We are currently at an interesting point in the life cycle of Nintendo's DS handheld. The system is on its final legs as the Nintendo 3DS is set to release later this month. However, many gamers have been using the DS more this week than they have all year, and the recent resurgence of DS activity can be attributed mainly to the release of Pokemon Black and White. These two games will almost certainly be played on the 3DS after it launches, which got us thinking about what the masses should expect from the eventual Pokemon 3DS titles.
Nintendo has confirmed that it is already hard at work on new Pokemon games for the Nintendo 3DS, but they didn't have to confirm that bit of news to assure us that more Pokemon is coming — especially after Black and White's sales in both Japan and North America.
That "announcement," in addition to the recent release of Black and White, has peaked the interest of many a fine Pokemon fan, who may be interested in predictions for the series' future on the 3DS.
It is for those very reasons that we have taken the liberty of crafting a list of five things we hope, nay, expect from Nintendo and Game Freak when they finally bring the immensely popular franchise to the Nintendo 3DS. Let's get started!
Let's get the most obvious expectation out of the way. Obviously, the game will be taking full advantage of the 3DS's 3D display, and in order to do that that Pokemon will likely be appearing in 3D every time they battle. Yes, gone will be the cartoonish monsters that awkwardly shift back and forth when they are sent into battle. In their place will come Pokemon that are more reminiscent of those found in Pokemon Stadium. A graphical update certainly isn't heavily required, but the game could always benefit from better graphics.
If 3D pocket monsters aren't enough, then what about 3D attacks as well? As the Pokemon enter battle, their attacks will literally jump off the screen and into the faces of excited on-lookers. This step into the third dimension is sure to immerse players in the battle even more than the introduction of a panning camera managed to do in Pokemon Black and White. The opportunity to make use of the 3D display on the Nintendo 3DS is too good to pass up, and you can bet Game Freak will take full advantage of it.
One of the standout features of the Nintendo 3DS is its built-in pedometer, which gives the healthy individuals who use it a way to tally how many steps they've taken. The second this feature was announced it seemed all too perfect for the next Pokemon game. The pedometer can essentially act as the Pokewalker that came packaged with Pokemon Soul Silver and Heart Gold. Players will be able to walk around in order to level up their Pokemon, and even catch Pokemon that may not be obtainable any other way.
One of the coolest features about the pedometer is that players will receive virtual currency (called coins) for every step they take. These coins can then be used to unlock exclusive in-game content in 3DS games that support the feature. These coins could be transferred to the new Pokemon games as Pokedollars, or even be spent on rare Pokemon and/or items for use in the games. The pedometer in the 3DS is an awesome feature that is sure to be used in a lot of future Nintendo-made games. Let's hope Pokemon leads the way.
One of the most interesting features of the Nintendo 3DS is the ability to interact with other 3DS owners without them even knowing it happened. I'm speaking about the StreetPass ability, which has been shown off prominently in Capcom's Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. In that game, individuals who have played SSFIV 3D can battle each other and collect trophies, and the beauty of this feature is that they won't even know until the next time they fire up the game. The game doesn't even have to be in the Nintendo 3DS in order for these battles to happen, which makes encounters that much more likely.
Now imagine this ability implemented in the next Pokemon games. You've just gone out for your evening jog, with your 3DS conveniently in your pocket, and afterwards you fire up Pokemon only to learn that the collectable creatures you had in your party have now grown by a few levels. Apparently you ran past someone who had a 3DS and had played the game, so the 3DS automatically pit you two against each other in a heated Pokebattle. This is the potential the 3DS brings to the table, and it's a feature that could work very well... so long as you're in a decently populated town or city.
A new piece of tech that is part of the 3DS, and is currently featured as a massive selling point for the system, is augmented reality. This feature makes use of the 3D cameras on the handheld and special AR cards that can be scanned in order to virtually "project" 3D images onto real-world surfaces. The Nintendo 3DS comes with six different cards that allow players to literally bring Mario, Link, Samus Aran, and more into their living rooms. After some thought, it's obvious to see just how perfectly this feature would work with a new Pokemon game.
Real live Pokemon battles have always been dreamt about by fans of the franchise, and the AR ability of the 3DS can finally make that dream a reality. By placing down a single card, trainers would be able to watch as their Pokemon comes to life right on their coffee table. The Pokemon-themed augmented reality feature could only get better if it allowed people to battle each other using commands issued via each individual's 3DS. Though it may not appear in the first set of games to come out, it seems highly probable that AR Pokemon will happen at some point, possibly making use of new Pokemon TCG cards.
The final feature everyone should expect is an option that has been left out of every Pokemon game to-date, but has been wanted by fans for several years: the ability to connect with a friend's game so that you and your buddy can run around the entire region catching Pokemon and battling trainers together. Yes, Black and White does have a similar (and very brief) feature called the Entralink, which will be available through Dream World after it launches on March 30th. Entralink, however, is more of a bonus option then the full-blown co-op we've been asking for for years.
Since the Nintendo 3DS is all about connectivity and upping the social interactions between people, it makes sense that the next pocket monster games will support an updated multiplayer option. If Game Freak took the initiative they could even add a co-op feature that allows friends to team up and do various side quests. Nobody should expect a full-blown co-op campaign, but they should expect a vastly superior online service with some co-op elements.
All of these features should be a part of the next generation of portable gaming. One essential feature that was left off of this list is the ability to transfer Pokemon from the existing DS games, but Nintendo thought of ways to make the transition from GBA to DS possible, so we know they'll probably be doing the same moving from DS to 3DS.
The Nintendo 3DS offers a lot of new technology and opportunities that just weren't possible on the DS, and everyone should rest assured that Nintendo will take full advantage of the new system. If the next set of games can be created as fast as Black and White were, then there should be word on the next Pokemon titles at this year's E3.
What do you think our list of the five things to expect from Pokemon on the 3DS? What other features do you think will appear in the next set of games that we may have forgotten to mention?