcome change.
Maybe the release was too close to the release of Black Version, but with no real enhancements except Pokémon from past generations showing up at the very beginning, there was something about Pokémon Black Version 2 that was missing. The question that lingers on some players’ minds however is: will there will be enough changes—will the upgraded, fully-3D graphics be enough, or will gamers demand more features? I’ve enjoyed Black Version 2 for the most part, but the problem is that I never really got to finishing it.
Perhaps I’m simply jaded. Perhaps the graphical improvement will be enough for gamers. Perhaps there will be other enhancements. No matter what happens, unless the entire formula is changed, gamers will eat Pokémon X and Y right up. While it’s certainly faltered at times, Pokémon has never really failed when it’s come to each new generation. I expect Pokémon X and Y to be just as successful as previous generations, especially considering the graphical upgrade. Either way, it looks like a lot of gamers have a good reason to get a 3DS now.
Luke Nolan, Contributor
Being one of those lifelong Pokémon people, one who still says that shamelessly even at 21, the next generation announcement was always going to send me rocketing out of my chair and into orbit. But to me, this one feels that little bit more special. I had my only falling out with the franchise around Diamond and Pearl – I didn’t think the game was bad, far from it, I just managed to put it down when I finished it. That had never really happened before. Grinding all my favourites and forming superteams to beat everyone again was the usual drill. But not that time. Some of the spark had gone and for a while I went without a Pokémon game consuming my life. It was a dark time.
Black/White brought it all back with a vengeance. Tight and compelling story, a wave of great new Pokémon (ice cream cones aside) and the best Team since Rocket. Pokémon is firing on all cylinders no matter what way you look at it, and BW2 is still fresh as well. With the bar set nice and high, the 3DS finally ready to rise up to its predecessor AND there being no great delay – Dear Gamefreak: Well done for committing to a worldwide release; yours, fucking everyone – X and Y are looking to be the biggest Pokémon games yet. I can’t wait.
And seriously, if you can say you don’t want a 3D Pikachu of your very own, you’re probably just a very good liar.
Tom Smee, Contributor
Pokémon is an addictive and endlessly time-consuming game that any fan, old or new, struggles to put down. So it was always a positive thing that, in days of old, we had such a lengthy period of time between instalments – we had lives to live, after all! Besides, the endless replay value and tidal wave of cards and anime really kept the torch of Pokémon burning in our hearts, making us more and more eager for the next instalment. Through our patience we were rewarded; new titles have always balanced change with nostalgia, and that’s been good for everyone involved so far.
What makes me worry about X and Y is that while they look brilliant and innovative, they’re coming out too soon. The last main Pokémon game was Black and White in the spring of 2011, which makes it only 2 to 3 years since the current Pokémon generation arrived, and to most players the introduction of 2012’s Black and White 2 really revitalised the series. I understand that Pokémon X and Y have probably been in development for a long time, but the announced release date of October really doesn’t follow the traditionally long wait between releases. It worries me that the dust of Black and White 2 won’t be allowed to settle before X and Y come along and change our perceptions of Pokémon again; it’s starting to feel like the series I love is changing directions too quickly.
Ben Clegg, Contributor
Little was changed in the DS games which succeeded Diamond and Pearl; to me, they were simply weak filler titles, which indicated something of a downfall in the series. However, its unusual name aside, Pokémon X and Y could prove to breathe life back into the franchise. An open-world 3D game was something that the Pokémon series always deserved, and X and Y delivers almost perfectly, with beautiful cel-shaded graphics, brilliantly animated models, and an overworld which blends straight in with the series.
The only part of the game which currently irritates me is the fact that more unnecessary Pokèmon have been added. Fortunately, Pokèmon X and Y have the potential to become system-sellers for Nintendo, and could prove to be yet another booster for 3DS sales.