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The future of Pokemon

Generation V is over. What should Game Freak do next? Marc Zablotny has some ideas...

No doubt many of you are still enjoying your second trip to the Unova region in Pokemon Black and White 2, or perhaps still battling in ancient times in Pokemon Conquest. This is all well and good for now, but apart from that new Pokemon Mystery Dungeon 3DS game, there's not a lot at all on the horizon for Pokemon fans. No whisper of Generation VI, no hints towards a new spin-off and, perhaps most surprisingly, the Pocket Monsters are absent from the Wii U's Nintendo Land. So, just what do Nintendo and Game Freak have planned for Pokemon? As a lowly mortal, I have no idea, but here are a few things I'd would love to see...

Pokemon Tycoon

Click to view larger image
Recently I was tidying my room and I came across a small set of drawers tucked away in the corner that hadn't been opened nor seen the light of day for some time. I opened one of them and discovered, much to my pleasant surprise, that it contained a bunch of old PC games from when I was younger. Among them was the fantastic Zoo Tycoon and its two expansion packs.

For those who may not know, Zoo Tycoon is a simulation game in which you build and manage a zoo. You need to adopt animals, create suitable exhibits to keep them happy, keep them well fed and healthy while also attending to the needs of your guests and gain a profit. Though primarily associated with the PC, two games in the series have found their way on the Nintendo DS.

As I was revelling in nostalgia, it hit me that this sort of game would make for a fantastic Pokemon spin-off. Forget lions, tigers and bears, instead you'll have a whole host of Pokemon to create exhibits for. The more you actually sit and think about this sort of game, the more you realise how well it would work.

Pokemon come from all sorts of habitats that reach beyond the limitations of Zoo Tycoon, including volcanic, urban or even electric power plant-based environments. This leads to a massive amount of variety in the types of exhibits you could create.

Also, you could even experiment by mixing different Pokemon together. For example, a large mountainous exhibit created for an Onix could also house a few Roggenrolla (pictured) and Geodude and you could see how they interact. Mixing animals was possible in the original Zoo Tycoon, but it was never really a big feature, so it'd be nice to put the spotlight on it, especially with creatures as lively as Pokemon.

Evolution could be effectively incorporated into the gameplay too. Say you start out with a bunch of Squirtle in an exhibit. Over time, either through happiness, age, or even fighting each other, they could evolve into Wartortle or maybe even Blastoise. Their needs could change as they evolve, meaning your zoo will be even more dynamic and you'll always be on your toes responding to these changes. Furthermore, there's great potential for you to influence the evolution of certain Pokemon in fun ways, like putting some Slowpoke and Shellder in the same water-based exhibit.

As I'm sure you're aware, there's more to a zoo than just looking at the animals. All the best zoos would have other forms of entertainment and our Pokemon zoo would be no exception. You could create a petting zoo with Mareep and Deerling, let guests dive with the Mantine, thrill them with a mini-stadium for battles or even put on a Pokemon-based musical like the one in Pokemon Black and White.

Last, but definitely not least, Legendary Pokemon. Of course they would be in it. They'd be awesome, but only the best zoo managers would be able to get them as a reward for hard work, high satisfaction ratings and profits. Could you keep Mewtwo contained?

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  1. mario_boi Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 09:53

    I NEED a new Pokémon Snap game in my life. If Nintendo miss this opportunity with the advantages of thee Wii U game pad, then it will be a huge shame. Maybe it's time we started a petition. I bet thousands of fans want it.

    EDIT: will people sign a twitter petition if I begin one? Just to show awareness of the fact that people are interested in a Pokémon Snap sequel.

  2. Nintendalek42 Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 10:10

    Generation V is most certainly not over! We still have that mystery dungeon and we can reasonably expect a Ruby/Sapphire remake soon. We probably won't have a generation VI before 2014 at least I believe.`

    I had roughly that same idea playing Zoo Tycoon 2 a few years ago, and having it the way you describe it would make an excellent game. Ah, creating the perfect zoo using the hundreds of animals the 4 expansions offered really was great fun.

    :idea: I just thought, what about making the new pokemon snap more of a free roaming safari where you could not only take pictures but also capture pokemon and transfer them to your zoo game!

