I’m not a PC gamer. I don’t twitch well enough to use a mouse for FPS games. And I don’t have the time or money to invest in an MMO, especially in These Troubled Times (drink!). However, just because I am not a PC gamer, that does not mean I am not an informed gamer. I think I know enough about the successful franchises to be able to pay attention in passing conversation, and I have a basic idea of what works and what doesn’t. Allow me to demonstrate. What works: anything from Blizzard or Valve. What doesn’t: anything with DRM. So I will admit that I am not the most knowledgeable source our there for anything PC gaming related, but I remain steadfast in my belief that a Pokemon MMO would be the most ridiculously successful video game in the history of ever.

In case you haven’t figured this out from the intro: Yes, I have played Pokemon, actually I’ve played a version of each generation. Now that I’ve outed myself, the rest of this post is going to be written assuming you, my eager-reader, has a basic knowledge of the Pokemon franchise. If you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, that’s a good thing. Stay away. These games are terribly addictive. Now where was I?

Think about the components to World of Warcraft or any unsuccessfully labeled “WoW Killer.” Distinct characters, diverse content, a battle system that is easy to learn, yet hard to master, lots and lots of loot, and a reason to continue to shell out a monthly fee. I think we can find a way to mold a Pokemon MMO around those basic components, don’t you? Let’s see how this would work out.

One big thing with any RPG is the main character, it’s what you will be looking at for the potentially hundreds of hours that you are sitting at your monitor. Creating a trainer is small potatoes, you could offer various settings for your own personalized trainer. Gender, clothing, and physical characteristics like eye, skin and hair color. You could even create custom taunts and unique character animations similar to what the wrestling games do for their create-a-character mode. Of course with Pokemon, the trainer is only one part to the game. Obviously the Pokemon themselves are the stars of this game.

You want diverse content? Consider how many versions have been released to date: Red/Blue/Yellow, Gold/Silver/Crystal, Ruby/Saphire/Emerald, Diamond/Pearl/Platinum. The third game in each of those series is like the “remastered version.” If each of those games: Yellow, Crystal, Emerald and Platinum were released as individual games/expansions…start your cash registers. Each new release is tailor made for the expansion pack business model. New territories, new Pokemon, new gym badges. Each game could have end game content along the lines of Mt. Battle from Pokemon Colosseum. Final bosses could be the Gym Leaders. And Legendary Pokemon would be floating around in each region. Naturally it would be all or nothing with those big guys, capturing wouldn’t and shouldnt’ be an option.

And what MMO is complete without loot? Besides over 150 Pokemon per release, you can come up with all kinds of items to collect. Especially with the trends of the latest series of games, unique hold items for the Pokemon, unique items for the trainer to carry to boost stats, and of course berry growing. Seriously, completionists will have enough of a task catching every Pokemon in the game, adding day/night and location restrictions to specific Pokemon would increase both the difficulty and satisfaction in succeeding.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the battling, but if you think about it there isn’t much that needs to be specified. The handheld games have the system set up impressively well. Limiting trainers to 6 Pokemon and Pokemon themselves to 4 moves each provides the opportunity for extremely diverse strategies. Adding in the ability to use Technical or Hidden Machines with the moves naturally learned and the combination of moves for any given Pokemon is quite expansive. Battles themselves would follow the simple 1v1 or 2v2 format. A pie-in-the-sky request would be to have the battles execute in real time like the show did and games didn’t, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

As far as character growth/leveling, the basics are in place from the handhelds. Using a Pokemon more often can increase cooperation and specific move effectiveness. Rogue Pokemon would be less reliable until a trainer is at a sufficient level to handle the task at hand.

Considering how successful the handheld game has been, you have to believe that people would pay for a high-res version with all the combined content over the lifetime of the Pokemon franchise. Mo Money, Mo Money, Mo Money.

What I’ve described is incredibly basic, I know. Like an initial design document, there is a whole other aspect of the game that needs to be fleshed out. Here’s a link to someone who has probably put way too much thought into this, but has some solid thoughts on a possible direction. If you’ve made it this far in this post, that link is well worth your time.

Nintendo is printing money at will. Be it consoles like the Wii, DS or soon to be DSi, or first party games like Wii Fit, Wii Play, or actually anything on the Wii: Nintendo cannot count money fast enough. There is no motivation or real solid reason for them to even consider pursuing this avenue. Which is probably what hurts the most about all of this. Everyone knows that a Pokemon MMO would be unbelievably successful, and yet this same group of everyone knows that it will never happen. It’s the mythical beast that we pursue in our dreams. It’s the unattainable nirvana that we as gamers would hope to see become a reality in our lifetime. It would propel Nintendo into a new level of financial and critical success beyond your wildest imagination.

If Cartoon Network’s Fusion Fall is any indicator, this thing would be an instant hit. Sadly there is absolutely zero chance of this every happening. Zero, Zilch, Zippy, Nothin. but that wont stop a guy from dreaming. Just don’t tell anyone I think about things like this…


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