Pokemon games have always referenced previous games, with the initial Gen 2 games being sequels that had most of Kanto to explore as well. If any gen was a move to emulate Gen I, it was Gen 5's first set in BW which really did aim to re-create the magic of Gen I by restricting it to only new Pokemon for the main game.
By doing that though ironically, it pissed off a lot of people(not me). People couldnt take not being able to get the same pokemon they get every gen for their teams.
Xy literally recreated viridian forest, Gave you gen 1 starters, had the league be on a off route near the first major town, had mewtwo sitting in a cave that you need to surf to, has someone give you a lapras, evil team is first met in a cave guarding fossils, evil team base is set up with sliding floor panels, and the legendary birds are in.
So bw was emulating the setup of gen 1, xy was pandering to the nostalgia of it like no other gen.