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Pokemon and Open Worlds (Or Lack Thereof)

Bolt the Cat

Bringing the Thunder
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.

Game Freak isn't going to go for that. They want the game to be accessible to kids and casuals, they're not going to let them get frustrated because they get massacred going where they want to go. Also sort of defeats the purpose of open world if certain paths are tougher than others.

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.

Pokemon Go doesn't really scratch the itch to explore large virtual worlds, which is the problem. If I wanted to explore the real world I wouldn't need to buy a video game.
 

PrinceOfFacade

Ghost-Type Master
Game Freak isn't going to go for that. They want the game to be accessible to kids and casuals, they're not going to let them get frustrated because they get massacred going where they want to go. Also sort of defeats the purpose of open world if certain paths are tougher than others.

It doesn't defeat the purpose of having an open world, because there is no open world. This is simply free roaming.

I don't understand how kids getting frustrated over a choice they don't have to make could keep Game Freak from implementing such an environment. I know they love hand holding, but damn. It can't possibly be that bad.
 

Cerex

Well-Known Member
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.

It doesn't have to change at all in terms of plot. Imagine if R/G/Y had an open world and you could have left Pallet town and gone in any direction. Setting aside the issue of level parity to maintain some degree of a challenge, the story could have worked just as well had you gone to Cinnabar Island first rather than Viridian City. The only events driving the story were a handful of Team Rocket events, some of which were road blocks; however, that could still happen in a most open world. You could have events that only trigger in an open world after you have initiated another event, and are chained together, but it doesn't stop you from exploring the rest of the game. Saffron City could be locked away until your triggered an event in one location, but you could have still accessed Fire Pokemon on Cinnabar Island for your battle with Erika.

Much of what the game utilizes as plot points are in hindsight arbitrary roadblocks: Sudowoodo, Snorlax--twice, HMs, boats not working. There's no reason you couldn't design a game that allows players to acquire gyms and access Pokemon in a path that they want and not have a similar experience. I mean, you can completely pass two gyms and it not affect the story at all until the end.

It would be an amazing experience if you start off your adventure after you collected your starter, and your local region professor just told you to choose your own adventure and pick out the path that's best for you, rather than the player essentially stumbling into mobs or terrorist groups.
 

SleepingGiant

Discord mod (Sudo)
People are confusing open world with open choice. Even the grand example everyone keeps using, Breath of the Wild (an "open air" game according to the game director), requires you to complete an introductory phase that isn't exactly very short. It's about an hour or two of gameplay, which for many players could be the trip to Pewter. From there if you were give all the HM's via Pokeride, you would in theory be able to continue through Mt Moon, Cut into Diglett Cave, Surf down to Cinnabar, and go through Victory Road. That would be more in line with the design of Breath of the Wild's open air. All the issues people have brought up about level scale and the availability of weaker/stronger mons would still be in question, but that would be more the path of a theoretically "opened" version of those games.
 

Grey Wind

Well-Known Member
I agree with Bolt that leaving high-level areas open is kind of pointless. There's still a linear path that you're meant to follow, and allowing players to access more difficult areas straight away doesn't add anything, because you're just gonna get crushed by the stronger Pokemon and go for the more sensible option anyway.
 

Bolt the Cat

Bringing the Thunder
It doesn't defeat the purpose of having an open world, because there is no open world. This is simply free roaming.

Still defeats the purpose of free roaming. By keeping the levels stagnant you're discouraging people from wandering off by making the intended path the easiest, so most of them are just going to follow the same path instead of going wherever they feel like.

I don't understand how kids getting frustrated over a choice they don't have to make could keep Game Freak from implementing such an environment. I know they love hand holding, but damn. It can't possibly be that bad.

For one, you would need to clearly indicate which areas have the higher level Pokemon. Otherwise they would get blindsided by the high levels. Beyond that though, they don't really pay a lot of attention and understand the mechanics to the degree that you or I would. They're probably just going to brute force the game without really learning much about the mechanics, skip a lot of the dialogue, and then go from A to B until they beat the game. So Game Freak needs to be clear to that audience about where they need to go and then essentially idiotproof the game so if they mess up they don't get brutally punished for it.

