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Nintendo Announces Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield (pokemon.com)
64 points by occamschainsaw 26 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 62 comments

It looks nice.

I'm still waiting for an "open world" style Pokemon game. For example take the Zelda: Breath of the Wild game/engine as a starting point and make a Pokemon game.

There's nothing inherently wrong with an on-rails game, and Pokemon games are well known for it. But it feels like the type of theme where exploration being a cornerstone would be fantastic.

I was hopeful after Pokemon Go's success (a game pinned on exploration) and Breath of the Wild, that that would be a natural progression.

The open world style of Breath of the Wild seemed amazing at first, but I failed to get into it like I had every other Zelda game. It didn't feel like a Zelda game to me.

It may be more successful to make that style of game, but it would alienate fans of the traditional style of the game like myself.

It's an interesting take. For me, I felt BotW was a return to the original form: the first game clearly had a path of progression in mind, but didn't technically stop you from picking up (or refraining from picking up) the wooden sword and tooling around on Death Mountain right from the start if you wanted (granted, you couldn't actually challenge Ganon unless you did beat all 8 dungeons, unlike BotW).

As of approximately Ocarina of Time (if not Zelda 2), Zelda games have been a lot more "on rails" in the sense of a well-defined path of progression that is difficult to break (generally because of the need for some artifact or some plot-point to develop that opens the next path point). BotW gave me a clear directional hint (key for modern game design; we're well past the point where most players lack patience for "Here you are; I won't explain the rules; try not to die" game design), but if I wanted to ignore the hint and go run off into the sunset or try to rodeo a Lynel in my shorts with three hearts, I could.

Context for those who haven't played:

> or try to rodeo a Lynel

Taming one of the toughest non-boss enemies in the game, starting at 2,000 HP and ranging up to 5,000 HP.

> in my shorts

No equipped armor/clothes, meaning no reduction to damage if hit

> with three hearts

Early-stage, just-started Link. In tandem with "in my shorts," every hit from a Lynel in this condition would be a one-hit kill. Beyond that, it's implied that Link in this condition might only have access to the most primitive weapons (around 25-30 HP per hit before meal/potion bonuses), though even assuming the absolute maximum damage doable from even the best weapon with the best consumable bonus (~110 HP), you're looking at landing 19 hits on the weakest of these guys without being touched.

It's doable on speedruns by advanced players who've gotten a hang of all of the game mechanics. Fixermark's point is more that BotW gives you the option of embracing this sort of masochism should you choose, but it includes a predefined soft-path should you not.

You're likely correct.

But I'd argue that BotW was the most popular Zelda game ever, so while it did upset some of the fanbase it brought in more new people than it lost in traditionalists.

With Pokemon, they already have multiple branches of games running side-by-side. I would think that if they did an open world game, it wouldn't be part of the main franchise but rather its own new branch.

A new line of games would likely give them more freedom to break away from the typical formula as well (e.g. not gym-based progression).

It's probably for the best that they search for a new audience. Trying to appeal to an aging fan-base that will have less time for games is not a great financial decision.

They haven't been searching for a new audience - at least, not with the mainlines. The mainline Pokemon games are consistently aimed towards the same age group; sure, the old fanbase ages out of it, but new kids keep turning up.

There's some stuff in there for long-time fans and more precocious/deeply interested kids (all the competitive stuff), but the single-player campaign has always been for grade-schoolers.

My biggest complaint with BotW was that the pacing was odd. It was clear they designed everything in the world to be completed on the time scale of a subway ride.

I understand why they did this, given that it was the launch game of a new handheld platform, but it felt limiting from a design perspective. Most of the puzzles just weren't that challenging and the dungeons were rather lackluster instead of being big events.

BOTW was designed for WiiU, which is not a mobile console

Breakable weapons was the biggest demotivator to me. I really enjoy just dropping into a classic Zelda game and being able to enjoy myself, without worrying about breaking my good weapons or whatever. Wind Waker has a dungeon with 100 levels of enemies, and it's actually fun to start the game up just to play through that.

> Breakable weapons was the biggest demotivator to me.

It's an interesting situation—breakable weapons has the greatest impact at the beginning of the game, when you haven't yet found sources for your favorite weapons. On the other hand, it has the least gameplay impact at the start of the game, since the weapons that you find early on are weak, uninteresting, and easily replaceable.

