Pokemon is one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world right now, and is a franchise that has been a part of my life since the anime first started airing. I remember playing the early games on my Gameboy, watching the movies in the theater and trying to collect all of the toys from Burger King. That fandom continues to this very day, and I am not alone. Although the franchise is over 20 years old it is still going strong. In fact, since the release of Pokemon Sun and Moon, the franchise is stronger than ever.
However, the future of Pokemon is currently very uncertain. Nintendo has been extremely secretive about it’s plans for the future of this franchise, and fans have been left to come up with their own theories based on what little information has been revealed. Well, today I am gonna throw my hat into the ring and make my predictions for the next generation of Pokemon.
The Little we Know
Back at E3 2017 Nintendo revealed that a core-series Pokemon RPG was going to be released exclusively on the Switch. Since then, Nintendo has released very little information on this upcoming project, and speculation abounds. We don’t even know when this proposed game is going to be released – we only know that it will be in “2018 or beyond”. With all of this uncertainty, there are a number of different possibilities to explore.
The first possibility is what is known as “Pokemon Stars”, which is a rumor that Nintendo was planning to release an updated port of Pokemon Sun and Moon for the Switch. However, with the release of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon I personally doubt that Nintendo would release another game set in Alola so soon.
Another possibility is that the proposed game is the next generation of Pokemon games – generation 8. However, I think this is unlikely given a few things. First, it has been less than 2 years since Pokemon Sun and Moon were first released, and I think it is just too soon for an entirely new generation of Pokemon games. Secondly, Nintendo seems to not be entirely sure about the release date of the game, and I think if it were the beginning of a new generation they would have that locked down.
Finally, the simple fact that so little information has been revealed leads me to believe it is not a new generation. When Pokemon Sun and Moon was announced, there was a highly polished reveal trailer, while this new Switch game was more of a tacked on announcement at the end of the E3 lineup.
The third possibility is that the new game is going to continue in the vein of Pokemon Coliseum or Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness. For a while, this was my theory for what the proposed game would be – an RPG style game that takes place in the Pokemon world, but was not bound by the formulas that constrain the handheld Pokemon games. However, the fact that it was announced as a “core RPG” makes this somewhat less likely, as I’m not sure that these Gamecube games count as part of the core series.
Currently, I believe that the Switch game is most likely to be a remake of the generation 4 Pokemon games, Diamond and Pearl. The remakes are definitely considered to be a part of the core series, and I believe that producing Diamond and Pearl remakes for the Switch would be a great way to fill in the space before the next generation.
Checking the Timeline
For my main evidence, I present the following timeline of Pokemon release dates (note- these are japanese release dates, and international dates may vary by region):
- 1996 – Pokemon Red and Green
- 1998 – Pokemon Yellow
- 1999 – Pokemon Gold and Silver
- 2000- Pokemon Crystal
- 2002 – Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire
- 2004 -Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen, and Pokemon Emerald
- 2006 – Pokemon Diamond and Pearl
- 2008 – Pokemon Platinum
- 2009 – Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver
- 2010- Pokemon Black and White
- 2012 – Pokemon Black 2 and White 2
- 2013 – Pokemon X and Y
- 2014 – Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
- 2016 – Pokemon Sun and Moon
- 2017 – Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
If you examine these release dates, certain patterns become clear. Firstly, Pokemon tends to release a new generation of games about every three years. For a couple of generations they waited 4 years, and they have never released a new generation in 2 years or less. This makes me think that a new generation is very unlikely before 2019.
In addition to this, other patterns can be seen as well. For example, the Pokemon remakes tend to end up getting released about every 5 years. This would mean that the next set of remakes would also be set to release in 2019. However, Nintendo would probably want to space out these major Pokemon releases and not have them in the same year. This means that either the remakes would have to be released early, or generation 8 would have to be pushed back. Personally, it seems to me that releasing a new generation on time would take priority, which would mean that the remakes would have to be released earlier.
A Whole New World
I don’t expect to see the next generation of Pokemon games for another year and a half at least, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t speculate about it. When looking forward to a new set of Pokemon games, there are a number of things that are generally expected. One of these expectations is that players will get to explore a new region of the Pokemon world.
