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Pokemon feels like the game series with the single most wasted potential of all time

Doctor Avatar

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Jan 10, 2019
723
The utter lack of any kind of advancement or innovation in the series over 20 years is utterly staggering. The games are basically exactly the same as red and blue but with a few bells and whistles, better graphics and more pokemon.

The most stagnant series in gaming. And as OP says, also one of the ones with the most potential.
 

Veelk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,973
What I'm surprised with is that no developer ever bothered to copy Pokemon's formula and just do more with it. Have all the features that Gamefreak has been waffling on and just go places nintendo is unlikely to go.
 
An Open World isn't needed
OP
OP
Revolsin

Revolsin

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I wasn't really referring to it becoming open world honestly. There's enough of those out there.

There is, however, a gigantic field between what Pokemon is right now and an open world game, and a ton inbetween.

Something I'd realistically expect is Xenoblade Chronicles 2 level stuff. I doubt that game even got an especially notable budget given XCX barely sold a million if that, and yet it single-handedly completely overshadows the scope of any Pokemon game by a huge margin, just by having open fields and large towns.
 

Doctor Avatar

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Jan 10, 2019
723
This isn't true at all. Like at all.
I mean you could demake sun and moon to 8 bit graphics and throw it on the original gameboy and it wouldn't be that different than red and blue at all. What are all these amazing gameplay innovations that have evolved the game?

They look better, they have a few QOL improvements and gimmicks (eg dual battles) thrown in. That's pretty much it. In 20 years.
 

jts

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Oct 26, 2017
3,018
*something carefully crafted over a few decades into one of the biggest franchises ever*

Oh but I could make it so much bigger.
 

Kathartic

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Mar 4, 2019
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A game series with countless sales and a true global cultural phenomenon is not something of a wasted potential.
 

luulubuu

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Oct 25, 2017
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I mean you could demake sun and moon to 8 but graphics and throw it on the original gameboy and it wouldn't be that different than red and blue at all. What are all these amazing gameplay innovations that have evolved the game?
I mean, for how you wrote this message you seem like you haven't played any of them since maybe Gen 3? And by then there was a really leap in depth for most of the systems such as battles, breeding, stats and evolution so why don't go out and play some of the most recent releases, you will very surprised
 

bye

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,846
Phoenix, AZ
This is your answer OP. People would rather argue 15 year old spinoffs is doing enough than actually face criticism of the games and accept their stagnation and unwillingness to do better.
 

Chibs

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Nov 5, 2017
1,342
Well, I actually can't disagree with this. They always seem to go back to the basic formula even if they try something new from time to time.
 

luulubuu

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This is your answer OP. People would rather argue 15 year old spinoffs is doing enough than actually face criticism of the games and accept their stagnation and unwillingness to do better.
Or maybe not every franchise has to dwell into the same paradigms as the entire industry, I mean I would love more detailed background, a more fleshed out story and characters and a more vibrant world. But we are getting there, I think!
 

Serebii

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Oct 24, 2017
6,643
Every new game comes out every few years and I'm disappointed yet again that such a gigantic IP is stuck with what seems like an indie dev. Not to say that on the quality end as indies are amazing, but on the scope and budget end.

Every new game feels like it was made on a tight as hell budget, with corners cut constantly in terms of features(where did following pokemon go? where did the post-game go?) and general size(we still only have tiny ass areas covered with fences) and even optimization(DS games had slowing despite being half 2D, 3DS games had MASSIVE slowdown, Switch games looking to follow suit)

This is the one of the, if not the biggest IP in history making record profits every single year, and yet its biggest contributor, the games, feel like they're given the shaft.

People accept this stagnant quality, citing "They sell great so what's the problem again". But the thing is, they absolutely could be selling a shit ton better. Pokemon is such a huge brand with so much damn marketing the shittiest of games could 'maintain' the sales it has.

I just wanna see change, people. I want Nintendo or any big developer to step in and actually make this series as huge as it deserves to be.
Sun & Moon provided big changes to the formula (which people then break down and dismiss)

What would you call "missed potential"? The fact it's still turn-based?

Also I didn't realise you played Sword & Shield to be making such statements.

