Generation VI is incoming! I told you all!
by, 27th December 2012 at 10:00 PM (12221 Views)
I've been meaning to write a post like this for a while, but I just haven't been able to find the time. Anyway, I've been saying for a long time that during 2013, Pokémon will be moving to its sixth generation for a while now; my basis for saying such being based on closely studying the timelines of the Pokémon series and its various releases, which I detailed in blog that I wrote just over a year ago. Aside from a few minor details, my prediction back then has so far been accurate (things I admittedly got wrong were B2W2 instead of Grey - but who expected that? And the reveal years of the Mythical Pokémon, but admittedly, I predicted Meloetta and Genesect being revealed in quick succession). Now, we are only a few days away from 2013 and as I expected, we are already seeing signs that Pokémon's fifth generation - and my current favourite of them all - is coming to and end.
The first solid sign of things to come came on 14th July 2012, when the August issue of CoroCoro Magazine leaked, with images of Genesect. Meloetta being revealed towards the end of February certainly was odd, making 2012 the first year to see more than one Mythical Pokémon released (following Keldeo in mid-February), but it was Generation V, the generation that flips the table on the past conventions of the franchise, so we could let it slide. Genesect though? That was pretty telling that the end was nigh. Then it was only distributed via Wi-Fi in August - and in October internationally! By that time, we already knew that the Paleozoic Pokémon would be appearing in 2013's movie, so its quick reveal was seen by many (including myself) as The Pokémon Company shouting out that it will not be the main star.
Then flash forward to December, when this baby surfaces:
ExtremeSpeed Genesect. Aside from being a not very subtle reference to Mobile Suit Gundam's Char Aznable and his red Zaku (that is apparently 3x faster than the average Zaku), this is also a rather unusual situation - the apparent star of the movie has already been distributed months ago and the event is even being repeated early next year. So is a distribution of this shiny Genesect (with the obvious special move of ExtemeSpeed) supposed to be the big giveaway? I can see that working for a pre-order bonus, but for a main distribution? I think it was a poke that fans are supposed to see the Genesect in the title as a red herring; that ExtremeSpeed Genesect isn't the full title. That fits the usual pattern though - usually we only learn part of a movie's title in December, then the full thing around February the following year.
Then, in the last week came this - a new year message from GameFreak, which, according to sources such as @sunyshore;, mentions that the world of Pokémon will "evolve" in 2013. Admittedly that's rather ambiguous, until put up against the rest of the evidence.
Again, with credit to Sunyshore (she's just awesome like that). Shadowed out merchandise has become the usual sign in the fandom for new Pokémon. While we have been proven wrong in the past, more often than not, it means that a yet-to-be-revealed Pokémon will be featured in the various different pieces of merchandise released around the time a new movie is. We also know from [url=http://sunyshore.com/scrap/genesectgoods4.jpg]this[/image], that apparently two more Pokémon that appear in the movie will appear in merchandise.
Do you want to know what I think? Look at the Pokémon featured in the images above. Are any of them cute (well, other than Pikachu)? Not really. So, I think one of the two Pokémon could be a brand new, cute, marketable Pokémon (the one that countless bits of adorable merchandise are made of, like plushes, lunch boxes etc) and the other could be the movie's new main star (or knowing Pokémon lately, two formes of the same damn species).
Now, the big question is obviously "When will Generation VI's Primary Pair be released?". Well to be honest, aside from 2013 in Japan, I can't say for certain. Typically, main series games are released in Japan in or around September, but Black 2 and White 2 were released in June. I'm guessing that the reason for that was so an international release could occur in 2012, as they were Nintendo DS games being released over a year after the 3DS had launched (Nintendo and GameFreak might be able to get away with a DS game a year later, but not two). So I don't want to assume anything other than their June launch month being a one-off until proven otherwise. The difference in time periods for game localisations is also why I don't want to speculate about an international release just yet, as they are so varied. Games such as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and countless Mario games are released within the same week internationally, but Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates To Infinity is seeing a four month gap between Japan and America, while the gap between for Fire Emblem: Awakening is 10 months (a full year for Europe). As Pokémon is a larger property for Nintendo than Fire Emblem, I expect that it will have a faster localisation time (Black 2/White 2's was 3.5 months and Black/White's was just under 6 months). While the fan in me will always want the new games to be released internationally in the same week as Japan, I highly doubt it will happen. At best, I'd say that the Generation VI Primary Pair could potentially be released internationally just in time for the 2013 holiday period, but I wouldn't count on it, or want to speculate further, until we hear more about the Japanese release.
I will say this though - I am hyped for Generation VI. I absolutely love the Nintendo 3DS and how powerful some of its games are (such as Dead or Alive Dimensions and Resident Evil Revelations). It is a powerful console with numerous features that I believe Pokémon could really utilise - particularly SpotPass. Maybe the days of Mythical Pokémon being pre-programmed into games for us to discover by reverse engineering at launch will be over? GameFreak could just add Pokémon into our games via SpotPass. Heck, why stop there? Imagine waking up on morning to see the little blue light going off, with a notification telling you to go to the Pokémart to pick up a Darkrai or something! Then we have StreetPass, which could be used for anything from egg-roulette (like in the Union Room) to Battle Box data exchanging and even perhaps, the opportunity to set up online "Communities" like Mario Kart 7? (Being a competitive player, I can't wait for a more improved online system - too many people abuse the DS' poor online capabilities to disconnect whenever they lose matches online, leading to some very good and honest players being disqualified from online tournaments because TPCi can't figure out which player disconnected).
One question that has been on my mind a lot though, is whether or not Gen VI will still use sprites. Some of the 3DS games I mentioned above have gorgeous 3D models, but others like Disney's Epic Mickey: Castle of Illusion and Project X-Zone still use sprites for the most part. While the Pokédex 3D Pro application features 3D models of every single Pokémon and form(e), Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity only uses those models for a select few Pokémon (not all of them are available in the game). Although I think sprites in a 3D game would look weird, I wouldn't mind if we stuck with sprites for the Pokémon (after all, there will probably be over 750 species when Gen VI comes out, plus alternate and shiny forms), but I would love a 3D overworld similar to Pokémon Colosseum (Tales of the Abyss features a fairly large overworld with similar detail). Perhaps more stylised sprites like [i]Pokémon Conquest[i] would be a good step forward? Audino, we'll have to Sewaddle happen.
...And that's what I love about Pokémon now. Thanks to Generation V's unpredictable nature and the immense number of possibilities the Nintendo 3DS could bring, the leap between Generation V and VI could be one of the biggest we've ever seen. I have never been more excited about a new generation when we know absolutely nothing about it! Due to the sheer variety of titles on Nintendo's new handheld, what the future could hold has a mysterious flavour that I love and I crave to know more about. 2013 will definitely be a very interesting year for Pokémon. I'll certainly be waiting in anticipation for even the slighest slither of news.
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