People are confusing open world with open choice. Even the grand example everyone keeps using, Breath of the Wild (an "open air" game according to the game director), requires you to complete an introductory phase that isn't exactly very short. It's about an hour or two of gameplay, which for many players could be the trip to Pewter. From there if you were give all the HM's via Pokeride, you would in theory be able to continue through Mt Moon, Cut into Diglett Cave, Surf down to Cinnabar, and go through Victory Road. That would be more in line with the design of Breath of the Wild's open air. All the issues people have brought up about level scale and the availability of weaker/stronger mons would still be in question, but that would be more the path of a theoretically "opened" version of those games.

Yeah, I could see the game up until the first badge being linear/restricted for tutorial purposes, but after that I want to go wherever I want for 2-8 or at least 2-7. Then maybe the climax of the storyline and the Pokemon League could require all of the badges. It wouldn't entirely be open choice, but the bulk of the game would and that would be enough.
 

Sceptile Leaf Blade

Nighttime Guardian
For one, you would need to clearly indicate which areas have the higher level Pokemon. Otherwise they would get blindsided by the high levels. Beyond that though, they don't really pay a lot of attention and understand the mechanics to the degree that you or I would. They're probably just going to brute force the game without really learning much about the mechanics, skip a lot of the dialogue, and then go from A to B until they beat the game. So Game Freak needs to be clear to that audience about where they need to go and then essentially idiotproof the game so if they mess up they don't get brutally punished for it.

I think you're exaggerating if you call wiping occasionally being brutally punished... They lose what, a few thousand pokécurrency and get transported back to the most recent pokémon centre. I mean, players wipe all the time in the story. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of players that wipe at one or two Totems, when fighting Lusamine or a Grand Trial, or at Ultra Necrozma. I know I wipe occasionally during the story. In my first Ultra Sun playthrough I wiped at Totem Araquanid, in my Sun playthrough I wiped twice at Totem Mimikyu, and in my second Ultra Sun playthrough I almost wiped at Olivia's Grand Trial and at Elite Four Molayne. It's part of the game.
 

Bolt the Cat

Bringing the Thunder
I think you're exaggerating if you call wiping occasionally being brutally punished... They lose what, a few thousand pokécurrency and get transported back to the most recent pokémon centre. I mean, players wipe all the time in the story. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of players that wipe at one or two Totems, when fighting Lusamine or a Grand Trial, or at Ultra Necrozma. I know I wipe occasionally during the story. In my first Ultra Sun playthrough I wiped at Totem Araquanid, in my Sun playthrough I wiped twice at Totem Mimikyu, and in my second Ultra Sun playthrough I almost wiped at Olivia's Grand Trial and at Elite Four Molayne. It's part of the game.

Except when they do get wiped, either one of two things is going to happen:

1. They don't learn from their mistake and keep doing it over and over until they get sick of the game.
2. They change direction and follow the intended path, which again defeats the purpose of free roaming.
 

Cerex

Well-Known Member
I agree with Bolt that leaving high-level areas open is kind of pointless. There's still a linear path that you're meant to follow, and allowing players to access more difficult areas straight away doesn't add anything, because you're just gonna get crushed by the stronger Pokemon and go for the more sensible option anyway.
Levels can be adjusted, there's no reason why levels cannot change. We already have within the handheld games new Pokemon being introduced to routes we have been to after we have cleared certain areas/events, so adjusting levels as you progress through various check points in an open world game isn't impossible.

The biggest issue isn't being exposed to Pokemon that are too high of a level, but rather the variety of Pokemon you have access to. It would be a different experience, if you knew you had to defeat Erika and you decided to go to Cinnabar Island first to pick up an Growlithe or Ponyta and then making your way to Celadon City. And then imagine if you had, like in US/UM many side quests along the way, to explore the area along that path you want.
 

SleepingGiant

Discord mod (Sudo)
The biggest issue isn't being exposed to Pokemon that are too high of a level, but rather the variety of Pokemon you have access to. It would be a different experience, if you knew you had to defeat Erika and you decided to go to Cinnabar Island first to pick up an Growlithe or Ponyta and then making your way to Celadon City. And then imagine if you had, like in US/UM many side quests along the way, to explore the area along that path you want.
Even though I posted about this exact same thing earlier this thread, I'll offer an opposing point. What you're describing isn't negative. If players learn they can make a certain segment of the game easier by going to a different part of the game and catching certain Pokemon, then that's a good use of the game design. Knowing to catch a Fire-type to help beat a Grass-type is already a part of the game: you can catch Growlithe or Vulpix just outside Celadon City. This happens with almost every gym in every main series Pokemon game. Having an open world would just make it less likely that newcomers will make the connection between the Pokemon have a better matchup against which gym.
 

