Feature: Pokémon X & Y - What We Know So Far
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Earlier this week, through an aptly titled Pokémon Direct, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata brought the news that Pokémon fans had been waiting for; a new generation main-series entry on the system. Pokémon X & Y will — like its predecessors — be released in two separate flavours, but with the developers choosing letters as opposed to colours this time around.
There was a glut of news and speculation in the immediate aftermath of the announcement, some of which we covered and some that we didn't; with the initial burst of press releases and hype over, let's summarise what we know — and think we know — so far about the new entry that'll have 'mon gracing our 3DS systems in 2013.
To start with, Nintendo and developer Game Freak have been working to ensure that Satoru Iwata was able to announce a worldwide launch this October. While we're used to Japan getting these titles first while the West waits for localisation, this time around we can all expect to receive the game at the same time, or at the current worst-case scenario within the same month.
That's welcome news, and the Nintendo Direct broadcast stated that we should expect the various capabilities of the 3DS to be put to work. Considering the fact that the history of the series incorporates plenty of trading and online activity, both within the game and via web portal services, we should anticipate that the Wi-Fi, StreetPass and SpotPass functions on 3DS should all make an appearance. Add to that the comments from J.C. Smith, the director of consumer marketing for the Pokémon company international, on why the series is kept portable — "Game Freak has always loved the game to be on a portable device because of the communication, trading, and the experience of taking this adventure with you."
That focus looks set to involve some new ideas, with The Pokémon Company's president, Tsunekazu Ishihara, saying the following about a concept described as "Real Play":
People around the world will be able to simultaneously experience 'Real Play'. The game uses an innovative communication system that makes it feel as if you are playing with other players around the world.
The use of wording as if suggests that the online activity and communication may happen when you're not in game, but suggests that other players may drop into your game world. We believe the suggestion from Eurogamer that this will be a system similar to that used for the plaza in Nintendo Land seems likely. It could breath new life and immediacy into trading and communication mechanics.
So, what about the actual Pokémon? Pictured above are the three new starters. Bear in mind these descriptions are based on appearance guesswork — the cheeky chipmunk with the green fur is grass-type Chespin, the mini-fox creature with orange fur in the ears is fire-type Fennekin, while the wise-looking frog creature is water-type Froakie. Community opinion on these is certainly varied, but hopefully they will grow on those who are less keen.
Two wonderful Legendary creatures have also been unveiled, pictured below.
This appears to be our Y legendary creature, phonetic spelling ee-VELL-tawl.
More than likely our X legendary mascot, less obvious in appearance to its letter but, nevertheless, the antlers follow the logo's pattern — phonetic spelling ZURR-nee-us.
Meanwhile, according to ONM, the following old Pokémon are slated for a return.
Comments from Japanese sources state, meanwhile, that at least 50 new 'mon are expected to appear in the game.
The most drastic change, appropriately with a switch to more powerful hardware, is the new title's shift to 3D environments. The footage at the end of this article gives a good idea of some of the graphical touches and locations, as well as more diverse and fluid character movements, while the trailer strongly suggests that an urban region inspired by Paris is on the cards — footage of an Eiffel Tower-type structure suggests that.
3D is of course being utilised for a dynamic battle camera, which is shown in some flashy excerpts in the reveal trailer, while it's been emphasised that "the more you battle together, the stronger you'll become", so dual battles and perhaps more are sure to be included. The brief footage also shows a forest-type area, what looks like a fire temple and also a desert expanse with ominous domes in the distance.
Then we have the trainers themselves. Footage of the male trainer staring at a mirror has prompted speculation of character customisation, but that's pure guesswork at this stage. We have seen both male and female protagonists, however, and J.C. Smith has confirmed that, at the very least, you'll have a choice of gender.
So that's a summary of the early news and some of the speculation around Pokémon X & Y; you can watch the full Nintendo Direct broadcast or just the 90 second trailer below. If you feel we've missed anything obvious let us know in the comments section below, as we'll update this article over the next few days to be as extensive as possible. In the meantime, wild speculation is also welcome.