    Lets make another petition for a zoo game, or a joint petition for both!

  3. shy guy 64 Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 10:30

    i would certainly like another pokemon snap

  4. Darkblizz Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 13:05

    I would quite happily buy Pokemon Tycoon.

    Frankly I'm surprised there was no mention made to that enclosure outside the original Safari Zone...

  5. maartenpitt Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 13:18

    Pokémon Tycoon would be good, letting the mechanics of the Zoo tycoon slip in and instead of animals Pokémon. Nice!
    Pokemon Snap 2 was an option with the new Wii U but not yet thought thoroughly. Sad! Do an enquiry and Nintendo will see Pokémon Snap 2 would be a sure mass-hit!

    The idea of Pokemon Gaiden is indeed pretty mature, some younger fans wouldn't understand the main idea anymore. But nonetheless, I'd really like one. Let's say a Team Rocket Version in Black & White would be hard to accomplish but very deep , mischievous and awesome!

  6. King Slazo Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 13:26

    Petitions won't get you anywhere, I mean, try and remember the last time a gaming one worked. I don't think one ever has.

    While I'm indifferent about "Gaiden", Snap 2 is a good idea (and something fans have wanted for years), and Tycoon is something I've never thought about, but makes perfect sense.

    And to end this on a downer.

    Generation V is most certainly not over! We still have that mystery dungeon and we can reasonably expect a Ruby/Sapphire remake soon. We probably won't have a generation VI before 2014 at least I believe.

    There will be no Gen3 remakes. You wouldn't have Black 2 and White 2 if there were, and compared to fan demand for the Gen2 remakes, there is nowhere near the same level of love and admiartion for the Hoenn games.

    Gen6 will likely be announced early 2013, hit Japan in 2013, and then if we're lucky, come out here late 2013 / early 2014. But that's pure speculation.

  7. shy guy 64 Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 13:45

    Gen6 will likely be announced early 2013, hit Japan in 2013, and then if we're lucky, come out here late 2013 / early 2014. But that's pure speculation.

    id say it'll start 2014, gen 4 lasted 4 years so id say gen 5 will last the same time

  8. mushroomchow Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 13:53

    You missed "making a real 3D pokemon RPG." The tech is there to realise it now, even on handheld. The showers that were colloseum and XD don't count.

  9. bdeink Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 15:58

    Super Smash Bros. Pokémon

  10. Toastie Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 16:16


    Generation V is most certainly not over! We still have that mystery dungeon and we can reasonably expect a Ruby/Sapphire remake soon. We probably won't have a generation VI before 2014 at least I believe.

    There will be no Gen3 remakes. You wouldn't have Black 2 and White 2 if there were, and compared to fan demand for the Gen2 remakes, there is nowhere near the same level of love and admiartion for the Hoenn games.

    Gen6 will likely be announced early 2013, hit Japan in 2013, and then if we're lucky, come out here late 2013 / early 2014. But that's pure speculation.


    I disagree. This generation still has a lot to offer. Game Freak will most likely continue their tradition of remaking games from 2 generations ago, considering how much they sell - HGSS only sold 3 million less than BW, and presumably were much easier to make.

    This generation has only been going for 2 years, when they typically last about 4. It's currently the exact same as Gen IV in terms of format; New game, Director's Cut, then, presumably, Remake. Also, don't forget, we haven't even had the console battle game yet, neither have we had that many spin-offs.

  11. ChrisTheCookie Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 16:46

    Wii U Pokemon Snap plz!

  12. VinceLovesToast Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 17:32

    Since pokemon snap is short it would be an e shop game or a 3ds game but next after they bring out the next side game there will probably be ruby and saphire remakes(ther was 2 between bw and bw2)

  13. Starman64O Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 17:50

    Whatever happenes, NO GENERATION VI!

    Already there are too many Pokémon, so any more would be utterly rediculous. New Formes perhaps, but any more Pokémon would be stupid

  14. shy guy 64 Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 18:52

    Whatever happenes, NO GENERATION VI!

    Already there are too many Pokémon, so any more would be utterly rediculous. New Formes perhaps, but any more Pokémon would be stupid

    chances are its going to happen

  15. AquaMisty Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 19:34

    I think the reason why Pokemon isn't in Nintendo Land is because it's not fully Nintendo,I think it's mainly Game Freak who make it.

