02-12-2007, 10:04 AM
Imagine: a land with an enormous, pristine overworld, as large as possible (I'm thinking North America sized, even though thatís an unrealistic hope), with a huge variety of climates. There would be absolutely no sign of mankind's influence, except for a few EXTREMELY well hidden ruins nestled deep within the unexplored continent, that you would need to climb mountains and explore beneath the earth to find. There is no sign of a native people, but the land is bursting with pokemon, both rare and common, in even the hardest to reach places. The pokemon would use some cell shading effects, while everything else would be using realistic graphics.
The day this game is released, and the first group of people land in this new country, they are completely alone. Their story? They come from the other side of the world where wild pokemon are nearly non-existent, and thus they are all beginners in the world of pokemon. When you start up a new game, you get incredible customization over your character, with enough options to look almost exactly like anyone you know, clothes and all. You arrive in this new world by ship. As a settler of this new land, you have the option to go anywhere you can, and build your own home. With no government, you can build almost anything your imagination fancies, from gyms to research centers, from pokemarts to bike stores, from ranches to spas. You could even create an entire stadium to hold tournaments, but only if you have the help of others. This would give rise to many different tournaments, for anyone from new gamers to the pokemon fanatics who know every nuance of the battle system. Non playable characters would help transport supplies to the colonies by traveling back and forth between the old lands and the new one, and they would also be builders, family members along for the ride, generally taking care of things "beneath" trainers who just want to battle. The first people there would even have the ability to start towns, with enough support from other trainers. Not just anyone can make a building for himself, as it will take time and materials, and you canít build just anywhere. Land suitable for buildings would become prime real estate, and you actually have to put effort and time into your property on a regular basis in order to keep your land, as you actually have to want the buildings you make. Of course, there are always secret bases available, which can go pretty much anywhere and last pretty much forever, and only your friends would be able to see them. You would still be able to heal yourself and take all your pokemon out to play with one another in a secret base, and thatís all anybody really needs.The elite trainers could create their own networks not unlike the elite 4, maybe even getting that title if they earn it, creating their own crazy rules and requirements. They could work in conjunction with gym leaders and the like to create their own 8 badge, 3 badge or even 30 badge circuit, depending on what these trainers want. If you are a gym leader and want your gym to have a better reputation, you could apply for membership in a popular gym circuit. Those participating have to want a circuit in order to keep it, more so than buildings. Anyone in an Elite 4 or gym leader position could train NPC replacements to take their place when the trainer isnít logged in, and you could even rotate gym leadership between people so that you don't have to risk leaving you gym in the hands of AI. To keep a gym running, one of the requirements would be that you have to have at least two real trainers learning under you before too much time has passed after founding the gym. They would be a great help in keeping the rookie challengers from taking up too much of your time, too. You could even design your own badges, and design your own gymís traps. Being a gym leader isnít for everyone, though.With these ideas, the players would be the ones who controlled what type of land they were playing in more than in any other MMO, and it would only become richer as time passed, towns grew, and circuits established themselves, attracting more gamers. Coalitions between trainers would be elaborate in this game, and they would even have an option to create your own team. This could be like team Rocket, obviously evil, like Team Magma and Aqua, fighting for a cause, or an organization striving for justice. Evil teams would not be able to steal other people's pokemon, but would be able to take your property, money, and household possessions unless you are able to defend yourself, and itís much harder for them to succeed if you live in a more populated community. Being a member of such an evil team would make it a LOT harder to keep your pokemon's affection stat up, as your pokemon won't love you for using them for evil. Evil teams, therefore, will have to pick on people weaker than them more often than not, balancing out the advantages of being evil. Places with a large number of strong, law abiding trainers will be the beginning areas, always growing, keeping new trainers close together and trainers bent on doing evil far away. There will be areas that donít let you battle at all, there will be areas where you need to ask the trainerís permission to begin a battle, and there will be areas where only your avoidance skills will keep you from battles. A lot of these areas wonít let people take on trainers with pokemon too low a level either, except the areas where battles arenít restricted at all, which would be roughly half the overworld. The main area you start off in will probably grow to enormous proportions, and be safe for miles around for newer players. Once you have become more confident with your abilities, you will venture as far as your abilities can take you. Even if you are completely hopeless as a gamer, with enough time anyone cam raise level 100 pokemon, and explore