It's been a little over two years since the fifth generation of the Pokémon series debuted with Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version, which first launched in Japan in September 2010 and followed in English in March 2011. Last week, we learnt of the sixth generation of the series, which will launch in October 2013 with Pokémon X and Pokémon Y , bringing an end to the second-shortest generation of games so far - the second generation (Gold and Silver) lasted just three years, and the fifth will only be a month longer.
Many Pokémon fans already have a pretty good idea of what they want from the new games - most will have already picked their starter Pokémon - and the ideas are as vivid as always, especially following the drastic changes seen in Pokémon Black, White, and to a lesser extent Black 2 and White 2. But what would make Pokémon X and Pokémon Y the best possible additions to the series? We take a look at our most wanted list for the highly anticipated sixth generation of Pokémon games.
More old Pokémon, fewer new Pokémon
We always enjoy seeing new Pokémon. Whenever you play through a new Pokémon game for the first time, one of the highlights is more than likely going to be the discovery of new Pokémon. Game Freak really went to town with Pokémon Black and White, creating a regional Pokédex filled exclusively with 156 all-new Pokémon - the most ever to be introduced in a single generation, taking the grand total to 649 Pokémon. It's partly for this reason we'd prefer to have fewer new Pokémon, since the current lot are only a couple of years old, but at the same time we feel spoilt by the 300-strong regional Pokédex in Black 2 and White 2.
Let's take a look at the returning Pokémon we saw in the trailer for Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, since - whether we're right or wrong - we're going to assume for now that they're going to be in the new regional Pokédex. They include Magikarp, Golurk, Munchlax, Kirlia, Pansear, Patrat, Pikachu, Litwick, Psyduck, Weavile, Audino, Mienfoo, Dratini, and by extension the rest of their evolution families as well. Some of our personal favourites are included in that list, and there are many others we'd like to see return. We know the total number of Pokémon will exceed 700 after this generation, and perhaps if the regional Pokédex featured around 200 Pokémon, it wouldn't hurt if just under half of those were new. We got 156 new Pokémon two years ago, so Game Freak could get away with adding a few less than usual this time.
SpotPass giveaways and StreetPass trades
Pokémon games have been lumbered with Mystery Gift since Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire launched back in 2002 (in Japan), and while the system was improved upon in the fifth generation of games by allowing more Wonder Cards to be stored at once, it still felt like the same old clunky system, as you needed to connect to Mystery Gift within a certain time frame in order to download any Pokémon or items that were being offered. Technology has moved on since then. Gone are the days of missing giveaways: now we can afford the luxury of automatic SpotPass downloads, meaning as long as you've got the game and SpotPass is turned on, your freebie Pokémon will automatically be downloaded whenever your Nintendo 3DS is online.
We also have a neat little idea for StreetPass functionality, which works much in the same way as the Global Trade Station or the old Union Rooms. Pick a Pokémon in your storage boxes to put up for trade, tell the system what you want in return, and if you StreetPass with someone who has that Pokémon, you get a copy of it in your storage boxes in place of the Pokémon you originally offered. It doesn't necessarily have to work both ways - for example, if you want to trade your Pikachu for a Growlithe and you StreetPass someone with a Growlithe, they'll get a nice surprise when they turn on the game to find a new Pikachu in their party. As a bonus, since they didn't initiate the trade, let them keep their Growlithe as well. StreetPass: giving you access to legal cloning methods since 2013.
Easy transfers from Nintendo DS games
It's 2007. All you want to do is transfer your Pokémon from your Game Boy Advance games to your shiny new Diamond or Pearl game card. Guess what? You can only transfer six Pokémon a day. And you have to find them again. And catch them again. Jump forward in time to 2011, and you want to transfer your Pokémon once again from Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver to your shiny new Black or White game. Surprise, surprise: you can only transfer six Pokémon at a time (though not per day, which is like receiving good news just as the axe is about to drop on your neck), and you have to catch them all again. Kind of. Look, Game Freak, we've got about 1200 Pokémon sprawled across half a dozen Nintendo DS games right now, can we just do a batch transfer and be done with it? And while you're at it, change that BLASTOISE to Blastoise. It's our favourite Pokémon and that uppercase name is driving us round the bend. Okay? Okay.