  16. mario_boi Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 19:55

    I believe that Gen 3 remakes will happen! It will probably be the stepping stone for 3DS games. (I really hope they bring back the feature with pokemon following you)

  17. C00LI098 Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 20:28

    I quite liked this article (maybe it was because I didn't have to click through a ridiculous amount of pages). The ideas presented seem plausible and interesting. I don't know what it was about it; it just made for a nice read.

  18. C00LI098 Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 20:31

    Whatever happenes, NO GENERATION VI!

    Already there are too many Pokémon, so any more would be utterly rediculous. New Formes perhaps, but any more Pokémon would be stupid


    Of course it's going to happen. I do think that the number of Pokémon could become a problem. Game Freak surely aren't going to expect us to catch over 1000 Pokémon to complete the Pokédex when Gen VII/VIII comes around, are they?

  19. CraigEmberson Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 22:20

    What I've had a suspicion about for a while now, is that they're remaking Generation III on 3DS as a bridge to Gen VI from DS to 3DS. There are so many hints to it in Black, White, Black 2 and White 2 as well... I think most of the games and apps for 3DS have given them sufficient practise, while they make a main series title or two.

  20. Captain Kuchiki Wednesday 7th Nov 2012 at 23:31

    Marc Zablotny said this not too long ago...but I disagree!

    Also guys, as for when Generation VI will come out, it's freaking obvious now - 2013. Genesect, who is currently the last Pokémon in the National Pokédex order, has been confirmed as being in next year's movie, yet we already have it. Japan received three Mythical Pokémon this year - Keldeo, Meloetta and Genesect. There is no reason to continue Generation V. In regards to the main series, the last games for this generation were Black 2/White 2. If Ruby/Sapphire remakes are to happen, they might be a part of Generation VI - but the next games will not be remakes, they will the primary pair of Generation VI, which will be for the 3DS.

    For people who say that generations typically last for four years - you're wrong. Out of the completed generations, only two of them lasted four years - the other two have lasted three. If Generation VI comes out next year (and it will), then Generation V would have been around for just as long as the first and second generations - the two it was trying to thematically replicate.

    It's also important to remember that Black 2/White 2 were Nintendo DS games, but released a year after the Nintendo 3DS was released. The fact that Black 2/White 2 were released in June in Japan as opposed to the usual September was obviously Nintendo wanting to have the international release done this year, as come 2013, they would have no chance of selling ordinary DS games. If you look through Junichi Masuda's comments in the past, it's fairly clear that he believes the new opportunities new hardware can deliver to developers is enough to differentiate a new generation from a new one. He wouldn't waste that opportunity on releasing a remake first, he would want a brand new generation with loads of new features to take advantage of a new console. Besides, if GameFreak were planning on releasing a Generation V game on the 3DS, they would have just made Black 2/White 2 3DS games in the first place.

    In regards to Pokémon Snap, Junichi Masuda has commented on this. Back when the original N64 game was released, not everyone had a camera - now, cameras are in everything. Besides, Pokédex 3D Pro's Augmented Reality feature lets you take photos of Pokémon. Done.

    As for why Pokémon wasn't in Nintendo Land, it could be because Pokémon is actually a second party property as opposed to a first party (although Pokémon characters appear in Smash Bros), but it could also be because of the nature of the game. Maybe Nintendo EAD couldn't find a way to incorporate Pokémon in a way that would show off the Wii U and the GamePad, as opposed to more obscure IPs like Takamaru's Ninja Castle (which looks awesome by the way). Or maybe The Pokémon Company are already planning a PokéPark style party game, or even a 3D battling simulator with minigames, ala Stadium and Stadium 2?