Like I have said, people were going to be pissed that the main generation 8 would be a Pokémon game
 

Asuka3+1

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Feb 6, 2019
491
on 1 hand, "If it isnt broken, dont fix it". at the end of the day, Pokemon staying true to its core with just some minimal changes, have worked. so GF sees no reason to try some drastic change that might just blew on their faces.

on the other, its fu**ing game freak, they are a rather meh dev team if you ask me, Iwata had to bail out the clusterfuck that was Gold and Silver. X and Y transition to 3D game use single frame FPS on a TURN BASE GAME. etc etc etc. and there is nothing to do about cause unless a meteor strikes the studio, they have the right for main RPG Pokemon games.

all the spin off games are the testing grounds for what you want, different formulas/ styles/ gimmick, but non has yet being able to outshine the tru and tested Pokemon.
 

Serebii

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Oct 24, 2017
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Or maybe not every franchise has to dwell into the same paradigms as the entire industry, I mean I would love more detailed background, a more fleshed out story and characters and a more vibrant world. But we are getting there, I think!
We absolutely are :)
 

coconut milk

Member
Jan 17, 2018
3,233
I wasn't really referring to it becoming open world honestly. There's enough of those out there.

There is, however, a gigantic field between what Pokemon is right now and an open world game, and a ton inbetween.

Something I'd realistically expect is Xenoblade Chronicles 2 level stuff. I doubt that game even got an especially notable budget given XCX barely sold a million if that, and yet it single-handedly completely overshadows the scope of any Pokemon game by a huge margin, just by having open fields and large towns.
100% agree

The kicker is that the scope and design of these games have regressed
 

Karonoth

Member
Nov 10, 2018
1,210
The main series is probably the most stale series in the gaming industry. It's the same thing over and over again with a new coat of paint and some very minor changes that will probably be removed in the next entry anyway.

I'm so glad I don't get hyped anymore these days, I can save myself from the constant disappointment.
 

doop_

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
1,005
I think the major issue the series needs to solve is how slow everything is. I really hope they take a page out of Xeno2 and map move select to the dpad.
 

Doctor Avatar

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Jan 10, 2019
723
I mean, for how you wrote this message you seem like you haven't played any of them since maybe Gen 3? And by then there was a really leap in depth for most of the systems such as battles, breeding, stats and evolution so why don't go out and play some of the most recent releases, you will very surprised
Breeding is a huge core gameplay evolution now? As far as I am concerned those sort of things easily fall into QOL improvements and gimmicks. They're also things you can easily complete the game without even touching or considering, I played Black through to completion without breeding any pokemon.

Things that do not affect core gameplay, that can be easily ignored, have minimal impact except for the most hardcore of hardcore are not things that I would consider anything other than gimmicks. The fact such small ancillary gimmicks are all you have to bring up just proves my point re: lack of innovation or evolution of the franchise.

Compared to pretty much any other gaming franchise Pokemon is completely and utterly stagnant.

The main series is probably the most stale series in the gaming industry. It's the same thing over and over again with a new coat of paint and some very minor changes that will probably be removed in the next entry anyway.
Yep.
 

dimasok

Banned
Sep 9, 2018
567
PK would sell even if they take years with an experimental new game that deviates from the established formula.

Problem is that GF are too conservative for their own good and I fully expect the PK formula to never change unless people in GF start massively retiring and/or dying off and the replacements (and perhaps studio expansion too) will lead to an influx of new ideas and expanded scope.

However please dont make it like Digimon World Next Order.
 

Glio

Member
Oct 27, 2017
8,656
Spain
These threads are always ridiculous and full of hyperboles. This is not different.

No, Game Freak has managed the ip in an exemplary manner. It may not be what a few of you want, but what tens of millions of people want. Bigger is not better.
 

lvl 99 Pixel

Member
Oct 25, 2017
16,585
The games would benefit from better graphics, better writers and all the QOL features they keep introducing then removing. Graphically the new game is lacking a bit but its too early to know much of anything about the story or gameplay. If the games weren't so frequent and had longer development cycles more like the other big IP it would be more surprising.
 

Metallia

Member
May 31, 2018
323
People like to say they're lazy or lack scope, but I think it's more that they have a lot of traditions to uphold and very little reason to change central features. When you have over 800 possible party members in a JRPG, it requires a hell of a lot of scope inherently, and they can't just remove those either, nor does anyone want them to. If you want innovation in gameplay or presentation then I'm sorry but Pokemon mainline games are not for you and are not intended to be for you. They're intended to deliver a continuing and relatively consistent experience for the many people who love them.