The world of Pokemon has gotten pretty large over the years, and they have explored quite a few different places. For the first four generations, all of the major regions were based on regions of Japan, but after that Pokemon has branched out and explored different areas of the world. The Unova region was based on New York City, the Kalos region was the Pokemon version of France, and most recently Alola was heavily inspired by Hawaii. But where will they go next?
There are so many possibilities for Pokemon’s next region to take inspiration from. I think that it’s pretty safe to say that they won’t go back to Japan anytime soon, and they have done two regions already based on different parts of America, so that is probably also out. However, this still leaves the map wide open. There are many parts of Europe
that could still be explored, and they have never set a generation on the continents of South America, Africa, or Australia.
While all of these areas present interesting possibilities for the next generation of Pokemon, I think that a game set in a South American themed region might be a little too close in some ways to Alola, so they might wait a generation or two before going there. In addition, while there is still much of Europe that could be explored in Pokemon form, I think they will probably go for something more exotic. I think an African inspired region could be really interesting, but I think that Australia is probably the more likely pick. It has tons of interesting animals that Pokemon has never explored before, it is an Island so it can provide plenty of cool water Pokemon (especially thanks to the Great Barrier Reef), and it would be really different from anything Pokemon has done before.
An Adventurer is You!
Now that we have chosen our region, it’s time to jump into the actual game. I predict that the main character of the game is going to be a child between the ages of 10-13 who recently moved to the new region with his Mom (and no father). In the town that they just moved to they will meet a professor whose last name is a tree. Let’s call him Professor Eucalyptus.
The player will also meet at least one other child around their own age (probably a small group), and will interact with this group throughout the game. The player and at least one of the other children will be given a choice between three pokemon – a fire type, a water type, and a grass type. Because this is an Australian theme, let’s say that the grass type is a baby kangaroo, the water type is a platypus, and the fire type (which has to be an animal from the Chinese zodiac) will be a snake.
From this point on, the player will have to travel the world completing a number of specific tasks, completing battles against high-ranking trainers until they have enough tokens to take on the elite four. While Pokemon Sun and Moon shook up the Pokemon formula by not having actual gym battles, the basic task was still the same and I expect it to continue going forward. I do predict gen 8 to actually have gyms, but it is possible for them to have some other system for collecting the progression tokens.
During their travels, the player will encounter a team of mostly-identical looking thugs. These thugs may just be a general nuisance to society, but most likely they are planning to use some extremely powerful Pokemon in order to take over/destroy the world. Probably the particular Pokemon in question will be the legendary Pokemon on the cover of the specific game that you are playing. The player, of course, will have to defeat this evil team, and probably capture/defeat the legendary Pokemon in the process.
Gotta Catch ‘Em All
If there is one thing you can guarantee in a new generation of Pokemon, it’s that there will be plenty of new critters for players to collect. Specifically, some of the first Pokemon that the player will see are a normal-type mammal based pokemon, and a flying type bird pokemon. Given the setting, I think that a Wombat and a Parrot are probably safe choices.
Players also usually encounter a bug type pretty early on that evolves really quickly, but I can’t really make a prediction on what that might be. One thing that I can predict, however, is that there will definitely be at least one Pikachu clone – a small, rodent-like creature that is usually electric. I can also predict that there will be a very powerful Pokemon that can only be found late in the game, is probably dragon-type, has three evolution stages, evolves into it’s final form at an unusually high level and is probably one of the Pokemon used by the Elite Four or the Champion.
I Can’t Even
One thing that is important to keep in mind when making predictions for Generation 8 is that it is an even generation. While the odd generations tend to be more self contained, even generations always have several new evolutions of old Pokemon. This includes Mega Evolutions in the 6th generation. Even though the 7th gen didn’t produce any new Mega Evolutions, I believe that we will see more of these in gen 8.
In addition to new evolutions in general, every even generation has resulted in a new evolution for Eevee. While I can only speculate what type this new evolution might be, one thing to keep in mind is that every Eevee-lution so far has been of a type that produced special damage (as opposed to physical damage). I believe that the only type that produced special type damage that doesn’t already have an Eevee-lution is the dragon-type, and I would be so happy with a dragon type Eevee. However, I can also see a ghost-type being really interesting, or maybe a poison type (because everything in Australia is poisonous).
