By Josh Speer / June 14th, 2016
During the Treehouse today, Nintendo had a lot to say and show off for upcoming Pokémon Sun and Moon. They sat down with Matsuda and Omori from GameFreak to discuss the upcoming game and some of the things we can look forward to.
They discussed how Solgaleo is an emissary of the sun and Lunala is an emissary of the moon, and how those elemental forces come into play in the game itself. They said they wanted a new region teeming with life, bustling with tons of new Pokémon, though fear not, as fan favorites are still making an appearance in the Alola region. The region itself is made up of four islands plus one man-made island. They called it a ‘miraculous region overflowing with life force,’ which is sure to be a plot point. They also mentioned that it is isolated from the other regions.
After this, they discussed the starters, and said they made a special effort to make them universally relatable and easy to understand and distinguish visually. Another focus was on designing characters and Pokémon with tropical environments in mind since the climate is extremely warm in Alola. Graphically, they have made some improvements as well, such as more realistic proportions for human characters.
It was noteworthy that this was the first time they showed off a Pokémon game in this early stage of development. Though it is coming out in November, they are still working on and improving the experience. As for the demo itself: it starts by showing off the early portion of game after the player moved to the Alola region and got his starter, Popplio. You make your way to the neighboring town, capturing wild Pokémon and fighting trainers. First, they encountered a Ledyba in grass, followed by new Pokémon Yungoos and Pikipek.
Yungoose was described as always hungry and aggressive while Pikipek was a fast and frantic woodpecker.
More exciting were some of the upgrades to the battle interface. Though minor, the game now shows the trainer in the screen supporting his Pokémon, which gives a good sense of scale. New lighting effects are much improved from the previous games, showing off shadows and dynamic lighting, as well as better panning of the camera. What was cool were some new touch features on the screen. By touching the i button, you can see color coordinated panels for battle options and by tapping the 2D Pokémon icon on the touch screen you can see the paramaters of wild Pokémon affected by your Pokémon’s moves. Upon capturing a wild Pokémon, the upper screen will display a white pokéball symbol which shows if more evolutions are available, meant to encourage Pokédex completion. Speaking of which, the Rotom Pokédex will have a host of new features, but was not available at this early part of the game.
Another cool update is how the screen will get a shaded effect when a trainer is nearby waiting to challenge you, so you can avoid them if need be. One of the trainer battles shown was against a Caterpie. The nice thing is now trainers are rendered in full 3D with a wide range of emotion and movement to display personality. Most convenient is how now once you’ve battled a Pokémon once, you’ll get info on which moves are super effective against it next time. Should be very helpful for catching hard to get Pokémon.
The demo ended with a Festival, which involved battling your rival. The Festival is a ritual to please guardian deities an a rite of passage of sorts. The deity mentioned in the demo was Tapu Koko, but more details weren’t forthcoming, which means the folks at GameFreak are hiding something juicy. As for the last battle against your rival, it had your Popplio versus Pichu and then Litten.
The very last thing show was a new gameplay mode, a multiplayer battle royale mode. The rules of this mode are that four players battle each other at the same time, using up to three Pokémon. You battle one at a time in this free for all, and you can focus on all Pokémon or gang up on one. The first trainer to lose his or her Pokémon signals the end of battle, where the game tallies up stats to determine winner.
All in all, I think we all have a lot to look forward to when Pokémon Sun and Moon hits November 18.
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