Pokémon Needs A 100% Brand-New Pokédex (Bye, Pikachu)
Each Generation of the Pokémon main series games has introduced new species unique to the featured regions, continually adding to the number of Pokémon players can catch. In recent years, regional varients were also introduced, updating the designs of past Pokémon and giving them new types. While the continually growing National Pokédex seems to be the solution to keeping things fresh in each new Pokémon title, it has actually created an issue where the inclusion of every species in one game isn’t realistically possible. This has led to regional Pokédexs bogged down with the same favorite designs and limits the number of new Pokémon added to new games. However, this could be solved with the introduction of a completely new roster of Pokémon species in an upcoming game.
Currently, there are 898 different Pokémon species. This is a big jump from the original 151 found in Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow. The expansions to the National Pokédex didn’t just include species, but types as well. The Steel and Dark types were added in Generation Two and Fairy was introduced in Generation Five. While each of the Eight Generations of the Pokémon series has added a good number of Pokémon to the overall count, only the first game has introduced a completely original Pokédex, with all other games using Pokémon from previous games.
While most Pokémon fans have several favorite companions they like to catch in every game release, the repetition of catching Pikachu in each new region is enough to give anyone Pokémon fatigue. To combat this, Nintendo and Game Freak should consider releasing a new Pokémon title that introduces an entirely unique regional Pokédex. A fresh lineup would remove the expectations on developers to do something new with old designs, and offer fans a completely different type of Pokémon adventure.
A New Regional Pokédex Could Introduce New Pokémon Types & Evolution Patterns
A new regional Pokédex could be the perfect opportunity for the Pokémon games to try introducing new types. For example, an “ancient” type could give existing Pokémon a new type while also opening the opportunity for further prehistoric Pokémon to be introduced. Dozens of new fossils and a DNA processing kit could be introduced to the games, allowing players to dig up and restore fossils on the go, instead of relying on a fossil lab. Attacks like “extinction” could one-hit KO both active Pokémon in battle, requiring the player with the fossil type to use items and affection to prevent fainting. A “tech” type would also boost past Pokémon but offer a chance for interesting new designs based on computers, tablets, phones, and other techy objects. While Rotom does a good job covering these bases in other games, species based on modern items would likely appeal to newer fans of the series.
New Evolution abilities could also play a part in a completely original regional Pokédex. Mega Evolution and Dynamax have both added strategies to Pokémon games like X and Y and Sword and Shield, while also taking advantage of new console capabilities. A region-specific phenomenon could be used to introduce double Evolution, where two Pokémon can merge into a new form temporarily. The new form could gain the types of both eligible Pokémon, as well as a special move to use once per encounter. Permanent fourth evolutions could also be used for certain Pokémon if players find the right items around the region, offering a Pokémon similar in power to a Legendary or Mythical species, but with a more rewarding process of obtaining it.
Why A New Regional Pokédex List Is Unlikely For Pokémon’s Gen 9
While the introduction of an entirely new regional Pokédex line-up could excite many Pokémon fans, it is unlikely such a big step will be taken in potential upcoming games. Creating new Pokémon species takes time and energy that pulls developers away from working on other enriching elements of the games. This controversial struggle was seen during the development of Sword and Shield when it was announced the Galar region would not include a full National Pokédex as past games had. The developers explained that the time and effort it would take to include all existing species would take away from the time needed to polish things like the new battle mechanics and overarching narrative. While this was met with frustration from fans, Sword and Shield still have 400 species in the primary Galar Pokédex and added many past favorites in both DLC expansions.
Additionally, creating a new Pokédex would likely limit a Pokémon game to a very small number of available species. If an upcoming Pokémon game used an all-new line-up, it would likely only have between 100 and 150 species total, reducing the selection players could find while going on their journey, and greatly limiting the post-game challenges that have become a big draw for many Pokémon players. Tasks like filling the entire Pokédex and Shiny Hunting would be much less enticing, with far fewer options to make the effort feel satisfying. The game would also lack icon Pokémon like Pikachu and Charmander, which have acted as nostalgic companions through almost every region. This could cause long-time fans to balk at picking up a new game.
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A good way to try something like a new regional Pokédex would be through DLC for an existing region. For example, a third DLC for Sword and Shield could introduce a challenge location that requires players to leave all existing Pokémon in their PCs, with only the DLC area’s species available to catch and use. This DLC could possess a short narrative and several towns, with enough room for 25 to 50 new species. At the end of the story, all the Pokémon in the DLC could become available in other parts of Galar’s map, including Raid Dens in the Wild Areas.
The option would give fans of the Pokémon series the opportunity to try the concept out, but without needing to pay for an entirely new game. It would also give developers a level of safety, requiring much less work and risk. While this could be a controversial move for the Pokémon series, the introduction of a new regional Pokédex could be a great way to push players out of their comfort zones and create new and exciting challenges for the series.
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