Additionally, a series like this is inevitably going to be subject to feature creep and it would be functionally impossible for them to maintain every new feature, while also including new features in every game. I'm sure I'll get called an apologist for this, but the fact of the matter is people love these games, they don't need to "change", and it is inevitable that not all features will be included forever.

I'm by no means saying you can't be disappointed, I have my own issues with Pokemon games old and new, but to say the lack scope is utterly absurd.
 

Jakisthe

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,458
Pretty much. I've never seen a series so stagnant - which isn't to say it hasn't changed at all, but can anyone else point to any other franchise equally old which has changed less? I can't.

People also seem to be missing the point entirely by saying "but they still sell!". Like, yeah, they do; OP was referring to how much *more* it could sell if it didn't just make incredibly marginal changes every installment.
 

steviejd1

Member
Nov 8, 2017
7,443
People also seem to be missing the point entirely by saying "but they still sell!". Like, yeah, they do; OP was referring to how much *more* it could sell if it didn't just make incredibly marginal changes every installment.
There's no proof that changing the formula would lead to more sales.
 

luulubuu

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Oct 25, 2017
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We absolutely are :)
Really excited to see Galar, knowing that the series were designed as escapism from urbanism, and seeing how present is the industry on the region I wonder how it will be presented in games

People like to say they're lazy or lack scope, but I think it's more that they have a lot of traditions to uphold and very little reason to change central features. When you have over 800 possible party members in a JRPG, it requires a hell of a lot of scope inherently, and they can't just remove those either, nor does anyone want them to. If you want innovation in gameplay or presentation then I'm sorry but Pokemon mainline games are not for you and are not intended to be for you. They're intended to deliver a continuing and relatively consistent experience for the many people who love them.

Additionally, a series like this is inevitably going to be subject to feature creep and it would be functionally impossible for them to maintain every new feature, while also including new features in every game. I'm sure I'll get called an apologist for this, but the fact of the matter is people love these games, they don't need to "change", and it is inevitable that not all features will be included forever.

I'm by no means saying you can't be disappointed, I have my own issues with Pokemon games old and new, but to say the lack scope is utterly absurd.
Pretty much this, while I have my issues with the franchise, I have to say they sure have managed to maintain it over the years, lots of other copycats have tried doing the same and none have succeeded in doing so.
 

Papertoonz

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,255
I have said this before but game freak aren't lazy, they are efficient. The main line pokemon games lead the franchise and if game freak were to stop putting new ones out to focus on a later installment that would cause a huge dent in the rest of the franchise

they simply just can't stop so they work within there limits to the best, sure there are some design decision i don't agree with but i would call them a lazy or anything of the sort
 
OP
OP
Revolsin

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but what tens of millions of people want.
This isn't even true though is it.

I've seen the public at large absolutely salivating at the sheer concept of a even slightly bigger Pokemon game. That crappy UE4 thing had millions of fans going crazy for it.

These "tens of millions" aren't going to give up on the series just cause it decided to increase its scope, dare say it could actually invite many new players who see this kind of thing as a dream game.
 

Jakisthe

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,458
There's no proof that changing the formula would lead to more sales.
And there's no proof it wouldn't, but "making that one game which people have really been dreaming of for decades now" certainly seems more of a winning proposition than "let's make incremental changes". So why haven't they done it? They're probably fine with what it is now, and just letting it be evergreen as opposed to really going all out. Which is kinda lame, and the point of this topic.
 

Nitpicker_Red

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Nov 3, 2017
1,115
Breeding is a huge core gameplay evolution now? As far as I am concerned those sort of things easily fall into QOL improvements and gimmicks. They're also things you can easily complete the game without even touching or considering, I played Black through to completion without breeding any pokemon.

Things that do not affect core gameplay, that can be easily ignored, have minimal impact except for the most hardcore of hardcore are not things that I would consider anything other than gimmicks. The fact such small ancillary gimmicks are all you have to bring up just proves my point re: lack of innovation or evolution of the franchise.

Compared to pretty much any other gaming franchise Pokemon is completely and utterly stagnant.



Yep.
Excuse me for assuming but beating the Elite Four is far from "Completion", if the term still means what it means.

Breeding (gen 2) introduced genders, which is a mechanic that's also used in some (pre)evolutions and how some attacks work.
(Nidoran♂ and Nidoran♀ from gen 1 were outright separate species, they predate the system.)
Breeding is also the reason you can easily find trade for starters and rare non-legendary online, so even if you didn't breed Pokémon yourself to fill your Pokédex, the person you traded with did.