    Personally, what I think the Pokémon franchise needs in the next year or two are the following:
    - A brand new generation on the Nintendo 3DS that truly takes advantage of the new system's features and power. I honestly think the days of sprites should be behind us. Although Pokédex 3D Pro features 3D models of all currently known Pokémon and the new Mystery Dungeon reuses those models, we have to remember that GameFreak will also need shiny models, attack animations etc. Considering that we'll probably have around 750 Pokémon by that time, it might be too much for the 3DS, it might not be - I bet GameFreak have at least discussed it though. However, when I've been playing 3DS games and go back to my Black 2, the sprites honestly look tacky and I imagine they would look worse in a 3D environment. I also think that like Pokémon Conquest and the Ace Attorney games, dialogue for characters should be shown in a way reminiscent of visual novels. There's no reason why on the 3DS, we should have to put up with chibi little sprites and speech bubbles. I loved those moments with N in Black and White and I also loved that about Conquest; B2W2's lack of them actually disappointed me. I believe it will really help characters emote and add the weight to the story.

    Even if full 3D models for Pokémon aren't possible, the overworld definitely needs an overhaul. I remember playing Tales of the Abyss and noticing how vast and wonderful the overworld is; very similar to Pokémon Colosseum. In past Pokémon games, towns have always been too small and not very detailed, but with the 3DS' extra power, we should be able to truly receive a vast region.

    - In regards to the new Nintendo 3DS features, just think of it - StreetPass exchanging Battle Box data with other players, allowing you to battle people you pass on the street at your own leisure, or maybe even Pokémon the other person owns that you haven't seen being registered as "Seen" in your Pokédex? Maybe you could have a special slot designated in your PC for a Pokémon that gets traded to a player you pass-by who also has a Pokémon in said slot, thus creating a chain of trades that you won't even know about until you get home and check your 3DS?

    SpotPass could also finally make Mythical Pokémon a surprise again. In the past, they have been pre-programmed into the games, so when people reverse engineer them at launch we know all about them. However, this time GameFreak could add either the Pokémon themselves or just their data (as a patch-type thing so the game doesn't glitch if you encounter someone who does have a mythical Pokémon you don't have data for).

    - The increased online stability also hopefully means that the game will be able to identity who disconnects - thus preventing me from being unfairly kicked out of Wi-Fi tournaments again and allow DCers to be punished. Also, maybe even Pokémon battle communities, like Mario Kart 7 has (maybe even 8-16 player tournaments? That would be awesome).

    Then for the Wii U, I think we definitely need a 3D battling title, which Generation V has surprisingly lacked (I would have thought a Gen V battle sim would have been Nintendo's final send off to the Wii). I think this game should definitely return to the roots of Stadium and Stadium 2 though by having mini-games (with that GamePad, they would be awesome). Also guys, we all want to send out Pokémon by flicking Pokéballs from the GamePad towards the TV - don't try and deny that you don't =3.

    That's what I think The Pokémon Company and GameFreak should focus on next. Although a Wii U ranger that has you draw circles on the GamePad screen would be cool too.

  21. ThePokekid78 Thursday 8th Nov 2012 at 16:49

    All they have to do is keep bringing out Pokemon games, with exactly the same structure and virtually no changes, and I'll buy them, play them and love them! :D

  22. Waldy565 Sunday 2nd Dec 2012 at 22:08

    I thought the first idea was great That sounds like a great game, may track down a DS copy, would love to see my zoo with cages full of squirtles and mudkips, and a few blastoise and swampert. MY ZOO! Then I saw the second idea. WOW! Never really been bothered by Pokemon Snap, not that it sounded bad, just never could be bothered to research it, but now you've gave a little insight, I want that game and sequel! (should it happen) THEN I saw the third idea! YES! would love more of a back story on Giovanni and Team Rocket to be honest. Yeah, I wasn't that long ago thinking how a game would be like if you were, say, a guard in the Zelda series, and how that game would pan out like, great to see other people thinking in this "out of the box" way.
    So, my input: I would love to see either a) a more complex affair for the pokemon contests, more tournament-like, such as it is in the anime. Or b) (people are gonna sigh, but it's the dream!) a fully-fledged home console release in vain of the scope of the anime. If anyone still watches it (if you hadn't guessed by now, I do! :P) there are the areas that are in the game, yet they are on such a bigger scale. Like Pinwheel Forest, it was described as a "natural maze". Sure, it took everyone a couple of mins to get through on their first play-through, but I want forests to be natural mazes! Also, there are little villages and towns that are never mentioned in the game that are in the anime! And finally, there a Pokemon Centres that just pop up all over the place! I can only think of one example of this in the games: The Centre near the Power Plant.
    Great, rambling again, I just frickin LOVE pokemon, cant wait to play W2 for christmas!

