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Pokemon and Open Worlds (Or Lack Thereof)

Discussion in 'Let's Go, Pikachu & Eevee' started by SleepingGiant, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. SleepingGiant

    SleepingGiant Well-Known Member

    Users had a lot to say about open world games and how they pertain to Pokemon over at the New Region Discussion Thread. Now I am personally of the belief that Pokemon and Open World do not mix and GF will not be making an attempt to do so, but other users had a few things to say that took a long tangent there. Let's move the conversation here to keep from derailing that thread further. Here are a few key points brought up on that thread:

  2. Marzbar

    Marzbar Active Member

    When I imagine what playing the perfect Pokemon game would be like, I straight away think of Final Fantasy XII

    Just give me a massive open world, heaps of side quests, ridiculously difficult boss battles, gorgeous and varied landscapes, adorable sidekicks and interesting allies, and a TON of wild Pokemon to find and battle, and I'd be happy.
    -Raiga- and Trainer Yusuf like this.
  3. Harmonie

    Harmonie ♫ Ad vivere

    To me, Pokemon games are supposed to be an adventure. Playing Breath of the Wild, I for the first time ever (note: I haven't played other open world games) got that feeling of really playing an adventure game. This is the natural evolution of an adventure game, and until it reaches that point it will always feel dissatisfying to me.

    Not that I expect much from GameFreak, but this is most definitely the direction that Pokemon should go in if you ask me.
  4. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Well-Known Member

    Sorry I haven't played Breath of the Wild, but what you describes "optional lore and characterization that you can explore" isn't a story, it's random unconnected bits of stuff happening at some locations. A building plot and character development like in Sun/Moon would not be possible, for example.
    I personally would prefer if Pokemon doesn't turn into something like Skyrim, all that lore of places that have no or little connection to each other and characterization of random people you'll never see again doesn't really matter to me, since there's no emotional connection for me. "So I have learned the hows and whys of this person now (by talking to other people) and it's interesting. Is he going to be important? No? He's just this random NPCs that spouts one of three repeating lines whenever I talk to him? Well poop"

    For example if I compare it to a Bethesda game, the way we would learn about the history and motives of the evil team would be to discovering a specific city at random and reading about them in reports (yay...:rolleyes:) instead of the stuff being shown or related to us within the story itself. I fail to see how this would be "better".

    And at the very least the Rocket plot in RBY (which was absolutely bare bones and terrible by modern standards) relied upon the fixed progression of the player from Mt.Moon->Curelean Bride->Celadon City->Saffron City->Cinnabar Island->Viridian Gym->Cerulean Cave. Can't break that progression without missing pieces.

    I haven't played that much of FF XII, but what I remember is that it is not open world. It has a set plot progression with a lot of sidequest and optional areas to explore. Something like that, I would very much love in Pokemon. THough again they need to find a better way to convey lore than to put it into your journal or lore book or whatever that was.
  5. Trainer Yusuf

    Trainer Yusuf VolcaniNO

    I'm much more concerned about non-linearity than open-worldness.

    Overall I don't think Pokémon will switch its current Hallway design until at least Gen 12, and I don't they succeed in a true open world until at worst Gen 15, both of which are going to be way after Switch stops being a thing.
  6. Bolt the Cat

    Bolt the Cat Bringing the Thunder

    The other thing I forgot to mention about BotW is that there's mini arcs at each location. The equivalent to that in Pokemon would be if there would be an evil team event or some other plot thing that you do before you fight the gym. There's room for character development within those arcs. Additionally, the interchangeable events towards the middle of the game could build up to character development in the climax. So instead of going A -> B -> C -> D -> E, it would be A -> B + C + D -> E.

    But the story didn't really progress in those events. They were just random, relatively unconnected events. The progression didn't really add anything to the story.
  7. Azhdarcho

    Azhdarcho Active Member

    I think there can be a balance between totally non-linear and totally linear.

    Just an example, if they go with a gym system, I envision it going something like:
    - Player takes on Gym 1, which is closest to their house. It's the starter gym, which make sure that all players understand the mechanics of the game.
    - A story beat happens.
    - The player is then told to take on Gyms 2, 3, and 4, but is given the freedom to do the three in whatever order they please. The game tracks the player's progression, and gives Pokémon and trainers that are appropriate to the player's level. There is maybe a rival battle in here, either at a fixed point at the map or in between the second and third gym that's taken on.
    - Another story beat happens.
    - Depending on the player's geographic location, an NPC tells the player to take on either Gym 5 or 6. The player is also free to be sassy and ignore the NPC's suggestion.
    - Rival battle again! More story.
    - The player takes on whichever of Gyms 5 or 6 they haven't done yet.
    - More story.
    - Something about the story makes taking on Gym 7 imperative.
    - Story climax.
    - Might as well take on Gym 8, 'cause it's the only one left.

