Confirmed in that Pokémon Direct just before E3: a Pokémon game is in development for the Nintendo Switch. "O Happy Day," thought many fans, "a mainline Pokémon title I can play on my TV!" It's something a lot of people have been wanting for Poké-eons (like Jolteons, or Vaporeons... we'll stop now). However, we here at Gintendo Namer want more. It's surely Gen Eight that's in the works - a third trip to Gen Seven's Alola would be a bit much by that point - so we want to see the series' long heritage taken into account. We want to see one thing from each previous generation in Pokémon Switch, and we are here to tell you what they are. Let's Rollout!
Generation Seven: Pokémon Refresh
For many years one of the biggest things that plagued Pokémon was the ludonarrative dissonance (i.e. the story doesn't match the gameplay). You were always told to treat your furry/spiky/metallic/slimy team as friends instead of things to train to fight and win... but training them to fight more effectively was the best way to beat the game. Gen Seven turned this around in one simple move: Pokémon Refresh. If your 'mon had been paralysed in a battle, you could cure them afterwards. If they had been covered in fluff or sand, you could brush them down. You could feed them sweets, or stroke them (admittedly this was a bit weird by the time my Litten fully evolved: I was stroking the massive left pectoral of a muscular bloke to calm him down).
In an instant those "Pokémon are not tools of war!" moments that you may have scoffed at in earlier games were wiped away: you had to care for your team and bond with them. If Pokémon Refresh is to return, we'd like to see it expanded by allowing you to add accessories to your monsters: caps, bows, bow ties, beanie hats, more... Whatever happens, caring for your Pokémon was a genius idea and must be in Gen Eight. Next!
Generation Six: Friend Safari
Beating X or Y unlocked the superb Friend Safari. Most Pokémon games have a Safari Zone, a place where rare creatures can be caught for a fee. They were often large and winding paths that I used to avoid as I found them tedious. The Friend Safari, though, is a single field that you can pretty much see all of on screen at once if you stand in a certain spot. Before entering it you picked someone from your 3DS's Friends List: that choice dictated which two or three monsters were available in the zone. Sneakily, that third 'mon was only available if the friend was playing the game at the same time and you were connected over the 'net... but you could still catch the first two, even if the friend in question never had the game in the first place.
It gave Pokéfans an extra incentive to swap Friend Codes, if one were ever needed. You could even catch some starters in the Friend Safari, if you had the right friends (not me, though; I gave you Ice Pokémon). I used to use it to train Pokémon up: if you had a Fire 'mon that needed a bit of a boost, you could load up a Grass friend and burn, baby, burn until the Miltanks came home. I was looking forward to the Gen Seven spin on this but it never materialised, so the Friend Safari had better be in Pokémon Switch.
Generation Five: Seasons
Gen Five was the last of the series on the DS. Its big thing was only featuring new Pokémon until you finished the game but we don't want that for Gen Eight. No, we want the return of seasons. On the first of every month in the real world - or whenever that was on your DS's clock - the season would change, meaning a totally different look across the game's world. More importantly, the chances of certain monsters appearing would change (also Deerling and Sawsbuck would change form, a feature that was sadly lost in later gens).
It was a cute idea that we'd like to see return but in a much bigger way. Firstly, let's have the seasons be exactly the same as the real world, both when they are and how long they are. Secondly, let's make some Pokémon only appear in certain seasons: summer Grass monsters, spring Mareeps, you can only evolve Glaceon in winter, that kind of thing. If it sounds like we're taking inspiration from the great Animal Crossing, that's because we are. One issue might be that it would take much longer to complete the Pokédex but then a), it would encourage trades between Northern and Southern Hemisphere players, and b), it's pretty hard to complete the Pokédex at this point anyway!
Generation Four: Walking Pokémon
Or Pokémon that follow you outside battle, in towns, in shops, on routes... in real life! The last time we saw this in a main Pokémon game was in Heart Gold and Soul Silver, the Gen Two remakes released in 2010, so it's way beyond time that it came back. The cuteness factor is undeniable and with the extra processing power of the Switch, it's something that shouldn't be too hard to implement - although there will probably be over eight hundred monsters by that time. Wow.
