Considering how huge a franchise it is, it's surprising that Pokémon hasn't encountered stronger rivals over the decades. Sure, we've had the likes of Digimon come and go, but Game Freak's monster-battling series has had this niche genre effectively tied down since the '90s – although it would seem that things are changing in 2020.
We've already seen the indie title Temtem come to Steam, and that game was so successful at launch that its servers struggled to keep up with demand. We've now got another title on the horizon, and, like Temtem, it could be coming to the Switch.
Kindred Fates is described by developer Skymill Studios as a "love letter" to the open-world monster-battling RPG genre and, like Temtem, wears its influences on its sleeve. It certainly looks very much like Pokémon, and features elements like gyms and monster 'types' which are weak or strong against others, but it's doing some pretty unique things at the same time.
In Kindred Fates, combat occurs in real-time, and when one of your monsters (known as Kinfolk) falls in battle, they actually die rather than just faint. However, you can revive them if you pick up the blue flame which represents their soul. If you're unable to reach the flame before it burns out, then they're lost for good and their name will be etched on a memorial within the game. Kindred Fates also offers PvP battles and online trading.
So far, the game has raised over $17,000 of its $50,000 goal with 29 days remaining. If it reaches $155,000 in funding, then a Switch version will be secured.
All these Pokemon-like games are making me wish Disney would produce another Spectrobes game. Spectobes Origin on the Wii was FAAAAAR better than it had any right to be. So a modern day Spectrobes in the same vain as that game would be amazing.
Not necessarily sold on this or Temtem yet but I'm very much ready for a Pokemon replacement (as the series is officially dead to me) so good luck to them. Hopefully at least one of them turns out worthwhile and maybe we'll continue to see more developers take a crack.
"Explore a derivative, vast but empty world"
Yeh, OK, maybe I'm being mean for a game still in development, but the trailer does little for me.
@Anti-Matter Personally I think the general battle mechanics in Pokemon are still pretty solid. It's literally everything else that they've done with the series that I take issue with.
@Anti-Matter The combat in this game looks terrible.
Hopefully all these games moving in on Pokemon's territory will put some pressure on in the upper management at GameFreak. Maybe they'll finally start caring about what their players want again.
Releasing in 2026 after 45 delays and three additional crowd funded attempts, 300 Kickstarter updates and severe backer frustration,
Kickstarter funded games obviously aren’t something I’ve enjoyed over the years.
@Anti-Matter People complain only about the content not the mechanics … they want more Pokémon and better graphics. Not to change the battle mechanics and style.
@Anti-Matter I haven't seen many people complaining about the turn-based battle system. There are so many things worth complaining about with Sword and Shield but I don't think that's really one of them. Both styles of combat in JRPGs are just as valid so it's probably safer to just stick to the one that's worked just fine so far (for the main series at the very least). I think Game Freak would really struggle to pull off a well-polished real-time battle system even if they tried.
@Anti-Matter I cannot possibly imagine a worse idea than switching Pokemon to a real time battle format. The problem with Pokemon has been with the constant addition and subtraction of features without any attention to player feedback. Nobody is out here protesting the gameplay style.
"Sure, we've had the likes of Digimon come and go"
We have a Digimon game coming out this year that looks amazing.
@BenAV Want to have your mind blown?
Look up DokeV
Being at the top will attract imitators.
But lazing at the top will attract innovators.
Let's see how this goes, eh?
I've heard plenty of people complaining about the game mechanics (mostly that it's outdated).
Personally I would love Pokemon to get a more real-time combat jrpg approach like Final Fantasy 7 remake... it would make it more like a test of skills and not just who's best/fastest at grinding and looking through websites for combinations and IV/EV boosts.... Kindred Fates seems like dipping it's toes into such an approach
@BenAV Curious to know what you hate about everything else in the series now.
