by Joshua Temblett, Onrpg writer
Why Pokémon would be an awesome MMORPG. Let’s see…
Let’s not beat around the bush here, Pokémon rocks. Unless you’re really insecure with your sexuality, as a gamer you must admit that the idea and premise of this particular series is genius, if not a bit cruel. Nothing could be cooler than capturing small little creatures in a ball and then training them to destroy other little critters whilst gaining levels on the side.
In fact I think the thing that made this continuation of titles the success it was, was due to the fact you could watch your monsters grow from cute, fluffy beings from heaven into big teethed, child eating devils reaching out from hell, whilst getting more badges, TMs and indeed items. The Pokémon sequence of games has been begging to be turned into a proper online game ever since its birth and now it’s time to examine just how this game would be developed and designed.
First off the graphics would have to be 2D. It’s been proved in the past that Pokémon, as a game, doesn’t work in 3D  and its flat style suits the overall feel of the game. It has a certain amount of realism, the world itself is perfectly believably, mixed with the fantasy and unrealism of the animals and mildly sci-fi creations that inhabit it. This feeling of the world can only be captured in wonderful 2D and if the MMORPG was created it would have to be for a handheld to allow for gaming on the go.
If it was on the Nintendo DS the game could use the touch screen for typing and also the microphone for speaking with players on your “friends list”, if of course Nintendo didn’t want players to talk to each other they could just adopt a “Safe Chat” system like in the family friendly (and very successful “Wizard 101”) which would filter inappropriate words.
The gameplay must be in the turn based battle style that we have come to know and love from the series, however if someone was in battle then they would show up on the world map as “Fighting” which would allow you join them (the player could lock their battles though, so no one else could join) and help them out if need be. The world’s (note the plural) would be huge and feature many gyms, from which you would of course get badges.
Only after getting all of the badges could you challenge the “Elite Four” and then the “Pokémon Champion” to become…well just that the Champion. After you achieve that high status though, you would have to accept all challenges and defend your title and you could also fight in tournaments among the other “Pokémon Champions” from different servers to see who is the strongest in the whole game. Seeing yourself go from an “n00b” to become a strong trainer would be an exciting thing and indeed be incredibly rewarding. Of course for those of you who would not want to train your little beings in the art of killing each other there would also be Pokémon Breeding, Fishing (fish could be cooked and then used as items in battle to heal your little monster), Mining (for rare items underground), House (/Secret Base) building and even participate in “Pokémon Contests” to see just how beautiful, cool, cute or just plain awesome your pet is.
Like with any MMO, community would be a strong part of this title, you could combine together to create guilds to take on the world or even become a part of Team Rocket and steal Pokémon. You would be able to speak to everyone you meet using the previously stated safe chat making the experience a delightful one. The unique thing about Pokémon would be the mature players as, let’s just face it, no matter how young or old you are, you would have to be insane not to purchase and play this game and of course a lot of the oldies and experts would play this title…hopefully.
The residents that inhabit the in game world would be experienced, helpful and fun…well this does depends on whether or not the game is overrun by annoying twelve year olds or not, but expectantly it won’t be due to the large age-range that play it.
In most online RPGs which feature vast worlds, the storyline is normally rejected and thrown out into the trash for a nearby monkey to eat. This would not be the case with this title. The story would have to be vast and grand on scale, by not only following the tried and tested “gotta become a Pokémon master.
This would not be the case with this title. The story would have to be vast and grand on scale, by not only following the tried and tested “gotta become a Pokémon master” plot but also through the use of characterisation (for NPCs) by providing back stories, enhancing on each of their personalities and creating unique relationships. These could be done through the short, yet to the point, cutscenes that we have been so well used to in the game. Whilst the series has never been remembered for their enticing tales (apart from meeting “Red” in Gold and Silver, which was just awesome) this game very would be different in its addictive and rich story.
Every part of this title would have to have been polished to a fine sparkle in order to create not only the ultimate video game but the conclusive universe. With a few little features (like being able to turn your “Secret Base” into a hideout and using the “Underground Area” from Diamond and Pearl to reach secret areas and smuggle items) this title could easily take off and become one of the best MMOs to grace our world, if it was done properly.
So what are the chances of this game ever being produced? Well, you’ll have to wait for a long time. Nintendo (the company that owns the rights) have stated constantly that they’re not interested in online gaming, and of course this is apparent in their recent releases. A Pokémon MMORPG would sell by the bucket loads if it had no (or an incredibly small) monthly fee. In fact this is an understatement as the game would be a “must” purchase for any gaming fan. Ninty would only release such a game if they felt that they needed more revenue or were going bankrupt, with this game being one last successful final push; however the chances of this happening are incredibly low as Nintendo is indeed a vastly profitable company. To get to the point and answer the question at hand, it’ll be a long time coming.
 Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness were two 3D titles for the Gamecube which featured full blown RPG “Story Modes”. Whilst graphically amazing, the title’s lacked the general feel and style of the series. Due to the Pokémon series rather simplistic yet deep design I don’t think these titles translated the universe well into the pixal perfect world of 3D gaming.