So the new games have been datamined and are set to release in about a weeks time. I might talk at length about this spoiler fest (not about its content as much as of the fact it is happening), but before going there I want to brainstorm a bit about other subjects related to the new games.
From what we know about alolan forms these come into two main flavors: those that concern entire evolutionary lines (like Ninetails-A and Sandslash-A) and those who are effectively side evolutions (like Raichu-A and Marowak-A). These are the first new evolutions that effectively answer to the question “why did we not get these forms in previous games” from a flavor perspective. In Gen I Eevee had three évolutions and got four more later on, none of which actually needed an item unavailable in the original Gen I games. Sure, the mechanics that allow the further évolutions were unavailable, but when it comes to it, there is no reason for Kanto résidents to lack the attention to evolve pokes with friendship and the same remains true with later games that missed in new évolutions introduced later. We conveniently decide to ignore those absences by suspending our disbelief, simply because there is no explanation to is given in-game. Alolan Forms took a quick turn away from that and told us clearly why these new additions to older pokes exist in a consistent and logical fashion that can easily apply to future interations of the pokemon game. They are, in that sense, a very important addition that I hope will remain a fixed feature from a flavor perspective, even if similar things were already made mechanically that worked in the same way (the scenario is not unlike the Tauros-ridding/Match Bike Relationship we discussed the other day).
Z-Moves are essentially the equivalent of Mega évolutions but for Pokemon moves. While it’s true that the casual fan of the franchise might not easily identify Pokemon moves as their own entity the main games always took special care of improving and entertaining existing moves to give them niche functions. Historically they suffer of vague aesthetics and generic names, which is expected since they were meant to be descriptive, for example: an Electric move had to use terminology linked with such element, otherwise it could be misleading through the poor interface we used to have in early games. But while a name such as “Ice Beam” might mean just about anything from a neutral viewer, every true Pokemon fan would be outraged if this move got nerfed into mediocrity after décades of shining as one of the top pokemon moves. For the core fandom of the series each move carries a history and is about as attached to the Pokemon franchise as any of the critters in the Pokedex. So it makes sense for Moves to get a Mega treatment, as they are a big part of the series! In this case we can get staple names that could become the series “Kamehameha” or “Repulsor Blast”, which is also a good thing.
In my next two entries I’ll discuss a bit about the new Pokemon that have been introduced into the game, about their visual design, typing and general vibes. We will stick to non-spoiler mode until then, before delving into mechanical changes that seem to be big from what I’ve been reading these last few days. See you then!