So like I get what they were going for, but I don't think they hit the mark with the mechanic; it's most annoying when it matters the least, and by the end of the game, when you've got your katanas and glowing chainsaw swords and whatnot, it barely matters at all.

> Wind Waker has a dungeon with 100 levels of enemies, and it's actually fun to start the game up just to play through that.

Breath of the Wild has a similar dungeon in the DLC, and actually the breakable weapons makes it even more interesting. You lose all of your weapons at the start, so you can't just take in your favorites, you have to improvise and make do with what you can scavenge as you go along. You also don't need to worry about saving your best weapons because you can't, as you'll need them all, and what you have left at the end of the dungeon will disappear anyway. Or when you lose; I'll admit I haven't beaten it yet.

The thing for me, is that I haven't even hit a "dang, I wasted all my weapons and have problems now" point, but the very nature of their breakability makes me hesitate to use them/play the game. It has a chilling effect on my enjoyment of the game, even if the game is balanced and non-frustrating.

In the end, no game is for every person, so it's possible you just won't like it. But if you embrace the weapon durability, and say "I'll use this weapon because I have it, and when I need another I'll either find one better, or make do with what I can scavenge", then you may find it's part of the fun of the game. Or at least, won't get in your way.

gamefreak has done tons of spinoffs, and relatively big budget ones at that, before; I really don't think alienation is much of a concern. See Pokemon Snap, Stadium, Colliseum, Hey You!, Ranger, Mystery Dungeon.

And those are just the ones that aren't pokemon-themed skins over arcade games like pinball.

Zelda is a quite different as they've done a lot less with other mediums than the core series (they still tried ofc, but it hasn't been nearly as effective or impactful). Also BotW is closest we're going to get to WindWaker, the greatest of the Zeldas

> The open world style of Breath of the Wild seemed amazing at first, but I failed to get into it like I had every other Zelda game. It didn't feel like a Zelda game to me.

I like open-world games (e.g. Far Cry 5), so I enjoyed Breath of the Wild, but I'd agree that it felt like functionally a completely different style of game altogether. It's a distinct genre, so I'm surprised that they went that route.

> it would alienate fans of the traditional style of the game like myself

Some fans of the traditional style. I've been playing Zelda games since the original, and Breath of the Wild quickly became my favorite.

I was just thinking today that nintendo has been remarkably conservative with their main-line pokemon games. The core gameplay has changed very little since 1996. I guess they can't be blamed for not changing a winning formula but it's still interesting.

I really liked the juxtaposition of the "Technology is Incredible" guy from Pallet Town in the original Red/Blue/Green versus Let's Go Eevee/Pikachu.

The side games are where all the cutting-edge development happens. Someone comes up with an idea, and builds a prototype. If it works well, it gets integrated into the main-line games.

Pokemon Snap tested, "can we render a pokemon in 3D". Pokemon Stadium I and II tested "can we do a 3D battle system". Eventually these made their way into the 3DS titles. More recently, the catching mechanics in Niantic's Pokemon Go made their way into the main-line Let's Go Eevee/Pikachu.

I don't know that I would classify the Let's Go games as main-line Pokemon titles, many people see them more as a bridge leading in that direction for new (or lapsed) fans who were pulled in by Niantic's hit.

I mean a lot of people forget that Nintendo was founded in 1889. A company that old has obviously changed a lot over that time, but the changes that they have made and are making are slow and careful. What I respect about Nintendo is that they stick to the winning formula when it makes sense, and come out with new things when its the right time. They are obviously in it for the long run, and willing to adapt gradually but effectively

If you're OK with dumping your own ROMs and modding them, Crystal Clear[0] already exists. It scales trainers as you collect badges, so you can tackle gyms in any order.

It works surprisingly well, even for such an old game. The fact that you can just fly anywhere as soon as you get a couple of badges means that the sidequests and caves feel less like chores and more like just stuff to do when you get bored of battling gyms. The scaling ironically reduces grind, because it means most trainers you fight will give you decent chunks of EXP, and you can always skip a trainer and come back for them later without trivializing the battle.

