June 8, 2023

Almost since its creation, Pokémon has offered fans a choice of two different versions of each of its mainline games, but the company would do well to stop the practice. There are many reasons to do so, but the most prominent is that it’s simply unnecessary at this point. A single version of each game would be plenty, and there’s no real reason to keep making two versions of each. Although it might be a tradition in the gaming world, it’s one that may be better off left behind so that the developer can focus more on making a better game.

Pokémon Needs To Stop two different versions

Ever since the very first games, Pokémon Red and Green, the mainline games have almost always had two versions per generation, and even some of the spin-off games have different versions. The Pokémon games have come in pairs for trading, apparently due to their creator, Satoshi Tajiri, feeling that version-exclusive Pokémon would be more desirable if they were rarer. The latest games, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, have kept the tradition alive, but Gen 9 and beyond may be better off consisting of a single entry.

Making one version for each generation could benefit both the company and the players, and lead to better games overall. The two versions of most Pokémon games may not be too different from each other, but there would still be some potential benefits to combining them. For example, without version-exclusive species, players would be able to get their favorite creatures more easily and without always having to resort to Pokémon trading with other players (which is more viable for some people than others). But there are a variety of other potential benefits.
If Pokémon does decide to make a single game for future generations, even just once, the extra planning and work that goes into making two different versions of the same game (even if they aren’t overly different) could become time and energy spent on making a better game. Given that Pokémon Legends: Arceus is only receiving a single version, and seems to be making more experimental choices that could potentially shake up what some feel is a stagnating franchise, it seems reasonable to think that new features or upgrades to existing ones could come with the extra time and resources.

Without two different versions, version-exclusive Pokémon would become a thing of the past, which means that it would be easier for players to fill the Pokédex. And it would be exciting to think that version-exclusive legendary Pokémon could appear in different numbers and combinations if there was no need to split two between a dual-release format. Although completing the Pokédex completely would still require trading in order to evolve some species, it would still make the process less frustrating, and since trading on newer games means having to pay a subscription for Nintendo Switch Online, players are even less inclined to do so, which means that those without a subscription would be able to get the Pokémon they’ve been wanting.

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Since trading would become less important, online features could evolve as well. Placing less importance on trading means there would be more room for other social features. Online battles could gain more prevalence, and new features that are more focused on socialization instead of the mechanics of battling and trading Pokémon, mechanics that some Pokémon fans have ignored, could arise. According to Satoshi Tajiri in a 2004 GameCenter CX interview, one of the reasons he made two versions was to make Pokémon a social game by forcing players to use the Game Boy’s Link Cable in order to obtain the Pokémon they want. This has become defunct with the advent of online trading, and so making singular versions for each generation could bring the series closer to what he had intended in the modern day.Singular games could also mean that spin-offs become more prominent. Games like the Mystery Dungeon series and New Pokémon Snap have been popular with fans, and more games like them could come if the company would focus on a single release for mainline games in each generation. Instead of as many retreads, there might be more space for full experiences in the Pokémon universe not focused purely on the mainline games. In addition to the additional time and resources that would become available, Game Freak and Nintendo would also likely need to fill the metaphorical void with more games, which is where additional spin-offs would come in. Pokémon needs more spin-off games already, but the demand for them could well increase. Sequels to old series like the Wii PokéPark games or Pokkén Tournament could finally come, new Legends games could be on the horizon after Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and entirely new series might suddenly have room to be born.

How Making A Single Pokémon Game Could Be Better For The Company
Even without all of the possible benefits for fans, The Pokémon Company might stand to gain from including only one game per generation as well. Firstly, breaking the tradition of two different versions would likely garner not only the inevitable media attention, but more goodwill from fans, who have often expressed frustration with the current system. Long-time fans who are skeptical of newer games might find reason to return with the new model, and the most hardcore Trainers (who would no longer have to buy two copies of the same title for completeness) could become more active series ambassadors to the uninitiated. A single Pokémon Gen 9 game with missing features from past games and a greater focus from having a singular personality has the possibility to be the best yet if it can break one of the franchise’s oldest traditions.

Making one game for each generation would ultimately slim down and refine the series, allowing for new innovations and more room for growth. As the proverb goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so less time patching games after release, with fans engaged in more meaningful activities than just trying to initiate trades, could leave Pokémon in a stronger position, with more chances to rise to great heights.

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>> Pokémon Needs To Stop two different versions

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