    Something like this would allow a player to feel like they have some agency on the path they take in the game, without having the leveling and story become unmanageable for the development team.
    Orphalesion likes this.
  8. Tsukuyomi56

    Tsukuyomi56 Blizzard Maiden

    The main issue with doing an open world style setting is balancing out the levels of the wild Pokémon. The Johto games (which had a semi-open world thing from the fourth gym) were pretty infamous for the wild Pokémon levels capping out around the mid-twenties in Johto making a pain to train up Pokémon if you are using anything more than 4 Pokémon. Save for using the badges or their equivalent for determining the wild Pokémon levels it is going to be tricky to pull off.
  9. paipr_christian

    paipr_christian grass type fan.

    I dont want every game series going ope world or open air. Or what ever.

    I will say as I played BotW there were a few moments I imagined what it be like to be in a larger more amazing Pokemon region. And I do love the idea of going off the beaten path, to find another beaten path, and then to go off that to find a Pokemon for my team earlier than normal.

    But really the best thing for GF would be to find a way to make the linear have some less linear options. Fill the world/region up with more varieties of Pokemon and People, and quests, with worthwhile rewards. Make it so we learn about Pokemon as we go, make it so legendary Pokemon feel like they deserve that title, via in game lore.

    And back to those amazing moment in BotW.... just make the world feel connected, and not like a bunch of outside themed hallwalls. If we trabel up a mountain, let us look doen on the region below. Stuff like that.
  10. PrinceOfFacade

    PrinceOfFacade Ghost-Type Master

    Obviously a literal open world format would be just weird, but free roaming alone would not.

    I think it would be a lot more efficient and enjoyable if linearity was removed, and there was room to play the story with leisure. There doesn't even need to be a level curve; just let the player travel at their own risk. If they want to go into Lv. 45 territory while their team is only Lv. 14, so be it. It's optional.

    Again, a massive open world wouldn't make any sense in Pokémon, but the certain above mechanics that come with such a world would fit just fine.
    SleepingGiant likes this.
  11. Bolt the Cat

    Bolt the Cat Bringing the Thunder

    Scaling it based on badges is exactly what I was thinking actually. Although beyond that, they would want a temporary cap based on your current party. After all, you don't want little kids to swap out their current party and then get wiped by a Lv. 50 Rattata, if you're using Lv. 5 Pokemon in your current party the levels should scale back down to compensate (that wouldn't be the case with major battles like Gym Leaders, Evil Team admins/leaders, and Rivals though, then the game would be too easy).
  12. Sceptile Leaf Blade

    Sceptile Leaf Blade Nighttime Guardian

    I would prefer PrinceOfFacade's method to scaling wild pokémon with badges or your own party. Let players wipe if they go into high-level areas too soon if they fail to run, it's not like it's the end of the world if players wipe a couple of times. They'll learn not to go there until their pokémon are stronger. I would have even pokémon you're the OT of not obeying you unless you've got sufficient badges though, otherwise it'd be too easy to simply go into the high-level area, catch a few pokémon there, and essentially skip levelling.

    An anecdote, I once played a Nuzlocke in the Johto games and managed to catch Raikou not long after reaching Ecruteak City. It was an amazingly lucky catch, but it did pretty much break the game as it was so OP for that stage in the game. Raikou, Entei, and Suicune being so difficult to catch in those games balances it out a bit, but you don't really have that luxury for regular wild pokémon.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  13. SleepingGiant

    SleepingGiant Well-Known Member

    There is more to the difficulty curve of this game than levels.

    For example, consider type availability across the series. Other than the Spheal you get from Island Scan and Delibird which needs the late-game TM's or turors, Ice-type Pokemon tend not to be obtainable until later in the game because they crush Ground, Grass, and Flying types, which consist of much of the early-game Pokemon. On the contrary, we tend not to see early NPC's using Dragons (other than that Axew in XY) because they resist all of the starter types and can punch holes through unprepared teams pretty easily.

    Also, beyond the difficulty scale, a lot of casual players just want to go gym-to-gym and clear everything, and judge the game based on what they see along that path. Not finding optional places like Pelago or Plaza (or potentially Safari's, etc.) just because of their choice of where to go in the world would have severely limited their appreciation for the world. It seems silly, but it's a real issue. Many players didn't find the Master Sword in Breath of the Wild (or had to look it up). I personally didn't find Hetsu in my playthrough, so I didn't know you could increase the size of your inventory. Breath of the Wild was an easy game to miss "interesting" or seemingly "important" details. Some of those memory locations were in obscure locations as well, and I wouldn't be surprised if most players just didn't get the full story from that game because of how hard the memories were to find. Not to hate on that game, but to give examples of what might not work in Pokemon.
  14. Blackjack the Titan

    Blackjack the Titan Gay Yveltal

    As a completionist, I was really stumped by how hard it was to find the memories in BotW. Other things like the Korok seeds required me to look up their locations rather than be able to find them myself.

