When The Pokémon Company announced Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire for the 3DS, franchise fans young and old lost a great degree of composure. It's no surprise that a remake is coming to Nintendo's current portable but it's come rapidly after X & Y, while its reveal was sudden and through a press release. A global release this November and an absence of juicy detail has certainly got gamers talking.
Just recently, then, three 'mon fans from the Nintendo Life team sat down to chat about their hopes and dreams for these remakes — Katy Ellis, Andrews Karklins and Conor McMahon get into details and predictions both realistic and fantastical. When it comes to Pokémon, there's a lot to discuss.
Thomas Whitehead: Alrighty, can you all introduce yourselves? It has to reference Pokémon though, just because...
Andrew Karklins: Andrew here. All aboard the hype train for ORAS!
Conor McMahon: Hey everyone, I'm Conor and my life's ambition is to move in with Gengar and his ghostly buddies to watch TV.
Katy Ellis: I'm Katy, the Events girl here and I still refuse to evolve my Lvl 80 Pansear (it's just too cute!).
Tom: Awesome. Before we speculate wildly about the new games, maybe you guys can chat about your memories and experiences with the original Ruby or Sapphire on GBA?
Katy: I've played Pokemon since the Red/Blue Days, but Ruby & Sapphire always sticks in my mind as one of the most aesthetically beautiful Pokemon games. And I still miss Secret Bases!
Conor: Sure thing. I suppose I should start off by mentioning that I was all about Ruby. I usually base my 'colour' choices off of the associated legendary, and I think Groudon was a total beast.
Andrew: My biggest memory with the game was when I was in elementary school, I remember riding on the bus and my neighbour, who was a couple of years older than me, had a copy of Ruby. I always used to look over his shoulder and wanted to know everything about it.
Conor: Did you end up going for Ruby or Sapphire then, Andrew?
Andrew: I have both now, but I got Sapphire when I was younger. I wanted to have access to all the different Pokémon and trade between the two.
Katy: I went for Ruby first, then Sapphire.
Andrew: And Kyogre looked pretty awesome.
Conor: I always wanted to do that as well, but my pocket money only took me so far! I started with Red and Blue, and never really got into trading until the glory of wireless connectivity came into the picture later on.
Andrew: It was a pain with the GBA, but the satisfaction of having a Pokémon not available in your version was something special.
Conor: Oh absolutely. I had the trading cable but rarely used it. But I agree with Katy, the aesthetic really made it stand out and I think the jump to GBA made it seem all the more exciting.
Andrew: The art design of Ruby/Sapphire was great. But the music though, that was something special.
Katy: Sapphire had Lotad, Sableye, Seviper & Latias who were pretty cool.
Conor: The whole region had a sort of continental Europe feel to it in my eyes, with Sootopolis city bringing Greece to mind, for example.
The art design of Ruby/Sapphire was great. But the music though, that was something special.
Tom: Where do the originals stand, for all of you, in terms of your franchise favourites so far?
Conor: Gold & Silver will always be my absolute favourites. I played Gold constantly and my excitement for the remake there was absolutely through the roof.
Andrew: Personally, my favourite Pokemon game of all time is Diamond. It was the first real Pokémon game that I was invested into and got me hooked. But besides that, I'd rank Ruby/Sapphire as a close second.
Katy: I'm with Conor, Gold & Silver were my favourites, but Ruby & Sapphire probably come a very close 2nd because, well, Mudkip.
Tom: With the remakes announced. What are your thoughts on the news? What changes do you expect, with the whole "remake" and "new world" comments clashing from Pokemon Company / Satoru Iwata.
Andrew: Since there has not been any confirmation of it being implemented, I'm hoping the over world will be quite similar to XY (the three-dimensional environments and diagonal movement).
Conor: I hope so too, Andrew. Surely they will, as anything else would seem like a massive step backwards at this point.
Katy: It could possibly be based in Hoenn but introduce some new locations, like for example how Fire Red / Leaf Green added the Sevii Islands.
Conor: Do you think that it needs the extra content to keep things interesting? My time with HeartGold was fun while it lasted, but I never even finished it as it felt just a bit too familiar.
Not to say there was a lack of new content there, maybe I had just played the original too much.
Katy: I can't wait to see Meteor Falls & one of my most favourite Pokemon towns Lavaridge in 3D if that is the case!
HG/SS came bundled with those Pokewalkers which were a cool addition, but I agree sometimes a little more is needed to keep those who may have played the originals to death entertained.
Conor: But I suppose that the point is really to re-introduce it to a new generation as well.
Andrew: Since it is deemed a "remake", I hope they include some new features/areas. And I would love Pokémon to follow you again. That was a feature I loved.