Azhdarcho

Active Member
World design can help us a little, too, with players running into enemies that are too difficult for them to take on. To jump on the bandwagon that's bringing up BotW, one thing you'll notice as you play the game is that, the further you are from "civilization", the tougher the enemies are. While the center of the map obviously has some danger, it's when you travel to the corners of the map or to abandoned places like Hyrule Castle that you find high-level enemies, powerful weapons, and gnarly weather.

We could use that same design philosophy to guide player advancement through an open world. The player starts with the local Pokémon club in Central City, a bustling metropolis located in the balmy, temperate middle of the map. Due to human influence, high-level wild Pokémon are hard to come by.

The game then suggests take on the three gyms most proximal to Central City, located in more rural towns in the surrounding area. There are open fields and national parks and so on in these areas, which mean wild Pokémon can be higher leveled, but nothing too outrageous – again, because human influence is present.

Only then does the games suggest taking on the three gyms in the far corners of the map. There's one on a Hailtorm mountain, one in the Sandstorm desert, and one on a volcano/Rainstorming ocean/impenetrable jungle (or something). The player is being directed into true wilderness, and the journey requires preparation, both with their party's strength and with supplies like healing items.

There's nothing stopping the player from boneheadedly marching straight out to the desert, but killing themselves over and over again in the attempt and mindnumbing level grinding would both serve as deterrents, and encourage the player to take on closer Gyms.

I dunno, I'm still not in Camp Open World, but there's probably a way to make it work. I don't want an open world as much as I just want Game Freak to ease up on the railroading and exposition. Let me self-direct and draw my own conclusions a little.
 

FrozTKnight

Will ORA ORA ORA you
I am little late to the party but, I am surprised nobody mentions Mario Odyssey when speculating what the next Pokemon game could do different. BotW was a great addition to the Zelda series but I don't think it would fit well with Pokemon, especially due to the level curve. But Mario Odyssey on the other hand is a prime template for what a Pokemon game could look like, it lets the players freely roam large areas but restricts them to that said area till the main mission is completed (and maybe if GF wants let the player decide which town they want to go next).

World design can help us a little, too, with players running into enemies that are too difficult for them to take on. To jump on the bandwagon that's bringing up BotW, one thing you'll notice as you play the game is that, the further you are from "civilization", the tougher the enemies are. While the center of the map obviously has some danger, it's when you travel to the corners of the map or to abandoned places like Hyrule Castle that you find high-level enemies, powerful weapons, and gnarly weather.

We could use that same design philosophy to guide player advancement through an open world. The player starts with the local Pokémon club in Central City, a bustling metropolis located in the balmy, temperate middle of the map. Due to human influence, high-level wild Pokémon are hard to come by.

The game then suggests take on the three gyms most proximal to Central City, located in more rural towns in the surrounding area. There are open fields and national parks and so on in these areas, which mean wild Pokémon can be higher leveled, but nothing too outrageous – again, because human influence is present.

Only then does the games suggest taking on the three gyms in the far corners of the map. There's one on a Hailtorm mountain, one in the Sandstorm desert, and one on a volcano/Rainstorming ocean/impenetrable jungle (or something). The player is being directed into true wilderness, and the journey requires preparation, both with their party's strength and with supplies like healing items.

There's nothing stopping the player from boneheadedly marching straight out to the desert, but killing themselves over and over again in the attempt and mindnumbing level grinding would both serve as deterrents, and encourage the player to take on closer Gyms.

I dunno, I'm still not in Camp Open World, but there's probably a way to make it work. I don't want an open world as much as I just want Game Freak to ease up on the railroading and exposition. Let me self-direct and draw my own conclusions a little.

