Pokémon turned 20 this year, and Nintendo’s new games—Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon—are designed with an expansion of the fan base in mind.
Japanese game developers, Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori joined Nintendo for its annual, E3 Treehouse presentation today, offering insight into the themes and features of the game, as audiences watched an on-screen demo. Set on a tropical island chain called the Alola Region, Masuda explained that Pokémon Sun and Moon convey a theme of “life force overflowing.” This applies to the locale, the diversity of Pokémon and the elemental power of the Earth’s sun and moon.
This also applies to the existing, passionate fan base and those trying their hand at training “pocket monsters” for the first time.
Attracting New Trainers
The most significant addition to the franchise is localization for Chinese, currently the largest gaming market for mobile. Although this demographic covers mobile devices like phones and tablets, the Nintendo 2DS and 3DS are certainly handheld devices. Masuda explained that a lot of fans from China had expressed a desire to play, which led to their decision. This is the first time in the franchise that Chinese will be available, in addition to the existing seven language options.
While experienced players will understand the more intricate nature of collecting, trading and battling Pokémon, Sun and Moon offers newcomers a little help. An upgraded interface uses universally recognizable colors, symbols and movements that transcend language and age groups. There are other touches as well, to help keep track of stats and the effectiveness of attacks against specific opponents. Normally, trainers would keep track of this information in their heads, so being able to access the data with a simple tap of the touch screen will assist in formulating strategies.
Honoring Veteran Trainers
When revitalizing a brand for a new generation, it’s imperative to honor the legacy that made said brand a success to begin with. For Pokémon Sun and Moon, veteran trainers will be treated to additional features to keep them coming back for more. Customization of trainer appearance, as well as improved proportions as they relate to trainer and Pokémon encourages immersion into the game world. The new Pokédex indicates when there are more creatures to collect, encouraging players to keep searching to collect them all. The E3 demo revealed three new Pokémon native to the Alola Region, as well as existing ones from outside the region to add to players’ collections.
Bringing All Trainers Together
Nintendo introduced “Battle Royale,” a 4-person multiplayer mode that pitches trainers against each other in a free-for-all battle. Each trainer can enter the arena with up to three Pokémon in their arsenal. The first trainer to lose all their Pokémon loses, and at the end of the battle, points are tallied to determine the winner. This new element, along with new players joining from China, will encourage trainers worldwide to interact.
Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon will be released for Nintendo 2DS and 3DS on November 18 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the franchise.