Upgrades to existing software? Blasphemy!
Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 were released alongside updates to existing products, as well as entirely new products for Nintendo 3DS. Pokédex 3D Pro and Pokémon Dream Radar were released on Nintendo eShop, while the Pokémon Global Link website was upgraded to feature more functionality for Black 2 and White 2 owners, including many updates to the Pokémon Dream World. We'd absolutely love it if Pokémon X and Pokémon Y were compatible with the Global Link and the Dream World, two excellent services for PC users who own Black, White, Black 2 or White 2. We'd also very much like to see an upgrade to Pokédex 3D Pro - it cost $14.99 and currently is only useful to Black 2 and White 2 owners (Black and White owners in some cases as well), so an upgrade for X and Y owners wouldn't go amiss.
A new app we'd like to see this generation is an external storage application á la Pokémon Box - this Nintendo eShop download would let you sort out your storage boxes in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, not to mention any future sixth generation titles (our money's on Ruby and Sapphire remakes in 2015). It could also be used as a transfer application for your Nintendo DS titles, letting you easily drag and drop from old boxes to the new storage system that's bound to appear in the new games. We don't want another My Pokémon Ranch - it ended up supporting only Diamond and Pearl, blanking Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver - we want a proper storage system like Pokémon Box, perhaps with some of the functionality from Pokémon Stadium, such as the ability to use items on stored Pokémon.
No more battle gimmicks
When double battles were introduced in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, they were great. It brought genuine improvements to the series, like competitive strategies between pairs of Pokémon, attacks that would affect or damage multiple Pokémon, and - in the latest two pairs of games - wild double battles. There were a few things about Black, White and their sequels we didn't like so much, though: triple battles seemed inevitable somehow, but weren't used particularly well and are often pretty underwhelming. Don't even get us started on rotation battles and combination attacks - they're just dumb. All we want from Pokémon X and Pokémon Y are impressive, thrilling battles. The Pokémon series doesn't need any more battle "techniques" that don't fit or make sense.
Bigger and better locations
With the power jump from Nintendo DS to Nintendo 3DS and the extra space held in the game cards, the development team can afford to do much more in terms of space and attention to detail. Sinnoh and Unova are two fantastically large regions and both give you tons to do, including finding a bunch of hard-to-get stuff. It'd be wonderful to see the games feature at least one massive city - something that'd make Castelia look puny - and a huge area to explore, like a desert or a forest. With hidden moves like Surf, Waterfall and Rock Smash more than likely to appear in the games, we'd love the developers to incorporate an area you'd need to visit multiple times, with more parts becoming accessible the further you progress through the game. On the flipside, we'd also really like to see more smaller towns and villages - it'd be great to go to these little locations and find two or three interesting people or useful items. Smaller areas could even play home to some rarer Pokémon you'd otherwise have trouble finding in the wild.
Rematches are berry good ideas
During the Pokémon series' Game Boy Advance days, a few different features were included in the games which had their fair share of fans. Berries were completely overhauled, with more than forty different Berries being offered and the ability to use, plant and grow them a popular addition. This hasn't been used to much in the DS games - though Berries are a vital part of Dream World gameplay - and we'd really like to see them go back to basics in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, so that we can pick and plant them once again.
We also miss random rematches - in FireRed and LeafGreen, these were served by the VS Seeker, and by the PokéNav's Match Call feature in Emerald - allowing you to battle trainers multiple times. We'd like to see one or both of these make a comeback: Match Call let trainers call you to set up a rematch, then made a note of those you were still to battle again, so this could potentially be used for more important rematches, perhaps with Gym Leaders or other notable characters. VS Seeker allowed for more random rematches, letting you know who in the immediate area wanted to battle, so we'd be more than happy if this returned in its original guise.
Pokémon X and Pokémon Y are around seven months away from release. There'll be plenty of news to digest in that time, including regular Japanese magazine scoops, a potential increase in international news, and possibly even a visit to E3 2013 for the pair. We've still to learn about all the new Pokémon, the story, new gameplay features, and much more. Let's not pretend this is just going to be another new Pokémon game, since it's already pretty clear that this is shaping up to be the biggest shake-up since Ruby and Sapphire launched in 2003 - and we can't wait.