Thats actually a really great idea and could work, lets say there are 3 outer rings, every Pokemon you enter would be in the range of lvl1-lv20 next ring would be lvl20-lvl40 and the final ringe would be lvl40-lvl60. This would also encourage players to return to old areas more lets say in 3rd route after the second city is the only place where you could find X rare Pokemon which is found in the 2nd ring
 
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Mega Altaria

☆~Shiny hunter▢~
I am little late to the party but, I am surprised nobody mentions Mario Odyssey when speculating what the next Pokemon game could do different. BotW was a great addition to the Zelda series but I don't think it would fit well with Pokemon, especially due to the level curve. But Mario Odyssey on the other hand is a prime template for what a Pokemon game could look like, it lets the players freely roam large areas but restricts them to that said area till the main mission is completed (and maybe if GF wants let the player decide which town they want to go next).
Although such a large area is good in my opinion, there is expected to be loading times whenever the player tries to go from one area to another. I don't think that the player is restricted to one area until a mission is completed like defeating the town's Gym Leader but will have a restriction to which areas they can access until they have a certain number of badges or whatever, like in previous games.
 

Bolt the Cat

Bringing the Thunder
The biggest issue isn't being exposed to Pokemon that are too high of a level, but rather the variety of Pokemon you have access to. It would be a different experience, if you knew you had to defeat Erika and you decided to go to Cinnabar Island first to pick up an Growlithe or Ponyta and then making your way to Celadon City. And then imagine if you had, like in US/UM many side quests along the way, to explore the area along that path you want.

Agreed with @SleepingGiant. That's not an issue, that's a feature. If the player wants to go to the ends of the Earth to find their favorite Pokemon, they can. They can build their entire team from the start of the game instead of just waiting until the game arbitrarily decides to allow them access to them.

I am little late to the party but, I am surprised nobody mentions Mario Odyssey when speculating what the next Pokemon game could do different. BotW was a great addition to the Zelda series but I don't think it would fit well with Pokemon, especially due to the level curve. But Mario Odyssey on the other hand is a prime template for what a Pokemon game could look like, it lets the players freely roam large areas but restricts them to that said area till the main mission is completed (and maybe if GF wants let the player decide which town they want to go next).

Problem is that Pokemon's maps are continuous whereas Odyssey's are segregated into levels. Odyssey's progression system wouldn't work well for Pokemon.
 

FrozTKnight

Will ORA ORA ORA you
Problem is that Pokemon's maps are continuous whereas Odyssey's are segregated into levels. Odyssey's progression system wouldn't work well for Pokemon.

Could the Mario Odyssey model be tweaked to fit a Pokemon game.

Lets see the the Cap Kingdom and Cascade Kingdom are the first two levels so in a Pokemon game it would a a continous map but you will be blocked from proceeding by a NPC (like in FR/LG) only be able to proceed to the next area with the Badge of the gym/ or some other items for towns without gyms. But untill then you are free to roam every areas you have access to no restrictions and if you try to skip like trying to go around the NPC but taking a short cut you will get your ass kicked due to the level of Pokemon like @Azhdarcho mentioned with his idea of Pokemon getting more stronger the further you stray from the linear path given in the game to make it easier.
 

Tsukuyomi56

Gesshin Powered
Could the Mario Odyssey model be tweaked to fit a Pokemon game.

Lets see the the Cap Kingdom and Cascade Kingdom are the first two levels so in a Pokemon game it would a a continous map but you will be blocked from proceeding by a NPC (like in FR/LG) only be able to proceed to the next area with the Badge of the gym/ or some other items for towns without gyms. But untill then you are free to roam every areas you have access to no restrictions and if you try to skip like trying to go around the NPC but taking a short cut you will get your ass kicked due to the level of Pokemon like @Azhdarcho mentioned with his idea of Pokemon getting more stronger the further you stray from the linear path given in the game to make it easier.

Sadly that does not really work with Pokemon compared to the Xenoblade series (the games that I can think off that you can wander into areas with enemies that are much stronger than you) as you can capture said Pokemon. Unless they overhaul the capture and/or obedience mechanics you can lob Poke Balls hoping one clicks and you just have an overpowered Pokemon to stomp opponents since there is no fear of disobedience since they are not traded.
 

