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I Don’t Choose You, Pikachu!

24 March 2009 Leave a comment
Don't keep your Pokemon in Pokeballs too long!

Don't keep your Pokémon in Poké Balls too long!

The InnerWebs were abuzz yesterday with news that there was not going to be neither an online nor massively multiplayer version of Pokémon. In an interview with What They Play, series director Junichi Masuda said:

“At this point, we’re not thinking of going in that direction. Trading is a core concept of Pokémon. So when you’re trading, you meet with a friend and decide which one you want and which one they want. I would like to emphasize real-world communication. You don’t see each other online.”

The interview comes on the heals of the newest Pokémon Nintendo DS release Pokémon Platinum. Where Diamond/Pearl, the last set of Pokéemon games to be released, was suppossed to be the “ultimate” Pokémon game, Masuda calls Platinum the “evolved version of Diamond and Pearl […] it is more like a sibling.” Regular Pokémon players, of course, will know that Platinum will play just like all the others, with tweaks here and there further perfecting the famed franchise formula. Which is why I, too, must play Platinum. I never actually catch all of the Pokémon, but I do seem to catch all of the games.

I can actually visualize an online version of Pokémon. Perhaps a Magic the Pokémon Online, where players trade and battle with their virtual-life Pokécard Pokédecks. Collect ’em All Online could be a new revenue stream in the ever-growing tide of Poképroducts. 40-year old overweight American male Pokéfreaks can battle royal with 7-year old Japanese female Pokédaemonesses while a/s/l’ing some sting cop at the local precinct. I think this could really work!

But would a Pokémon Online MMO? Are there enough IP elements to actually sustain that type of game for the long run? Certainly there is the element of collection, a huge component in MMO gaming. Entire skill trees can be designed around the myriad abbilities and moves. Leveling is a key element for many MMOs, and certainly a key element of Pokémon, especially when it comes to Pokévolution. Player-versus-player and Player-versus-environment (either via grass battles or trainers), role-playing, adventure, discovery… yes, I do think a Pokémon MMO would have some potential. Players could mix and match their Poké Ball-held Pokémon, perhaps create their own new creatures through mating at the, uh, perverted nursery that I would probably design into this game.

The more I think about it, the more I can see Pokémon Online as a doable product, and the more I wish they’d reconsider. I am almost 40, you know.

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Categories: handheld, MMO Tags: , ,