One thing that you can always count on in a new Pokemon is a change in features. Every game introduces new ways to train and interact with your Pokemon, but they also tend to get rid of beloved features from previous entries.
As far as what’s going away, I already mentioned that I don’t forsee the trial system carrying over to the next generation. In addition, although I would love to be wrong I
just can’t see the Poke-Ride system continuing forward from Gen 7. I love the Poke-ride system, but the way it was integrated into the culture of the Alolan islands makes me think that it was a one-time thing.
As far as what features are going to be included, a good rule of thumb is that if a particular feature is required to acquire some Pokemon it is probably safe. Things like day-night cycles, friendship, Pokemon breeding and Pokemon Amie are probably safe because they are the only way to acquire certain mons. This is also the reason every Pokemon game needs to have an icy and mossy rock somewhere in it’s world – they are required for certain evolutions. This means that we are also going to have a special magnetic field somewhere to allow Vikavolt to evolve.
While I doubt that there are going to be any new regional forms for Pokemon in generation 8, I do believe that there must be some way to acquire the Alolan forms. Probably this will end up being some kind of special area where these Pokemon are exclusive – like an Alolan Safari zone.
As far as new features, I can only speculate. Most new generations have some new feature that changes the way battle works (such as the introduction of abilities, or Mega Evolution), and it’s likely that Generation 8 will follow suit. Some possibilities of how to accomplish this include Pokemon that care about what else is in your party, or having the ability to switch and attack while only using up one move. One possibility is introducing moves that have more than one attack type, but this may make some of the combat math a little too complicated.
For non-combat features, I hope that they introduce new ways to interact with your Pokemon outside of battle. I loved being able to travel with a Pokemon outside of it’s Pokeball in HeartGold and SoulSilver, although I have pretty much given up hope on that feature ever returning. Even so, any new way of playing with your Pokemon in a non-combat role would be fun. I also think it would be interesting to shake up the way Pokemon breeding works. For example, there was a rumor before Sun and Moon came out about a cat Pokemon that could become any type through breeding, and I think there are lots of other ways that Pokemon genetics could be used for interesting effects.
The Legend Begins
Last but not least, one of the most exciting aspects of any new Pokemon game is the new legendary Pokemon. These legendary Pokemon are also some of the most difficult things to predict, as the patterns are much less clear.
Let’s start off with the easy parts. Every generation has at least one Mythic Pokemon which is small, adorable, and can only be found through special events. In addition, every Pokemon game since Gold and Silver has had a legendary Pokemon on it’s cover, and these Pokemon always make up some sort of duality (with the occasional third member thrown in).
While I have no clue what these cover legendaries will be, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that they will have something to do with dreams. Dreams are a huge part of Australian Aborigine mythology, and I think that having two legendary Pokemon that represent this could be really cool. You could even title the games “Pokemon Dreams and Nightmares”. Another reason why I think this idea could work is because Pokemon games have recently had a lot more exploration of alternate worlds and dimensions, and this would give players the opportunity to enter a “dream world” to face off against the legendary Pokemon and possibly the villains as well.
Technically, there are already Legendary Pokemon that represent dreams and nightmares from generation 4 – Darkrai and Cresselia. Darkrai is known to give people nightmares, while Cresselia was supposed to bring happy dreams. However, I don’t think that this disqualifies this theme from being used again. After all, when Sun and Moon was announced many fans speculated that the cover legends would be new forms of Lugia and Ho-oh, who already had a sort of sun/moon duality. However, this turned out to not be the case, and new Sun and Moon legends were introduced. I believe that the same thing could happen in this case.
In addition to the legendary Pokemon from above, most games have additional legendary Pokemon to collect. There is often a secondary legendary trio which doesn’t tie into the plot as much, such as the Legendary birds or the Regis. Then there are the random legendary Pokemon which don’t really connect to anything, but there is only one of them in the game.
Until Next Week!
That’s all I have for this week! As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you think I am on the right track with my theories? Do you have your own theories you would like to share? I would love to hear about it in the comments or on social media. If you liked this article, and would like to see more like it in the future, be sure to subscribe to the blog on Facebook, Twitter, or here on WordPress so you will always know when I post a new article. If you didn’t like this article, let me know what I could be doing better in the comments below! And join me next week, where I will be celebrating one year of blogging!