(Edit: the person you answered to seems to meant more in-depth and recent changes to breeding though. I'm not aware of those, the shiny manipulation trick maybe?)

I doubt you can really "ignore" new mechanics (abilities, multi-fights, mega-evolutions, z-moves) when they are outright used against you in combat during the story. But you can overlook them due to the low difficulty and the freedom of chosing your own tactics, alright. Like you can beat the game without ever using a potion, or without catching Legendaries.
 
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luulubuu

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This isn't even true though is it.

I've seen the public at large absolutely salivating at the sheer concept of a even slightly bigger Pokemon game. That crappy UE4 thing had millions of fans going crazy for it.

These "tens of millions" aren't going to give up on the damn series just cause it decided to increase its scope, dare say it could actually invite many new players who see this kind of thing as a dream game.
Isn't BOTW, a disruptive game in a conservative franchise, a very divisive game in the fanbase? I could totally see something like this being even more divisive.
 

lvl 99 Pixel

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Oct 25, 2017
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I refuse to believe that anyone who was going crazy for that shitty UE4 thing even plays these games nor do they represent the public at large
 

Dreamboum

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Oct 28, 2017
15,646
Move away from Pokémon if that is the case. The series has indicated where it wanted to go decades ago. I don't care for the games since Silver and I'm not losing sleep over not being the audience anymore.

If the big contentious point is graphics, then close the door because your dream will be a fleeting one.
 

Doctor Avatar

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Jan 10, 2019
723
Sun & Moon provided big changes to the formula (which people then break down and dismiss)
No offence, but you clearly aren't exactly an unbiased source on this issue. What you call "big changes to the formula" would most certainly not be considered to be so to the average gamer.

God of War 3 to God of War PS4, Skyward Sword to Breath of the Wild etc are a "big change to the formula". In fact you would be hard pressed to identify a single series that has evolved less over twenty years than Pokemon. Most evolve more between sequels than Pokemon has in its entire history - especially in equivalent RPG genres. Just look how different each final fantasy is from one to the next with completely new battle mechanics, levelling systems etc etc. We can argue as to the relative success of each iteration, but at least they try to innovate and push the genre forward. Imagine every FF game had pretty much the exact same battle system, exact same story, exact same levelling system just more characters and a new lick of paint each time.

What would you call "missed potential"? The fact it's still turn-based?
The pokemon games aren't awful or anything. But they're pretty stale, samey and have so much unexplored potential. Imagine there was a FF style reimagining each generation, with vastly different battle mechanics, vastly different story, vastly different levelling mechanics etc each gen. They are without a doubt the most conservatively designed games in the industry.
 

dimasok

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Sep 9, 2018
567
No offence, but you clearly aren't exactly an unbiased source on this issue. What you call "big changes to the formula" would most certainly not be considered to be so to the average gamer.

God of War 3 to God of War PS4, Skyward Sword to Breath of the Wild etc are a "big change to the formula". In fact you would be hard pressed to identify a single series that has evolved less over twenty years than Pokemon. Most evolve more between sequels than Pokemon has in its entire history - especially in equivalent RPG genres. Just look how different each final fantasy is from one to the next with completely new battle mechanics, levelling systems etc etc. We can argue as to the relative success of each iteration, but at least they try to innovate and push the genre forward. Imagine every FF game had pretty much the exact same battle system, exact same story, exact same levelling system just more characters and a new lick of paint each time.



The pokemon games aren't awful or anything. But they're pretty stale, samey and have so much unexplored potential. Imagine there was a FF style reimagining each generation, with vastly different battle mechanics, vastly different story, vastly different levelling mechanics etc each gen. They are without a doubt the most conservatively designed games in the industry.
This
 

luulubuu

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No offence, but you clearly aren't exactly an unbiased source on this issue. What you call "big changes to the formula" would most certainly not be considered to be so to the average gamer.

God of War 3 to God of War PS4, Skyward Sword to Breath of the Wild etc are a "big change to the formula". In fact you would be hard pressed to identify a single series that has evolved less over twenty years than Pokemon. Most evolve more between sequels than Pokemon has in its entire history - especially in equivalent RPG genres. Just look how different each final fantasy is from one to the next with completely new battle mechanics, levelling systems etc etc. We can argue as to the relative success of each iteration, but at least they try to innovate and push the genre forward. Imagine every FF game had pretty much the exact same battle system, exact same story, exact same levelling system just more characters and a new lick of paint each time.
.
Final Fantasy is designed to be the experimental JRPG so not really an example. Kingdom Hearts is largely the same game with improvements and QOLs and nobody is really complaining about them, neither Dragon Quest. It seems like lots of people just want something that the franchise was never aiming for and they set themselves for disappointment.
 