@danemord Can you imagine, if they can't even put all Pokemons in their final game, to remove the turn-based system with real time one
Gotta love these talks sounding like "after Pokemon crown" hasn't been a genre for ages. And I'd partly understand dismissively hanging "come and go" on single catch-em-all games like Metal Walker, but Digimon? The series nearly as old as Pokemon itself and getting new games to this day? And how about Yokai Watch? Or the whole MegaTen biz that did "monster" "catching" and battles way before Pokemon made the concept print money? Or inspirations in other big franchises like World of Final Fantasy and the plethora of DQM games? Frankly, if you're measuring a "stronger rival" solely on the momentary hype (although unlike healthy interest, hype can be actually detrimental to the work's resonance with the public), then it's too early to discuss "change in 2020" now as well.
At the end of the day, the advent of all these games arguably says even more about Pokemon's resonance than its millions of sales ever could. But they have their own paths and journeys ahead of them, not remotely limited to how much they bite off the longtime leader's market pie or not. As long as the industry remembers that, we'll have a real blue ocean with everbranching legacies and evolving genres. But have the industry compelled to think otherwise, and all you'll get is stories like PlayStation Vita's.
At this point, Game Freak can need as many competitors as possible. From what I heard Sword and Shield where pretty meh games.
The majority of people would rage... it's one more reason to do it ;D
I could always use another good mom game. Looks like this one deviates from the norm which is fine by me (I like the mechanics of Pokemon and Digimon, and change can always be fun as well! ).
@Anti-Matter If Pokémon ditches the turn based system, it will definitively lose its hardcore audience for good.
Pokémon needs some evolutional changes (3 on 3 battles should be the standard trainer challenge, for example, not 1 v 1) but turn based combat is too big a part of the mainline series to get rid of it.
I could see a real time spinoff, though. We for a taken style fighting game, after all.
@Dakotastomp Just quickly off the top of my head... I thought Sword and Shield were way too easy to the point of being trivial and boring (which is nothing new for the series though), lacked any sort of interesting story (or story at all really), characters existed for the sole purpose of being annoying, boring world with nothing to explore, terrible new mechanics (Dynamax, raid battles), pretty bland visually, one of the worst video game soundtracks I've ever heard and is just lacked anything interesting to do whatsoever.
@RareFan “From what I heard”
You should make your own opinions, even if it requires borrowing the game. For what it’s worth: I thought it was a fantastic game, could be better, but everything before it has been worse. So you just heard it here: it’s the best mainline Pokémon experience so far, on this humble posters opinion.
I'm still waiting on Monster's crown that I kickstarted. For now no plans to kickstart anymore until i get some more of the games I've put money on in kickstarter. So far I've gotten 2 out of 5, with at least one of the titles i'm pretty sure will never come out, and my first one I did was an MMO that I think may eventually come out, but god knows when it will come out and what shape it will be in. I do think Monster's Crown will eventually release, but the creator has had medical issues.
Course they should, the multi million seller should take notes from a low selling game.
@nhSnork Everyone forgets how many games try to take concepts similar to Pokemon, even when they succeed. Digimon was the biggest competitor, and it's had multiple anime series, movies, and games to this day. Heck, Yokai-Watch may very well been the cause of the changes made to Sun and Moon, since it was getting so popular at the same time, and even though it's faded, it still has a new title. With all of the buzz about "pokemon-killers" I really want Nintendo Life to shine a light on other games that gave their own spin on monster collecting, like Spectrobes or Monster Rancher.
@johnvboy I mean, they could take inspiration from big name titles, or go to companies that specialize in certain genres, like Bandai Namco for Pokken, or Spike Chunsoft for the Mystery Dungeon titles. That being said, ditching the turn-based system would be extremely risky in even the best case-it's the core of the series and what the games were built on and around. I want changes to the titles (for one, just make the next title expand on the Wild Area so that it's how the whole game plays) but they need to be built around the game being an adventure focused on turn based battles. I'm not against using Pokemon in different types of gameplay-heck, I'm a fan of the Ranger series-but those should take a back seat to the core gameplay, or be left to spin-offs.
Actually, t he nuzlocke-like mechanics here interest me. Some real risks from monster death?!?
But I’m still waiting for Monster Crown, considering I backed that and it keeps getting delayed.