a lot of the game world. Good trainers could set up counter teams, to battle evil wherever it may go, or merely neutral teams, that give different non battle related bonuses. Nice people could even set up new trainer schools, or allow you to apprentice yourself to a gym, for a fee, or for free, teaching you stuff you might not have known, and letting you fight them in friendly battles.For the battle system, it would look COMPLETELY different, while being almost the exact same system "under the hood." When in the wild, different pokemon would have different comfort zones. Depending on their motivations and their type, breaching these comfort zones would make them attack you with varying levels of intensity. The moment you get attacked, a small meter appears below the trainer, somewhat like a health meter. If the attacking pokemon, wild or sent after you, brings this meter to zero using its attacks before you can get away, then you have no choice but to use your pokemon to defend yourself. If you donít get away, then you have to battle, creating a suitable MMO setting with enough battles to go around. If you do get away, then you have saved time, and there wonít be people forced into battle every five feet in the most annoying way. There is no separate battle screen; you merely battle in the exact same area you were in before the battle started. For a trainer, if you are in a constrained area, you could ask them politely to take a step outside, or into a bigger room. The camera, however, would be dynamic to make up for the lack of a separate battle screen. Pokemon would be rushing all over the area when battling, somewhat like the show, when told to attack, and actually make physical contact. For example, the fly attack would see the flying pokemon fly off way into the distance, depending on the pokemon, before swooping back to crash into the other pokemon. I would heavily streamline the pace of the game and battles using the Wii controller. Whenever a Pokemon is hurt, there isnít a message telling you that itís hurt, you just get a red number above its health meter that fades away, and a blue one for gaining EXP. If you want to see the pokemonís stats, to see if itís poisoned or has had its stats reduced, then all you would need to do is point the Wiimote at the pokemonís stat window for more detailed info. The shoulder buttons on the analog stick attachment could be used to choose which pokemon you want to send out, snapping the analog attachment forwards would send your pokemon out of its pokeball, and jerking back on the attachment would call it back, and this would work even when not in battle. Out of battle, pointing the Wiimote at NPCs would make them look at you (across the room conversations with NPCs, anyone?), would make pokemon pay attention to you, etc. In battle, a pokemonís attacks would be mapped out onto the D-pad. Pressing the D-pad would bring up a targeting reticule, controller sensors would move it to the target (doesnít always have to be a pokemon) and pressing A would initiate the attack. In battle, doing that would be a full turn, and not attacking for too long would hand your turn over to your pokemonís fairly advanced AI. In the overworld, this pointer aspect would make for a more intuitive puzzle system. Attacks would be categorized into their affects in the overworld for puzzles and be controlled using the pointer, and HM moves like fly and surf would be manually controlled. You could have one pokemon out at all times for ease of move use, and affection. All of this would not change the battle mechanics at all, and it would still remain turn based.There are things I WOULD change about the basic underlying battle mechanics, though. One is to have a pokemon become ever so slightly more proficient in using a move that is used over and over, thus making psychic not a waste on a Golduck. You would have to use the move A LOT to make a difference, though. Also, pokemon are naturally proficient with certain moves. Snorlax, for example, would start out with a slightly stronger body slam, seeing as he weighs so much. Pokemon who like you will also become more proficient in moves more quickly, where pokemon who hate you will become proficient at a much slower speed, making how your pokemon likes you matter even more. To balance out the people who would spend way too much time using one move over and over, such as Mewtwo's psychic, the boost in power from doing this will become less and less as the number of times the move is used goes up (graph ďy=the square root of xĒ on a graphing calculator). Another is to give the ďhappinessĒ stat a much greater role in deciding your pokemonís strength: basically, making a pokemon love you FULLY, although mostly counterproductive to the leveling process, would double your pokemonís power in battle. It would be much more fun than in previous games using the Rev controller (think Nintendogs), and take a lot more effort than just leveling, finally making happiness the most important stat in TRUTH.Speaking of Nintendogs, you could build a pokeranch where you could engage in some Nintendogs like interaction with your pokemon. This ranch would be built so that your pokemon wouldn't have to be stored in a cramped computer, roaming free instead, interacting with other pokemon, being happy. You could even build a public pokeranch, charging people for keeping their pokemon there, and most of the ranch work would be done by NPCs, possibly the characterís family. Pokebreeding would happen there, as well. Pokemon spas in towns and cities would serve much the same Nintendogís like purpose, except without the storing of pokemon, and with a great range of customization for your pokemon, like spiky hair or a hat for your pikachu, the option to weld patterns onto your steel pokemon, etc. You could build or join a research center either on its own or attached to a spa or