The seventh adventure is about to unfold. On the 23rd day of the month of November, in the year 2016, we shall arise from our beds, emerge from our holes, jump from our perches and fall in love with a sea lion, a fire feline, or a grass owl. Welcome to Alola, the new region in the next instalment of Pokemon. Based on Hawaii, the scene is set for a sun-filled, terrible-shirt-wearing adventure. Leave your hat and gloves in Snowbelle City, and say a fond farewell to Piloswine as your next journey might not be ice-type friendly, but at least Jynx won’t be following you onto the plane. So what can we really expect from the next generation?
Not much is known other than the three new starter Pokemon, and the designs for two main legendaries. In the blue corner we have Popplio, a sea lion with the ability Torrent. In the red corner we have Litten, a kitten that if you upset, has the ability Blaze. And finally, in the green corner, Rowlet, the owl of the shrubs with the ability Overgrow. Nothing is known about their evolutions, and it would be too soon for any conclusions, but Popplio is already looking to be one of the worst starter designs. Litten is a little boring (I barely got excited after the last fire cat), but at least Rowlet retains a little originality, which shines a little bit of hope for my adventure into Alola.
What’s really exciting is the two legendaries that have been shown on the covers. A giant cosmic bat on the cover of Pokemon Moon harbors hope for a potential new typing, which has been discussed amongst many Pokemon fans: Cosmic type. With Solrock and Lunatone expected to play a huge role in these upcoming games, their galactic origins might just influence the rise of the new alien typing, and alas, the Clefairy spaceships in the anime will finally make some sense. How a new type would affect the balance of the overall game is always a concern, after all, the fairy type was introduced to balance out the overly powerful dragon type, and to give poison something to shout about. However, a cosmic typing might help explain the origin of Pokemon, where Space is fundamental to the existence of Pokemon in the Pokemon world. Maybe with such a potential story into the origins of Pokemon, Arceus will be brought back in one form or another. As for the legendary for Pokemon Sun; it looks like another fire cat but hopefully, it’ll be more than that.
While we’re on course to the Alpha Centauri of the Pokemon world, our happy hula adventure might not need to be so linear. Sure, we all had the Pokemon Master dream when we first looked into Squirtle’s eyes and realized we wanted a Blastoise, but now I’m ready to take my destiny into other paths. After my fourth playthrough of Pokemon Red and Blue as a child, I was pretty sure I wanted to take Giovanni’s position as Leader of Team Rocket. The option to make your own choices would greatly enhance the gameplay, creating a more personal play through and making everyone’s experience unique. With the Pokemon Bank and the GTS, filling your Pokedex isn’t the life long mission it once was. Pokemon will always be one of the greatest multiplayer games of all time, but expanding on the solo aspect of the game would really be appreciated. This doesn’t necessarily mean more save files, as this could easily break the concept of the original Pokemon idea. Multiple save files would make it easier to trade items and Pokemon between your different files, which defeats the purpose of the multiplayer function.
Personalising your own Pokemon experience would be the next step up the series needs, which could potentially lead to more personalized Pokemon. Skepticism is only natural, but many of us have already embraced Ash-Greninja in the anime and it’s certainly something that could be done with other Pokemon. It wouldn’t be the first time something appeared in the anime before it did in the games, Ho-oh being the greatest example. We still don’t know whether Ash-Greninja is a form of Mega Evolution or something else, but it’s most likely to have some influence on Pokemon Sun and Moon and it will be interesting to see how it develops. The only issue would be the continued existence of shiny Pokemon, who would almost be made redundant if you could personalize the appearance of your Pokemon. I remain slightly skeptical, but optimistic it could bring something refreshing to the gameplay at the same time. Slowbro aside, Mega Evolution has been rather positive and brought a new aspect to the games. I’d certainly expect Solrock and Lunatone to get a Mega Evolution in Sun and Moon. Maybe the personalized appearances could tie in with just the Mega Evolution itself?
Whatever new Pokemon we encounter, or whichever old Pokemon we take with us, and however my expectations might flounder, I know Pokemon Sun and Moon won’t fail to keep me away from a social life when it arrives. The hype is real and I can only wonder what will happen until I’m there relaxing on the Alola beach with my grass owl.