I walked away from it kind of wishing that Nintendo would just carbon-copy some of its design decisions for future games -- I can only imagine how much more interesting that formula would be in a game where I didn't already have the majority of the content memorized.

[0]: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yvciS0eLrTdQfLGVQEBkhZwz...

That would certainly be interesting. I think they might have to modify the traditional 8 gym/Pokémon League system, though.

I agree, they would definitely have to find a new progression system.

They could make it a "Team Rocket" based game. Instead of focusing on Gyms, you're trying to stop Team Rocket from liquifying the environment for example.

I like Gyms, and I don't think "on-rails" Pokemon games should go away (there's obviously a large market for them). I just want a game where I can go explore and be surprised/find hard to locate Pokemon.

Just feel like the whole theme of Pokemon just naturally flows into that style of game.

I like the setting, Galar, complete with Tudor-era details ;)

Your average Pokemon super fan is in say the 6-10 year old age range. But strategy elements of RPGs can be difficult to grasp so young. With kids often getting "stuck" after a few easy battles and making little progress beyond.

I think that's why the Mystery Dungeon series was so popular, despite being "off-brand". More of a Roguelike exploration scenario. And focuses on creating an emotional bond with hyper-kawaii styled "virtual pets". Rather than achievement of battle supremacy.

> I'm still waiting for an "open world" style Pokemon game.

Hopefully when we have persistent, shared AR worlds once everybody has always-on AR glasses.

Zelda works in that framework.

Pokemon could use changes to the formula, but open world just doesn't sound very good.

I'm really disappointed that they're re-introducing the random encounters system. Let's Go was such a breath of fresh air with being able to see them walking about. I would often find myself hurrying off somewhere but stopping because I saw a pokemon running about that I hadn't caught yet.

I do like the visible Pokemon, but the Let's Go style of catching wild Pokemon prevented me from buying the game. It seems like they could have had visible encounters plus wild Pokemon battles.

Yeah it's not like they couldn't have the best of both worlds. It's like they heard the backlash over the wild battle system and threw out the whole lot instead of considering which parts really work.

It'd be nice if I could "rent" a Nintendo Switch to play this, like they used to have at Blockbuster. I wouldn't want to buy the whole system otherwise. Although it is pretty cheap.

Not to sell you on something you don't want, but I adore the Switch. My favorite aspect of it is that I hit the power button and I am instantly in my game. I feel like it's easy to play in 10-15 minute chunks when I have a little bit of free time available. I play in handheld mode probably 80% of the time and I find myself taking it with me more than I did when I had the original DS. On top of that, this system has the best 3rd party content of any Nintendo console since the 64. I'd really recommend it if you have interest in it at all.

Overall I love the switch. I do dislike two things.

-Left joycon drift

- Parental control scheme... it is console based rather than user/mii based. So it is very hard to cordon off a game like SkyRim to the teen/adult mii account. You cannot restrict playing hours bu mii - you have to restrict the whole console.

Doesn't Nintendo generally do well with replacing/fixing left joycon drift, though? I hope so, as mine's starting to get too annoying to use when I'm playing Smash with my roommates.

You can recalibrate them in the settings, it usually does the trick.


When that doesn't work, try a can of air, or if you are hardware and electronics savvy, take it apart and give it a real good cleaning.

> -Left joycon drift

A temporary remedy is to clean them out -- even a can of air can do it.

This is of course a temporary remedy, though, as you will have to do it again, and sooner or later, it won't work anymore.

> this system has the best 3rd party content

Really? I adore the system as well but... it seems rather bloated with mediocre and outright terrible "indie" content. There is a distinct lack of AAA quality games aside from Nintendo originals (Mario, Smash, Zelda...). 2 years of Switch were enough to finish those to a satisfying end. A couple of ports like Stardew Valley don't really help the case either.

I just finished adventure mode in Smash and consider only two games to buy right now: Octopath and Undertale, where only the former is a new original Switch title. Im not jumping at those either. The games that seem attractive in the store are often available on other systems as well.

You left out my qualifiers :). I fully stand by my statement that it has the best 3rd party content of any Nintendo system since the 64.