Azhdarcho

Active Member
Sadly that does not really work with Pokemon compared to the Xenoblade series (the games that I can think off that you can wander into areas with enemies that are much stronger than you) as you can capture said Pokemon. Unless they overhaul the capture and/or obedience mechanics you can lob Poke Balls hoping one clicks and you just have an overpowered Pokemon to stomp opponents since there is no fear of disobedience since they are not traded.

TBH, I don't really fear this. If you're lucky enough that you can lob an Ultra Ball at a full-HP level 50 Pokémon and have it catch within the first, let's say, five tries (one per party member it one-shots lol), all the more power to you. The modified experience system they used in USUM means it will not be gaining tons of experience while you're stomping all of the low-level enemies. You're going to have your work cut out for you when you return to the area you caught it in, and it's level 55 and the rest of your party is still level 20. And all that's assuming that they don't modify the capture/obedience mechanics.

What I want out of this system, or any system, is the sense that the reason I can't progress is because I, personally, as a trainer, am not ready for greater challenges yet. I'm not hampered in my exploration because ~The Gym Leader Isn't Here~ or ~You Need to Find the McGuffin~ or ~There are Ten Hikers Doing a Conga Line at the Entrance to the Route (wtf)~ Those things have always bothered me in these games. Whether we go open the world or not, I want the games to find a better solutions to gatekeeping.
 

Storm the Lycanroc

Oshawott Squad
Let's just hope whatever Game Freak has planned will be able to appease some of our expectations. I say that because people expecting a Breath of the Wild sized world are setting themselves up for disappointment. It doesn't fit the style of the main Pokemon RPG series.

The truth is no matter how hard we debate or discuss the topic we won't have any say in the finished game.
 

Cerex

Well-Known Member
Agreed with @SleepingGiant. That's not an issue, that's a feature. If the player wants to go to the ends of the Earth to find their favorite Pokemon, they can. They can build their entire team from the start of the game instead of just waiting until the game arbitrarily decides to allow them access to them.
It's a feature in the same way HMs were a feature of gameplay, which forced the player to do certain things in order to complete the experience. And I think clearly GF has demonstrated that it's something we can do without and still have an engaging experience. There's no reason to force players to have to go to the end's of the Earth. Also, it's not merely having the Pokemon you want--I agree with you, if a player really wants it they can get their hands of it--it is about the exploration of the region. Much of the game content and exploration is locked behind a specific path GF makes you to follow, for only a set period of time, after which you have the freedom to explore as you choose. There's no reason a player shouldn't be given that option from the start.

Imagine if players were able to go to Ecruteak City first before the traveled to Goldenrod City, because they heard from one the NPC's that the Gym Leader in Goldenrod used normal and they wanted to catch some Ghost types, only to find out, Whitney's Miltank had Scrappy. Or what if you really wanted a Dragon type Pokemon and you traveled first to Blackhorn City only to discover that it's not just a Gym battle that awaits you, but you have to complete the trial in the Dragon's Den that is too hard on your first pass, so you have to explore the region at your own pace and then return. Imagine if the Slateport City boat wasn't broken and you could travel to Lilycove right away and take in the sites of the art gallery or go to the department store. All of a sudden rather than having what you can do and what Pokemon you can catch be restricted you can immerse yourself in the region and go through every nook, collecting the gym badges at your own pace.

Add to such a system weekly and timed events, such as racing against Grant or the bug catching contest, or maybe seeing some NPCs at the museum or store. Now add to that the online community, where instead of all players following the same path at release, different players taking different paths, discovering new finds and Pokemon adds to the mystery. Players would be racing to places like these forums to say "hey, I decided to head to Veilstone City first and I just found this at X" and other person "you guys have got to check this out here".
 

FrozTKnight

Will ORA ORA ORA you
The problem is getting the open world setting to blend well with the post game (competitive) and sometimes to the play style of others. If the game goes open world it would be a fair assumption to say the encounters would probably be over world to stop the environment from being barren.

1) If they go for overworld encounters how often would I run into Pokémon and how would I encounter rare Pokémon, how tedious would it be to find a specific Pokémon.

2) Will I be able to easily search for Pokemon (special abilities, ivs, nature's etc.) to prepare for online matchmaking.

3) How will I engage a Pokémon in the over world, if its like how Link tames horses (sneaking up to them) then no.
 
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