ranch, learning about pokemon and spreading the information you learn for the common good, or selling the info. The number of jobs available would very reasonable.More, there could be affinity pokemon. The first pokemon you get would automatically be an affinity pokemon, finding affinity pokemon would be rarer than shinies, and it would be more than worth it to raise one fully. When you encounter such a pokemon, the camera zooms in on it so that you can recognize its worth. When you catch it, it could start out loving you, it could start out hating you, it could remain neutral for a long time, but overall its maximum capacity for affection towards YOU AND ONLY YOU will be more than normal, although much slower to grow. With affection playing a bigger role in this game, people might decide to use an affinity pokemon instead of a strategically better pokemon, thus encouraging greater pokemon diversity amongst trainers. Affinity pokemon could even be used to get past the downsides of being in an evil organization if raised right, as in the show.The challenge that comes with catching all Pokemon wouldnít be because of the sheer number of them, instead being because of how hard it is to find them all, as the different types would be spread out around the entire overworld. As much detail as possible would be put into each individual pokemon and its use in battle, aside from the detail put into battle animations, for more dynamic possible battle strategies. If the developers had to, they could just focus on updating a few pokemon in this way, release the game, and then add other fully developed pokemon by means of online updates (stored on a hard drive through a USB 2 port). Some pokemon could even be left out entirely at first, or be made useful outside of battle instead. Water pokemon like Wailord would be too big for this gameís types of battles, but would still be good for ferrying and use in large bodies of water. Where you are would affect Pokemon battles much more than ever before, as well as weather to an extent. Using a fire pokemon while diving would seriously weaken the pokemon, and it could even require healing. Same thing goes for ice pokemon in a volcano, or for fish pokemon in a desert. This would finally explain why Kyogre wasnít able to completely destroy Groudon, a ground pokemon, a long time ago. This handicap would only seriously affect battle in extreme situations, though, so no need to be worried. You just canít seriously expect to win a battle using a lava skinned Slugma while diving, unless itís REALLY strong, and REALLY loves you.Expansion packs will add more places to go, like the older lands in all their 3D, re-sized and elaborated glory. Maybe there could be plotlines where you have to explore the new land the game takes place in and discover why there are no people, why it has never been colonized before, and other players, as a rule, couldnít tell newer players this grand secret. Iím thinking something along the lines of something to do with Celebi, the inability of the older peoples to co-operate with pokemon and the cataclysm that followed, the ancient power found in the deepest secret ruins of this land, etc. This plot would take months to flesh out, through updates and user input, and would continue for years through newly created events. Imagine this:"Excuse me, administrator, but the community of Kamloops would like to apply for a "cataclysmic Pokemon attack" event" says the mayor of Kamloops. The Admin says "Sure, give me a moment.........Ok, you will be attacked sometime between 3pm and 8pm Saturday, make sure that all the citizens of Kamloops are present. Have a nice battle for survival!"On the topic of legendary pokemon, they would be completely immune to capture in pokeballs, and there would be no master balls to be found. That way you can only have Legendaries on your side if they CHOOSE to help you, and these adventures with Legendaries are a big part of the game. To get them to help you, you have to defeat them in battle. Because you canít catch them, their stats are far superior to any other pokemon, and defeating them would be the incredibly hard boss fights of the game, where you hold back nothing. Beating them isn't enough, however. You have to meet certain expectations. Jirachi will join you after you beat it only if your Pokemon really love you. Mew won't join you unless your team is well balanced move-wise (or type-wise). Deoxys will only join you if your team is UNbalanced, with power focused in one area. Rukario will only join you if your cause is just and your need is real. And Mewtwo, he will only join you if your team is comprised of powerhouses. All of this won't be told to you, except perhaps by Mewtwo because he's psychic. You would have to find it out by yourself, by asking others or by trial and error. These pokemon don't even have to be unique to be "legendary." They would just have to have unusually high stats, like an enormous Metagross, a malformed Tyranitar, etc., and this would be for trainers not-quite powerful enough to get the aid of the great ones such as Mewtwo. There would be one of each legendary on every server, and because they aren't exactly tame you canít keep them to yourself for too long, or find them in the same place twice. If you need the aid of a powerful pokemon in a plot event, itís easier to find one and gain their respect than during any other time, so no need to fear never getting your chance with one.The music? It's a matter of personal taste. While the included music should be very well done, you should have an option to superimpose your own music, accessed through the USB 2 ports, over any music that's getting on your nerves. You could also choose what other people hear in buildings that you own, like in a pokecenter, choosing from a small in-game library of Poketunes.
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