The Wii was a fine system but it lacked a lot of quality 3rd party content because of how unique the hardware and controller situation were. The Wii U was basically a $400 Super Smash Bros machine. I'm not saying that the Switch is perfect, but it has far more options than it's predecessor, even if you're not super happy with those options. I personally own Celeste, Okami, Dead Cells, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane trilogy and several others on my Switch. I get that most of these are ports, but with the Wii and Wii U we were rarely getting even that and I am very happy to be able to play them on the go. I'm happy that we have these games and developers are bringing their content to the Switch. It shouldn't be taken for granted imo.

It's got plenty of what looks like indie shovelware, but it's also got good stuff (and as usual for digital storefronts it's hard to tell which is which from the cover alone).

And honestly, even if a chunk of the good stuff is available elsewhere, portability on something more convenient than a laptop is nothing to sneeze at.

Can always buy a used one and resell it when you're done

True, good idea.

The Switch is nice because it's so easy to hook up a game of mario kart to your TV if a friend comes over - each Switch has two controllers built in.

Plus it's portable. That's the key for me -- I can easily take it when I travel. Which means I can meet some random person and just start playing Mario Kart or whatnot with them while traveling. It's kinda great.

Pokemon is recycled garbage and I WANT IT NOW.

Pokemon set in Industrial Era England, eh? Better than it could have been. I just hope this one's mechanics lean closer to XD than, say, Moon.

Looks like they will keep sacrificing playability and enjoyability for graphical greatness.

Why? I don't see any indication of that in the trailer. I just hope that it is a classical turn based pokémon game like I loved to play.

That is not Nintendo's m.o. They sacrifice graphics more often than not.. their consoles are legendary for being on-par graphic-wise with the competition from 5 years ago. Their gameplay though is awesome. As a Switch user and playing BOTW and other properties, it has been great.

What are you basing that conclusion on? The trailer didn't show any UI.

Can't you have both?

To me, the thing that makes playability and enjoyability worse on games like this is the grinding they make you go through before you can even do anything.

I feel like they should be able to pull off a nice looking pokemon game. Think Breath of the Wild but pokemon! This looks pretty close to that no?

Why should BOTW be the objective? It was a pretty meh game. And dungeons were terrible.

Explaining myself to the user below: weapons breaking too often, combat is crap, very limited amount of types of enemies, etc.

Probably because many people loved BOTW and it was wildly successful, both critically and financially. So there's clearly a market for that style of game among Switch users.

Sure, but I'm interested in getting a good Pokémon game. I don't care what the market wants. Of course, the market will win, that's how all franchises get ruined.

> Of course, the market will win, that's how all franchises get ruined.

"The market" is how all franchises become franchises in the first place.

You are right, the combat is crap, durability sucks. But the 'world' is mainly what i was referring to, the visuals and journey. Not the combat.

/uodtl is right about all of those things. I admit i never actually finished BoTW but I spent 100+ hours in it, so it was worth my money. I've seen this image on r/gaming where it shows a BoTW like panoramic view, but with your pokemans. That is what everyone wants!

I haven't played Breath of the Wild, but almost everyone I've talked to seems to say it was a great game. What didn't you like about it?

BotW wasn't perfect, but the change to formula was nice.

I'd like to see something more like Dark Souls 1, it's a linear world unless you figure out how to go a different way. Then it opens up tremendously.

I would love to have a DS1 like journey but it's unlikely for a pokemon. Maybe a spinoff pokemon. You know how many people arrive and firelink and spends hours dying to skellies? This pokemon version would need to put level 30 pokes hanging nearby Rt. 101. And there would be some crazy backdoor route to go from starting area straight to elite 4 :p

A different combat system, maybe? The Dark Souls model relies heavily on player skill/dexterity as well as (or more than) pure numbers; there's plenty of room for other models to support something like that.

A first-person or third-person action model doesn't fit Pokemon very well because it doesn't position the player as the trainer, but you could do a turn-based grid like Fire Emblem, or a turn-based/real-time grid-fighter thing like MMBN, or an overhead-camera action-y thing (Diablo, most MOBAs, etc). Integrating battles into the world more (environmental things - climb trees, dig holes, hide behind rocks) could also help.

I meant Zelda, but a pokemon game that's less linear would be good.

you could add high level pokemon in easily accessible areas, but position the pokemon centers to make getting stuck extremely hard. Make the gyms harder but make the order flexible.

why do you think that?

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