Imagine a game where Pokémon Refresh and walking Pokémon are connected ideas: you turn to face your 'mon, tap a button, and your cute little Scyther fills the screen. From there you can start feeding, grooming or, as we'd like to see, accessorising. In any case, the nostalgia alone would be worthwhile: the first time we saw walking Pokémon was all the way back in Gen One's Pokémon Yellow. To make the games more like the cartoon Ash started with Pikachu, who always tagged along behind you and would tell you how he was feeling if you tapped him. Let's get it back on the agenda.
Generation Three: Secret Bases
In certain locations in Gen Three games you could create a Secret Base: a location that could be decorated with in-game stuff. They were brilliant because they tapped into that occasional childhood need to be off somewhere in your own space, like a treehouse or a den. You could fill them with mats, tables, chairs, desks or Poké Dolls that you could display in a neat row (or a disorganised one, we won't judge). You could also find the Secret Base of anyone you mixed records with (achieved with Link Cables at the time; let's update it to everyone on your Friends List) and challenge them to a Pokémon Battle once you'd beaten the game.
The idea was massively expanded in the Gen Six remakes Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire; you could battle people whose Secret Bases you'd found, capture the flags of other players and even recruit them to your Secret Base. Once there they could do you favours, like gather berries, massage one of your 'mon to increase its friendship, or even train them up a bit. It would be a huge shame for that design and programming effort to only be used in Gen Six, so let's get Secret Bases into Pokémon Light Switch (or whatever it's going to be called).
Generation Two: Custom Poké Balls
Deep down in Gen Two's Azalea Town there lived a man named Kurt. After you'd helped defend the place from the dastardly Team Rocket, Kurt would offer to make you custom Poké Balls. Before Gen Three introduced specialised Poké Balls in shops (like Timer Balls and Net Balls), this was the only way to tailor your attempt to catch a Pokémon besides stronger balls. You had Lure Balls for fishing trips, Level Balls to catch 'mon of a lower level, Heavy Balls to nab the bigger monsters, and many more besides. They were custom made by our good buddy Kurt if you gave him the right Apricorn, which could easily be found on in-game trees.
The idea fell away when Berries became the things to find on trees in Pokémon games, leaving poor Apricorns to fall by the wayside. That doesn't mean it was a bad idea - it made some of your Poké Balls precious because you couldn't just buy a tonne more. You had to weigh up the right time to use them in an attempted capture, which in turn increased the tension during play. We'd love to see them return, maybe with more types or more different folk making them, in the upcoming games. Heck, perhaps the player could make their own custom Poké Balls in a minigame.
Generation One: Kanto
Deciding what to pick from Gen One was tough. "What did Gen One introduce?" we asked ourselves; the answer is of course "Everything!"... so of course 'everything' is our answer! Kanto is the setting for the main games in Gen One; it also crops up as arguably the most generous post-game bonus of all time in Gen Two. Defeating the Elite Four in Johto opened up a ferry that would take you back to Kanto so you could take on their Elite Four. Absolutely brilliant stuff, made more poignant when you learn that the late, very great Satoru Iwata helped out on programming duties to achieve it.
With last year's 3DS Virtual Console release of Red/Blue/Yellow - and Gold and Silver set to arrive on the service next month - Kanto has been/will be thrust into the forefront of fans' minds. What a thrilling tribute it would be to echo Gen Two and gently open the region back up for us to explore. Maybe you could also visit FireRed and LeafGreen's Sevii Islands, to see how things have changed there. It would be simply fantastic.
We know our wishlist will not be fully realised but you have to dream, right? We'd probably settle for any three of these, to be honest! Whatever happens, Pokémon Switch is sure to be one to watch. If it shakes things up as much as Sun and Moon did, we're all in for a real treat.