GeekyDad

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Nov 11, 2017
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...Every new game feels like it was made on a tight as hell budget, with corners cut constantly...
Wait, what? You're referring strictly to offshoot games, right? Because the mainline games have always been some of the most beautiful, feature-rich games on their respective systems.

Granted, yeah, in terms of what a mainline Pokemon game is, not much has changed, but it seems clear that's intentional and having nothing to do with skimping. Personally, I think it's a smart way to approach the series. New generations of kids want to experience the Pokemon craze, and keeping the core generally the same makes sense.

But those games have never been shoestring.
 

acheron_xl

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Oct 27, 2017
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Complaining that a game failed to grow with you ignores that maybe you're not the primary intended target now. How much feature creep do you want in a game that I think is aimed at younger players?
 
OP
OP
Revolsin

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Isn't BOTW, a disruptive game in a conservative franchise, a very divisive game in the fanbase?
.....No..? I'd actually say it's the single most widely accepted to be great game the series has ever seen. Any new poll with it in it, it wins by a landslide every time. The praise for it simply never stopped.

The Zelda cycle, the cycle of hating on a new Zelda a bit after it came out, actually broke outright with BotW.

That also happens to be the game that took the series from 3-4 million in the last entry of Skyward Sword(which was very conservative), to a franchise record destroying 10+ million sales.
 

Doctor Avatar

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Jan 10, 2019
723
Beating the Elite Four is far from "Completion", if the term still means what it means.
For most gamers that is exactly what it means. Beating the elite four and catching some of the legendaries is what Pokemon is for the vast majority of players.

Breeding (gen 2) introduced genders, which is a mechanic that's also used in some (pre)evolutions and how some attacks work.
(Nidoran♂ and Nidoran♀ from gen 1 were outright separate species, they predate the system.)
Breeding is also the reason you can easily find trade for starters and rare non-legendary online, so even if you didn't breed Pokémon yourself to fill your Pokédex, the person you traded with did.
Again, you consider this some huge revolutionary change to the core gameplay? You can complete the entire game without touching it once. It's a nice gimmick for hardcore fans who absolutely must grind out their entire pokedex, and that's about it. Again, not really a big deal for the vast majority of players who will play the game by collecting pokemon casually, beating the elite four, trying to get some legendaries and then drop it.

I doubt you can "ignore" new mechanics (abilities, multi-fights, mega-evolutions, z-moves) when they are outright used against you in combat during the story. You can overlook them due to the low difficulty and the freedom of chosing your own tactics, alright. Like you can beat the game without ever using a potion.
So the argument is that these very minor game play evolutions (over 20 years) that you can also completely not engage in and ignore are somehow huge revolutions because...?

The defenders in this thread are hardcore Pokemon addicts for whom every minor and optional gimmick is some earth shattering innovation. What you guys need to realise is that you are not the majority or even close to the majority of players. Very few normal gamers would consider the things you are trying to push as big gameplay innovations anything significant at all, especially over a 20 year timespan.

For the average player the experience has hardly changed in 20 years.
 

luulubuu

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.....No..? I'd actually say it's the single most widely accepted to be great game the series has ever seen. Any new poll with it in it, it wins by a landslide every time. The praise for it simply never stopped.

The Zelda cycle, the cycle of hating on a new Zelda a bit after it came out, actually broke outright with BotW.

That also happens to be the game that took the series from 3-4 million in the last entry of Skyward Sword(which was very conservative), to a franchise record destroying 10+ million.
Far from being true from my perspective. Every person I see playing it either hates it or loves it. Maybe is different here, but for what I have seen? Most divisive entry since Wind Waker. Glad to see such a great game to have the love it deserves, though.

Sure...

So nothing was said about breakable weapons or lack of variety of enemies or lack of dungeons? Nice revisionism.
Yeah? It seems weird. Breakable weapons, no dungeons, etc. is what I have heard the most about this game. Like by far.
 

Rosebud

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Apr 16, 2018
6,780
Agreed. I don't understand why the budget always seems so low, they sell so much more than Xenoblade and Yo-Kai Watch.

I really don't care about the visual, it's good to me, but random encounters is an ancient JRPG mechanic...