Pokémon is, for most gamers, much more than an old classic. It is a starting point. An origin. It is the spark that set loose the inferno of the video gaming world upon that individual. From the moment you receive that very first Pokéball, inside of which resides your starter, your life partner, a bond is formed that cannot be broken. At least this is what it means to me… Maybe it’s just me… God I need some friends.
Since the day you abandoned your mother at the age of 10 (WTF?!) in humble Pallet Town to begin an adventure that would last a lifetime, Pokémon has been steadily evolving as a franchise. Each new generation brings a new region and a cohort of new Pokémon to discover. We now have 649 Pokémon and 5 vast and unique regions to explore. Some critics say that the game has become too complex with mechanics such as hidden effort-values or ‘EVs’ that can only be tracked by the archaic tools known as a pencil and paper (although rumour has it these will become easier to track in Gen 6). Some say it has become a stale franchise, one which merely rehashes old formulas and unimaginative new creatures with which to pad out the expansive Pokédex to milk that cash-cow dry (all eyes on you Vanilluxe…).
But it appears she hasn’t dried up yet! Oh no – far from it. And the newest batch of that sweet, sweet moo-moo milk promises to be the best yet! This year, Game Freak brings us the 6th generation of that immortal franchise and has called it Pokémon X and Y (they ran out of colours and gemstones so have moved onto axes). So far we have seen a total of 29 new Pokémon with honourable mentions going to our starters: ‘Fennekin’, the fire type fennec fox; ‘Chespin’, the grass type spiny nut Pokémon; and ‘Froakie’, the bubble frog Pokémon.
The three I’m particularly looking forward to are the fire-lion ‘Litleo’ (who looks cute now but you can guarantee he will evolve into a flaming king of beasts), sound-wave dragon ‘Noivern’ and giant, bamboo-eating dark/fighting panda ‘Pangoro’. I say bring on X and Y to silence the haters!
As the 6th generation approaches we have received information in dribs and drabs from Game Freak headquarters, and the mastermind behind it all, Junichi Masuda, has been careful about how and when he reveals the next package of information. Most of the details come from the monthly Japanese magazine called Coro Coro which is devoted to bringing Pokémon news to the masses. Here at TCP we are all fluent in Japanese (and several other languages) and are able to decipher these monthly issues in no time. But for those who aren’t, I will be detailing the bulk of information we have received about this exciting release so far.
It will (for the first time in Pokémon game history) have a worldwide release date on October 12th, 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS. Never again will we have to endure the agonising year-long wait for the UK release. That dreadful year of researching poorly translated Japanese guides, all the while having to deal with the unbearable image of Japanese children prancing around their bedrooms with their shiny new Pokémon game; their smug faces forever burning into the back of your mind… NO MORE.
The region will be called Kalos and is based upon the city of Paris, revealed by Masuda himself who handled the preparatory research by travelling around France for inspiration. For the first time since 2nd Generation, a new type will be introduced: Fairy type. This is the eighteenth Pokémon type and it appears to be super-effective against Dragon, Dark, and Fighting; weak to Steel and Poison; not very effective against Fire and Psychic; and immune to Dragon. The fairy typing will not only be applied to new 6th gen Pokémon but also to a whole host of Pokémon from previous generations. Obvious culprits being the fairy Pokémon: Clefairy, Clefable, Jigglypuff, Wigglytuff and something I’m particularly excited about… Gardevoir with a Psychic/Fairy combination. All of these will now become dragon slayers which is a hilarious yet thrilling prospect.
The next tantalising feature that Gen 6 promises for the first time is something the community have been begging for since the early days… TRAINER CUSTOMISATION! This may not seem like a big deal and to be quite honest, it shouldn’t be. This simple feature should and could have been an integral part of beginning your Pokémon journey generations ago, but only now does Game Freak decide to add it into the game. Something tells me they are hoping to revitalise the world of Pokémon with X and Y.
And finally, two new ways of battling are being introduced: sky-battles for flying type Pokémon and the, quite frankly, terrifying prospect of Horde battles where you can encounter up to five wild Pokémon at once. Call me crazy, but unless I’ve been doing some serious grinding, I don’t fancy bumping into a 5-strong horde of Zubats (or the Gen 6 equivalent). It will be interesting to see how they balance this new mechanic but I’m apprehensive to say the least.
In this month’s Coro Coro it has been revealed that X and Y will also introduce a new feature of evolution into the game known as ‘mega-evolution’. This allows certain Pokémon to temporarily evolve in battle to alter their appearance, stats and abilities. Pokémon that have been confirmed for Mega-evolution capabilities so far are: Mewtwo, Blaziken, Mawile, Absol, Kangaskhan, Lucario and Ampharos. When I heard about mega-evolutions my initial thought was “Praise Masuda! I can legitimately use Ampharos in my team again with its Dragon/Electric dual typing and buffed stats!” Then after the initial excitement, I realised the implications of a forth evolution for Blaziken and a legendary evolution, all of which merely put the prefix “mega” in front of the original name… “Is Pokémon turning into Digimon?!” But then I remembered… “Mega-Ampharos! It’s an electric, dragon sheep for god’s sake!”
Nevertheless, this new evolution mechanic was terribly troubling and as I was losing sleep over it I decided to do some research. This is the part of the article where we get into some intense theorising so prepare yourselves…
Now there has been a rumour rumbling on for a while on forums that Generation 6 revolves around Nordic mythology.
(head over to this thread for full details http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=508068)
The first thing to notice is the X and Y poster boys: Xerneas and Yvetal – the stag and the eagle. Nordic mythology is based around the Tree of Yggdrasil in Midgard, the realm inhabited by humans which lies at the centre of the nine realms of the cosmos. Surrounding the trunk of this tree are stags each with a different colour gemstone in their antlers. This is represented by Xerneas with his bejewelled and multicoloured antlers. The branches of this tree reach high into the realm of the Gods known as Asgard (which will ring a bell to all Marvel fans as the home of Thor the God of thunder). Within Asgard resides the Blind Eagle, another protector of the realm which as the thread above clearly suggests, represents Yveltal with its blue eyes denoting blindness. The roots of Yggdrasil also reach deep into the realms of the dead below where there lives a serpentine dragon named Niohoggr. This leads us to believe that, just as Yellow in Gen 1; Crystal in gen 2; Emerald in gen 3; and Platinum in gen 4, we can be expect a third title in generation 6 to be called ‘Z’ with a third legendary to represent this dragon in the depths. Presumably, it will be shaped like the letter ‘Z’ in keeping with the current trend and perhaps with the Dragon/Poison typing.
Furthermore, with the introduction of Mega-evolution it has been suggested that each of these Pokémon were carefully chosen to represent Norse Gods in their mega forms. MEANING that my beloved Ampharos is Pokémon’s answer to Marvel’s Thor as the God of Thunder! Therefore… Mewtwo = Magni, the God of Power and Strength; Blaziken = Surtr, “The Swarthy One”, whose flames engulfed the Earth; Mawile, the deceiver Pokémon = Loki, the God of Mischief; Lucario = Forseti, the God of Justice who can sense feelings. This certainly explains the baffling inclusion of unremarkable Pokémon such as Mawile.
If this Nordic Mythology link proves to be true then I will be the first to applaud Masuda for this innovative theme for what promises to be the biggest and most ground-breaking generation to date!
As this article wraps up I have one final plea to the team at Game Freak. If they could evolve Farfetch’d for me, my life would be complete. Let him take flight and give him a second leek! I love that magnificent leek wielding bastard…
We’ll be keeping you updated for the newest information as and when it arrives so watch this space!
Images courtesy of Gamespress