@BenAV How about you be honest and say "I believe they did everything wrong" and be done with it? Half of what you've rattled off sounds like you're scrounging for things to be critical of.
I feel like they can't deviate from the turn based battle system in the mainline games because of what it would do to the competitive scene. Like it or not, a lot of their ability to maintain interest over time comes from tournaments and competitions. They could definitely add some additional complexity and/or formats to the turn based battle system though.
A well developed spin-off ARPG would be awesome though.
Can copy Pokémon all you want, but you'll never touch the God of gaming.
@MegaVel91 Um, that's more or less what I did say to begin with. I only went into more detail because I was asked.
Agreed, I played both of the games on the DS when I was a kid and loved them, so addictive. I spent way more hours playing spectrobes than I'd like to admit. I'm all for Pokemon getting as much competition as possible, anything that will pressure Nintendo to bring the game to a higher standard is a good thing.
Gamefreak is a bad Dev with a good IP. If any other AAA studio had Pokémon, we’d see new storylines, better animations and fresh ideas. People love Pokémon so much, they’re willing to buy these underwhelming games because no one else is making them. I don’t think we’d need to see a change from the turn based systems, but Gamefreak needs to take a year or two off to make the changes to revamp the series.
@patbacknitro18 I wouldn't say it was ''amazing'', but I do agree that the franchise had so much potential. Only played the first one on DS and Origins on Wii. Whilst I did like a bunch of changes they applied (more types for example, and way better controls), I still think there was a ton of room for improvement.
All the battles were against the same enemy types (Krawl IIRC?). No Spectrobe-Spectrobe battles.
I think the fossil hunting and excavating could use some improvement. I think I liked it better in the DS game, but maybe that's because I can't remember how the Wii game did it.
Needs more Spectrobes for sure as well. They only had like 50-80 of them; and since (nearly) all of them were 3-stage evolution lines, there were even less you could use in battle.
Maybe you could learn different moves and assign them to different buttons to use in battles. Moveset and ability customisation would be neat.
Anyway, I'm just rambling, but I don't like it when franchises with so much potential gets cancelled. Like Zack and Wiki; imagine what a Wii U or Switch entry would be like. Or hey, what about Pikmin?
@Octane the Krawl enemies are fine because there was a ton of variety with them, plus they were very challenging enemies. Not to mention the boss fights were amazing themselves. I think the only time you got to fight other spectrobes was against the Final boss of Origins, but I think his Spectrobe was a Krawl hybrid. But yea Origins wasnt perfect, but it was far better than it had any reason to be. Had they fixed its minor issues and improved some aspects of it, it could have been an amazing series. Thats why im desperate for a modern game.
I'll wait for a Physical release before deciding..
Imagine thinking Pokemon is original when almost everything about it was ripped off from Dragon Quest. Even funnier how so many of Pokemon's recent endeavors are just worsened ideas they took from better monster collectors like Yo-Kai Watch and Digimon.
Wow! If it has an intriguing story this could be VERY promesing. Looks like a Pokemon for grown-ups. Or, I guess that's why they went with darker colours and a more mature trainer.
Biggest downside is this is only online then that is a pass.
....Meh, I'm still gonna wait and hope that a new Monster Hunter Stories game happens on Switch instead.
im still waiting for monster crown
hmm the thumbnail made it look like this was hand drawn animation. Oh well. pass.
@Zach777 Shovel Knight is the one shining example of Kickstarter feel good stories
why only make 150 spots at discount >.>
Pokemon but the entire world is Lavender Town.
I'm good. I'll stick with Pokemon.
Though at least the monsters in this game look more interesting than TemTem's genericness.
I've only recently started dabbling with Digimon games with Digimon World DS but from what I've played of these Digimon games, I'd say they're pretty strong contenders against Pokemon. Not sure how good the Switch Digimon game is though.
That being said though I'd love to see the monster raising genre make more of a comeback. Back in the day we had Monster Rancher, Jade Cocoon, Digimon, Fossil Fighters, Dragon Quest Monsters, I mean the list goes on. I'd love to see some of these make a comeback. Also if Custom Robo counts, bring that back too please.