    I, for one, am against the open-world concept just because it wouldn't feel like the main RPG game. As you might have inferred, placing important plot details in obscure locations in an open-world format would probably enrage the player since the story will still need some linearity as a Pokemon game.
  15. Sceptile Leaf Blade

    Sceptile Leaf Blade Nighttime Guardian

    I guess important plot details shouldn't be placed in obscure locations but be fairly easy to find. Maybe with some assistance for the main storyline direction similar to how Rotom marks stuff on the map during the story. Keep the searching yourself for trying to find all the different pokémon, TMs, and so on. Pokémon has done that in the past plenty of times, TM24 Thunderbolt is pretty obscure to find in USUM for instance. And Psychium Z is also very confusing to find with how Haina Desert doesn't seem to follow the normal rules that govern how areas are connected. I think an open world can still work well as long as there is some assistance for the player as to which way to go to progress the main story.
  16. KyogreThunder

    KyogreThunder Call of Fate

    I don't really want an open-world game, not just because it may result in bad pacing issues yet again, similiarly to Generation II games and their remakes, but also because it may make the storyline paper-thin even by Pokemon standards. However, too much linearity will destroy all sense of adventure in the game, so I'd like it to have lots of backtracking. For me, Hoenn and Sinnoh games had the best balance of exploration and linearity. Another thing I'd like to see is a region with many long routes(about the same size as Routees 111 and 119) and large confusing dungeon-like areas.
  17. Cerex

    Cerex Well-Known Member

    Within the game lore, it is an open world, you are just a trainer on an adventure, the game restricts your movements so that you follow a certain path for the purposes of completing the gym/island challenge. However, immediately after that, it is open, and so can go wherever. And I think it is in the moments after the post-game that the best Pokemon games really shine, typically up until that point they are all the same, i.e. collect eight badges, defeat an evil team and challenge the Elite Four. So why can't we do that from the start.

    I think once you solve for leveling it's not to difficult to see how. If you de-link experience from battles somewhat for example I think it's possible. If gym battles were like the Battle Tree where automatically your Pokemon are auto-leveled Lv. 50 then you can tackle any gym in any order, and traverse as you see fit. Maybe you really want a Water team to play throughout the game, so you go to the areas of the region that have a lot of Water Pokemon and then from there go elsewhere. Once a battle is over you gain experience which improves your Pokemon's stats, maybe experience works like a skill tree where you can decide what stats you want to allocate the experience to. Outside of gym battles the NPC battles level could rise relative to the amount of badges your acquired, let's say +5 for every gym you defeat, so by the end it's +40 whatever their initial level is or was. And maybe you can have a mix based on their class, in case you want to do some training for weaker Pokemon.

    Along the way you might initiate sidequests that trigger story elements, like battling the evil team, or running into the legendary Pokemon. Once you have collected all of the badges, the Elite Four becomes accessible to you, and you can choose to battle it if you want. However, the other aspects of the game are not denied to you.

    So it's totally possible in my mind.
    Bolt the Cat likes this.
  18. Storm the Lycanroc

    Storm the Lycanroc Well-Known Member

    Honestly the closest thing we'll get to an open world game is Pokemon Go because we can go anywhere in the real world to catch the critters.
  19. Blackjack the Titan

    Blackjack the Titan Gay Yveltal


    I feel that once we have an open world the whole format of plot development must change. Instead of the "obtain 8 badges/beat 9 totems + 4 Kahunas while defeating the evil team(s)" format, I feel like USUM was trying to ease us into having an evil team post-game. The whole difficulty upgrade that way felt better to have. Sun and Moon had already started to do away with the concept of formal gyms.

    Once Pokemon comes to the Switch I think there will be more of treating Pokemon and Legendary Pokemon as bosses like what we saw with the Totem's and Necrozma. Perhaps we could continue in the direction of obtaining Z-Crystals since they're essentially useful Badges.
    Obtaining a Z-Crystal from a Gym would be cool to do. With the use of an open-world, the definition of a Pokemon Gym might be expanded. I'd like to go around a gym facility within a volcano to obtain the Dragon or Fire Z- crystal.
  20. RileyXY1

    RileyXY1 Young Battle Trainer

    The games don't have to be open world. More exploration would be nice, but open world is an option not a requirement.

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