The Future of Pokemon Go
A work which becomes a genre in itself. Worth noting that this is not Niantic’s first outing with a game of a similar format, but when you use one of gaming’s biggest names to shine a spotlight on your core concept of course it’s going to explode. The problem we have is a fairly common issue in the modern gaming industry, we have been presented with an incomplete product. We’ve not paid for it of course, and the advantage of its freemium style is that you only pay money if you’re already enjoying what you’ve got.
Speculation Warning Most of this will be conjecture and wishful thinking on my part, but it ties nicely into next Thursday’s article, be sure to read both to see where all this “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” is going.
Second disclaimer – Extra Credits beat me to this, they released this video some time around when I sat down to start writing. I’d resent them, but I love them, and I watch their videos to get ideas, they’re professionals in the field and I am an enthusiastic amateur, so I can’t be too upset. Watch their video first, then read on.
Anyway, recent updates have had mixed results. Removing the distance guide has made finding Pokemon harder, and therefore made the chase less compelling, but an adequate replacement has been put in place for now. The “appraise” feature added this week gives greater insight into what each new catch is capable of, and helps us choose whether or not to convert it into food, and is also the start of a plan to involve the team leaders more in the game. Some of the other plans we know are under way, we have improved interaction at Stops, Gyms, better augmented reality, trading between trainers, pitching your own Pokemon against one another to train, and of course the rest of the generations.
But there’s plenty more I’d like to see.
Geography and Time
This is already partially in effect, you’re far more likely to see water-types by rivers and lakes, and there are some clear disparities in terms of drier and more arid climes in terms of fire, ground, rock and fighting-types, as well as hot days and wind speeds. You’re definitely more likely to encounter a greater variety in parks and fields than you are sat at home, there’s some anecdotal evidence that claims ghost-types are more common in graveyards, but sadly not true. It is also true that day and night effect what you’re likely to encounter.
Personally, I think more can be done without hindering the enjoyment of others. Higher elevations might make it more likely to find rock-types, winter more likely to find ice-types, and conversely summer for fire types. Perhaps psychics may appear closer to libraries and schools, fighters around sports fields and gyms.
Of course this isn’t a perfect method, not all types would work so well with geographical dispersion, like fairy, dragon or bug-types. It’s also something far too easily over-done that renders the game less fun for others, like my particularly vicious idea of only allowing Lugia to be caught in the bathyal zone and it’s already something that’s on the go so let’s move on.
Onix can reach nearly thirty foot in length. In Pokemon Go he’s big, but he’s not five times longer than a person. Maybe I’m being too picky, but I just love the idea of walking up a mountain and having to look a long way up to see it’s face. The technology is there, but may be quite demanding on the already over-taxed battery and technology, certainly a lot easier to manage with augmented reality switched off, but something closer to the truth would be nicer to see.
I’d kind-of like to see flying Pokemon in the sky, so that you have to look up from time to time. Natural behaviour (like Pokemon devouring each other or… self replicating) is definitely too much to ask, but little additions like seeing a water-type swimming when you see it spawning in water, or bug-types climbing trees, ground-types emerging from the ground. All of this is really Sequel fodder, but technology exists to make this sort of thing possible… eventually.
I mean real battles, I loved the old style of combat. I know that Go is it’s own unique style of game, and the collecting method is good enough, but when it comes to Gym battles, and the possible future trainer-on-trainer fights I’d love to see Pokemon with a basic move-set, turn based combat rather than the timing based swiping and tapping, it’s just not my thing.
It could also be possible to bring in TMs and HMs as stop-loot and level-up and medal rewards as a way of further optimising for combat and other gameplay scenarios, for example “Flash” might artificially induce daylight rules for Pokemon appearances, Fly might broaden your circle of influence for a short time, and Strength might force a Stop to refresh artificially (maybe, I’m just throwing ideas around).
This is a genre in the making! There are already plans for new Go style games for other huge properties, and if you watched the Extra Credits video then you can already see where the genre could go, but that is a conversation for another day.