What's next for Pokémon?
Pokémon X and Y were released mere days ago, but my head's already spinning with thoughts of where the series will go next. This is biggest leap Pokémon has taken since Gold and Silver, and it's clear that these new changes will have a big impact on games to come. What kind of new content will we see in the inevitable Pokémon Z? How will the next generation of Pokémon change the game? For now, we can only speculate, but here's what I expect to see in the future of Pokémon.
Expanded Character Customization
The character customization options are easily one of the best new features in X and Y, but I'd bet that Game Freak is just getting started. I'm predicting that Pokémon Z will give players way more clothing options right off the bat. Players will have more hair styles and colors to choose from, and we'll be able to say goodbye to hats if we wish.
The next generation will probably feature the same blind professor as always, but he'll have many more questions to ask you. Once he's determined your gender, you'll be telling him all about your hair style and eye color. Before heading off on your journey, you'll be able to put together your own outfit from a selection of clothing. Players may even receive some kind of bonus for wearing clothing that's weather appropriate.
More Variety in Wild Pokémon
The little differences in some of X and Y's Pokémon have been a blast to discover. My boxes are packed with differently colored Flabebes, and I can't wait to uncover the secret behind Vivillon's many wing patterns. I'm anticipating a lot more of this in Z, with plenty of this generation's newly introduced Pokés receiving new variations. Players should also have the chance to take someone who isn't Furfrou to the salon.
There'll be tons of variety in future Pokémon games, but the fun won't stop there. Some old favorites will be getting new looks. Picture a Beedrill with purple eyes instead of red, or a Tyranitar with a crimson stomach. It's arguable that doing this could take some of the fun out of shinies, but as long as the differences remain subtle, it shouldn't be a big deal.
Fewer New Pokémon
There are fewer new Pokémon in X and Y than any previous generation, and that trend will almost certainly continue. At this point, there are more than 700 different Pokémon. The next generation only needs about 80 new critters to push it over 800. It's just not feasible for Game Freak to keep on adding 100+ Pokémon in each generation. The latest games have proven that stepping into a patch of tall grass can be thrilling even if players aren't encountering anything new.
Love 'em or hate 'em, Mega Evolutions are an easy way for Game Freak to add new designs without overloading the Pokédex. Future games may add even less new Pokémon, but there'll be new variations and Mega Evolutions to soften the blow.
Story Driven Sidequests
Many players have bemoaned Pokémon's lack of story. They crave something other than the same simple tale we've played through time and time again. Recent games have placed a larger focus on plot, but they haven't really shaken things up. While the core story of Pokémon will probably never change, I expect players will find the deeper plot they desire in the form of sidequests.
Imagine exploring a dilapitated old house in order to find the truth behind a ghost Pokémon's legend. Visualize a series of charming but mundane quests that bring you closer to a family in a random little town. You might have a chance to explore Pokémon's mythology on a deeper level, or just see what life's like for a botanist or shopkeeper who lives in the Pokémon world. The possibilities are endless, and they're all pretty exciting.
There's no real way to know what we'll see in future Pokémon until they're released, but that doesn't make speculation any less thrilling. This may all be wishful thinking, but I'd be surprised if we didn't see any of these features in new games. There are elements of Pokémon that will always stay the same, but the series continues to evolve, and it's exciting to think about what Game Freak might do next.