What I’d want from a Pokemon Open World Game

In light of a lot of recent things combined with the fact that Pokemon Legends: Arceus really didn’t jive with me as much as it did for others (at least partially due to me not being a fan of Monster Hunter or the Survival genre), it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. Despite attempts at more Open World with the Wild Areas in Sword/Shield and Pokemon Scarlet/Violet as a whole, I think most people agree that it’s still been rather lacking.

I’ve mentioned before how my dream Pokemon game would be a kind of Pokemon MMO where you could travel around (and do an entire journey) with your friends with instanced story parts and being able to travel every region. A lot of that is still true, though, maybe more just being able to share a map with friends and any other players could be more like how they are in Super Mario Wonder– seeing some other trainers around and maybe being able to place signs for tips and secrets. I just think there’s a lot they could work with at this point, especially seeing how they did experiment with Open World in the Pokemon series twice now.

  • No Survival-based mechanics, or at least make it optional. Look, if you could truly die in Pokemon, there is a lot of reasons we should and Ash would have died so many more times in the Anime than the small amount he does. I think if they did still want to include it, it should be an optional thing (maybe even chosen per character over a whole world rule) if Nintendo actually put in difficulty levels, but if not, I just don’t think it’s enjoyable. It’s part of what made PLA really unfun for me because I couldn’t actually enjoy all the Pokemon around because I was too busy running for my life. I’m also just… awful at dodging. I think anything related to food should just be buff-related, whether for yourself and/or your Pokemon, kind of like how curry and sandwiches work. Similarly, feeding and taking care of your Pokemon may make them happier or again, add a buff thing, but it shouldn’t be a situation where Pokemon can actually get sick or starve or other issues.
  • Crafting should be optional. In general, while there is the whole Apricorn thing, there is no reason to not just… let people buy things if they’d prefer. Or as a compromise, once something is made once, they can buy it from then after if they prefer over crafting. Same for resource gathering.
  • A Standard Base and a Moveable Base (maybe multiple?). One of the things I really adored was the Secret Base in Gen 3. Gen 4’s version in the Underground was okay, but honestly, just didn’t feel as interesting. While we’ve gotten various “places” in other games, the customization was relatively light (IE: Earning trophies in Black/White, changing colors/some appearances of things in Sword/Shield and Scarlet/Violet with the Campsite and Picnic set-ups respectively). I think being able to have a main base, in whatever the starting town is, that you can expand and customize. Besides being able to decorate with various things (or even just switching out options/colors like wallpaper, rugs, certain decor items, etc.), maybe you can add on a ranch or a kitchen or a healing machine, etc. Similarly, bringing back the campsite from Gen 8, being able to add on and decorate inside your tent and stuff would be neat. There’s so much that can be done to really make things seem yours over a super bleak plain dorm room.
  • As mentioned above, be able to play with a group of friends, or at least one friend— all story stuff can still be instanced (so you see separate things and can make different choices), but maybe you can have your houses near each other and camp together and just travel around and camp together. It could be fun.
  • Be able to catch Pokemon without battling. I’m not saying you can’t still battle a Pokemon first (or maybe even weaken them without going into the usual turnbased battle), but it’d be nice to also have the option to just toss Pokeballs.
  • Different battling options. Besides the usual turn-based, taking a Pokken/Gen 9 Sync approach, it’d be nice to be able to take control of the Pokemon or like with auto battles, just with their actual attacks, being able to command them more loosely to weaken a Pokemon for catching as well. Not everything has to be the usual turn-based situation. Maybe even with like… Legendaries or taking on Team Rocket/trying to rescue Pokemon, being able to send out multiple Pokemon and/or work with friends/other players could be a lot of fun and add more variety to it all.
  • Multiple Jobs. I’m kind of taking a page out of Fantasy Life here, but with Gen 9 even bringing up the whole “finding your treasure” and giving you different routes to go even if you had to do them all anyway, I think it’d be a nice feature to have. Not to mention that we’ve been shown SO MANY different jobs in Pokemon: Trainer/Champion, Chef (Whether a Cafe or Restaurant), Breeder, Farmer, Professor/Researcher, Photographer/Artist, Ranger… and that’s just naming a few off the top of my head. I think this could add a lot more variety to what you can do in the game while also letting people who maybe prefer the Pokemon side games to get some enjoyment from a main series as well. And yes, I still want a proper Cafe game for Cafe Mix, okay?!
  • Bring in everything. Even if my hope for multiple regions still ends up falling flat, there’s been so many battle gimmicks and interesting characters among other things that I just would like to see everything brought in over the newest battle gimmick of the generation. I’m so tired of new gimmicks when so much has already been implemented at this point. I also don’t want to see Pokemon get left out again. I don’t care if the game needs more time (and honestly, it should, the 2-year schedule for Pokemon has not done it much good IMO), I’m happy to wait as long as it takes, and I hope it would take all the time it needs, so that we can have a game that lets every Pokemon show their personality and more.
  • Let Pokemon do more. In a kind of expansion of the multiple jobs, we see Pokemon constantly help with things in the Anime and with various NPCs in the games. The closest we got was with the HM system (and its respective replacements), but it would be great if Pokemon could like… help at camp or home and even with puzzles and various things out in the world just for the kind of Pokemon they are. Just more aspects to explore the world.

Obviously, I’m not really going into better character customization because I’d like to think it goes without saying, but if not for the love of God please give us better character customization. In general, I just think there is such a premise for this kind of thing and I really hope TPC will consider expanding more into the Open World without it going fully into the Survival-Crafting genre when it doesn’t actually need to.