I dunno. I hope they're successful, but this looks like a case of an indie team biting off more than they can chew.
@sikthvash Oh, botw?
Yeah, I'm just gonna hold out for dragon quest monsters
@Onion Dq monsters is happening, though. It stars Erik and his sister from DQ 11 as kids
Pokemon doesn't even have any polish with its turn based combat. It makes its main battle system to progress 1v1 but designs many Pokemon and options for 2v2 instead of picking 1 and sticking with it.
Without unofficial rulesets like Smogon, the 1v1 battle system just rewards no-skill strategies like Moody Baton Pass Smeargle. Even with Smogon rulings, it has a long history of rewarding bulky offense and hyper offense teams over others.
Official 2v2 manages to be even worse because due to their huge PokeDex based banlists and other factors, variety in teams is almost non-existent. VGC 2014 was probably the only year to offer so much variety but that's because so many powerful Doubles options were banned that year.
Any other monster collector or RPG in general that has had a competitive format has always used a 3v3 or even 4v4 battle system.
Recent events have proven Pokemon fans will swallow anything for a Pokemon game anyway so if they made a real time battle system much like the terrible anime they love, there would no doubt be plenty defending that.
Erik and Mia? I'll be all over that, especially since I finished DQ XI few months ago. I've only recently started messing with DQ Monsters but what I played was pretty enjoyable. I wouldn't mind seeing more Pokemon competitors like this.
I don't know, could be a good game but it's hard to do a moster-collecting game without looking like a Pokémon-wannabe
I guess only Shin Megami Tensei differs enough
i thought this game looked pretty interesting (though the combat looks a little strange, but that's okay) but DokeV looks amazing, I'll have to watch out for more info on that even if it's never on a nintendo system (thanks @Kalmaro)
@Kalmaro Mindblow, that's not even gameplay not to mention graphics are as terrible as the Pokemon CGI movie.
@retro_player_22 That's perfectly fine, the game is just not for you.
@BenAV Oof. That's a HUGE hot take, but I haven't played it myself to form any kind of opinion, but this is almost Bubsy 3D levels of anger.
i can't believe im reading comments that suggest pokemon be real time based like how they doing it to ff7 remake or resident evil for that matter.
why don't you guys just admit you hate fixed camera angles, turn based genres and just be done with it?
also its outdated? you couldn't be more wrong, this isn't comparable like junk to fruits.
@Dakotastomp I wouldn't say that I'm angry, as I'm pretty content with just moving on to better things and ignoring the series from here if they're going to go down this route so I'm not gonna lose any sleep over it. But I do think it was the worst game I played last year and was a complete waste of time (at least the game was only like two seconds long, haha) and money.
@ZionWario I do agree that changing all the battles during the story to doubles (except for wild encounters) would be ideal. It's always the format used in official competitive play so it'd make a lot of sense and would make the games somewhat more interesting. I'm still fine with singles though if they at least ramp up the difficulty to force you to think a bit about team building and strategy rather than just blazing through with your starter.
Looks very interesting. It can't really be called a clone if you take direct control of the monsters, though. It's not a jrpg anymore. Obviously that combat is early development so will be smoothed out, but my one big gripe would be the colour scheme. It looks far more drab compared to Pokemon or TemTem. Would stick the saturation on my tv to full haha
The campfire moment! Hope it has lots of cool little conversation options like this, will make it a definite on release. The fact they can die makes it sad and kind of urgent. I would never leave a companion behind! Can't wait to see more.
@Kalmaro No gameplay, but if that had as much detail and vibrancy in an open world (obviously not every area can have as much as that) as well as good gameplay I'm sold and surely many more would be. Could come close to Pokemon sales, assuming we don't get too many loyalists. How would they have more than one monster attacking, though? I doubt it would be strategy, maybe more like a temporary pause.
@mesome713 I don't think I've ever read anything so laughable.
@Xansies Nooooo, at least there's stuff to see / do in BotW - there's a sense of adventure & beauty. I never once felt the world was sparse.
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