Conor: I really enjoyed that myself. Funny how X&Y gave it a miss.
Katy: I doubt there will be any new Pokemon though, they normally keep new additions to the next entries in the main series/generations.
Conor: Oh I really doubt that, yeah. Possibly a new legendary?
Andrew: Exactly, but for example in HGSS. You could catch the Hoenn legendaries as well as other legendaries. Hopefully, we could catch Ho-Oh and/or Lugia.
Katy: Ooh, maybe they'll bring over the way you could ride Pokemon in X&Y into OR / AS.
Andrew: Personally, I won't be expecting any new Pokémon. I'm expecting the formula to remain quite similar to HGSS. Pokémon from other regions, but no new creatures.
Conor: Here's hoping! Bringing over all of what made X&Y seem so fresh would be a no-brainer, and would help justify the remake for fans of the original.
Katy: Those sweet dynamic X&Y camera angles. I'll be very happy indeed.
Andrew: Another interesting tidbit is the Gen III Pokemon that received an additional evolution (i.e. Magmortar) in later generations.
Not Gen II Pokemon, but Pokemon introduced before or during the Gen III era.
Bringing over all of what made X&Y seem so fresh would be a no-brainer, and would help justify the remake for fans of the original.
Conor: Absolutely. If we get the chance to see the world rendered in full 3D, including battles, then OR/AS could already be worth the price of admission for many.
Andrew: Hopefully the world will still be as immersive as the GBA titles, even with a graphical overhaul. Especially for veterans who have already played through it before.
Conor: It would be interesting to see Game Freak introduce at least one major new element as well, not just make it an aesthetic change.
Katy: That scene where you go up in the cable cart to Mt Chimney will look SO cool in 3D...
What new features would you guys like to see?
Tom: Also to follow on from Katy's question, considering it's coming to 3DS. How do you expect the handheld's capabilities to be used beyond the examples you've given? For example, how could online battles freshen up these games?
Andrew: For one thing, and I may be alone on this, I would like to see the VS. Seeker return. Oh, and some new Mega-Evolutions (Sableye, I'm looking at you)
Conor: I think we could talk about our respective ideal pokémon games all day, but realistically I'd definitely like to see a way to keep the post Elite-4 gameplay interesting.
The VS.Seeker would be a great example of that. My problem has always been that training past lv.70 is a little bit of a slog.
Katy: The Pokemon Contests in Ruby & Sapphire were pretty addictive, so maybe having wi-fi enabled competitions with your friends would be pretty cool - the online features in X&Y were top-class.
Andrew: For sure, the post-game, especially online-battling, needs a revamp.
That would be awesome Katy, the contests definitely need an update.
Katy: Conor, agreed on the post-game storyline, would be great if certain Pokemon became super rare again.
Conor: Perhaps if the game played out fairly typically to start with, but after the Elite 4 they pulled a total wild card on us. High-level trainers added throughout the region, or to a smaller new region like we said.
Andrew: At this point, a great deal of battles are stuck in stalemates until one side runs out of PP. Hopefully Game-Freak could implement some sort restriction to keep battles fresh and interesting.
Since there is usually only one remake per handheld, maybe the inclusion of Johto and Kanto as well (similar to HGSS). And you have the quest to obtain 24 gym badges.
Katy: Now that would be more of a challenge!
Conor: We can dream! The original G/S had the perfect endgame, in that it basically opened up a whole new region for you and your league-winning team to take on.
Andrew: Have all 24 gym leaders , three elite fours to tackle, and a surprise at the end.
Conor: There needs to be content that justifies getting close to Lv.100 without just grinding. I'm not sure if we'll be seeing it in these remakes, but hopefully soon.
Andrew: Absolutely, grinding after the Elite-Four is quite a daunting and boring task. Mostly just mindless battling. Needs some sort of incentive.
Conor: You're making me feel faint, Andrew. Imagine all that, and with the added Pokémon relationship incentives from X&Y. Your team could really feel like family by the end of a journey like that. And while we're asking, please fix the double-screen interface, Game Freak. X&Y was so cluttered.
Andrew: HGSS wins for best interface. Clean, simple, and easy to use
Conor: Absolutely. It was baffling that X&Y didn't allow you to just view your team on the bottom screen at all times, so I hope they remedy this for what's likely to be their last 3DS title.
Katy: Hopefully they'll bring over the Super Training feature though for easy EV training.
Conor: Absolutely Katy. Again, a no-brainer.
Andrew: Super Training made EV training a much easier goal, and a lot more appealing for new players. Rather than the specific Pokémon encounters and memorizing of how many EVs you had.
Over on page two the team briefly fantasize about a new Pokémon Snap, while considering aspects such as Secret Bases, potential sales and more.