  23. Waldy565 Sunday 2nd Dec 2012 at 22:20


    As for why Pokémon wasn't in Nintendo Land, it could be because Pokémon is actually a second party property as opposed to a first party (although Pokémon characters appear in Smash Bros), but it could also be because of the nature of the game. Maybe Nintendo EAD couldn't find a way to incorporate Pokémon in a way that would show off the Wii U and the GamePad, as opposed to more obscure IPs like Takamaru's Ninja Castle (which looks awesome by the way). Or maybe The Pokémon Company are already planning a PokéPark style party game, or even a 3D battling simulator with minigames, ala Stadium and Stadium 2?

    Personally, what I think the Pokémon franchise needs in the next year or two are the following:
    - A brand new generation on the Nintendo 3DS that truly takes advantage of the new system's features and power. I honestly think the days of sprites should be behind us. Although Pokédex 3D Pro features 3D models of all currently known Pokémon and the new Mystery Dungeon reuses those models, we have to remember that GameFreak will also need shiny models, attack animations etc. Considering that we'll probably have around 750 Pokémon by that time, it might be too much for the 3DS, it might not be - I bet GameFreak have at least discussed it though. However, when I've been playing 3DS games and go back to my Black 2, the sprites honestly look tacky and I imagine they would look worse in a 3D environment. I also think that like Pokémon Conquest and the Ace Attorney games, dialogue for characters should be shown in a way reminiscent of visual novels. There's no reason why on the 3DS, we should have to put up with chibi little sprites and speech bubbles. I loved those moments with N in Black and White and I also loved that about Conquest; B2W2's lack of them actually disappointed me. I believe it will really help characters emote and add the weight to the story.
    I'm sorry I disagree, sprites are really cute and make a fantastic, nostalgic nod to all previous Pokemon games, nay, all RPG's! [b]
    Even if full 3D models for Pokémon aren't possible, the overworld definitely needs an overhaul. I remember playing Tales of the Abyss and noticing how vast and wonderful the overworld is; very similar to Pokémon Colosseum. In past Pokémon games, towns have always been too small and not very detailed, but with the 3DS' extra power, we should be able to truly receive a vast region.
    [b] However, if you read my post, I COULD NOT AGREE MORE with the ide for a vaster region, and can completely see where you're coming from with Tales [b]
    - In regards to the new Nintendo 3DS features, just think of it - StreetPass exchanging Battle Box data with other players, allowing you to battle people you pass on the street at your own leisure, or maybe even Pokémon the other person owns that you haven't seen being registered as "Seen" in your Pokédex? Maybe you could have a special slot designated in your PC for a Pokémon that gets traded to a player you pass-by who also has a Pokémon in said slot, thus creating a chain of trades that you won't even know about until you get home and check your 3DS?
    [b] These features sound fantastic, and the Spotpass ones below! [b]
    SpotPass could also finally make Mythical Pokémon a surprise again. In the past, they have been pre-programmed into the games, so when people reverse engineer them at launch we know all about them. However, this time GameFreak could add either the Pokémon themselves or just their data (as a patch-type thing so the game doesn't glitch if you encounter someone who does have a mythical Pokémon you don't have data for).

    - The increased online stability also hopefully means that the game will be able to identity [b]who disconnects - thus preventing me from being unfairly kicked out of Wi-Fi tournaments again and allow DCers to be punished. Also, maybe even Pokémon battle communities, like Mario Kart 7 has (maybe even 8-16 player tournaments? That would be awesome).

    Then for the Wii U, I think we definitely need a 3D battling title, which Generation V has surprisingly lacked (I would have thought a Gen V battle sim would have been Nintendo's final send off to the Wii). I think this game should definitely return to the roots of Stadium and Stadium 2 though by having mini-games (with that GamePad, they would be awesome). Also guys, we all want to send out Pokémon by flicking Pokéballs from the GamePad towards the TV - don't try and deny that you don't =3.

    That's what I think The Pokémon Company and GameFreak should focus on next. Although a Wii U ranger that has you draw circles on the GamePad screen would be cool too.

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