I’ve recently started on something called the Delta Episode, which is part of the post-game content of Pokémon Alpha Sapphire. I won’t spoil too much of it, just in case, but essentially, grave danger all around. It’s not specified how terrible, might level a city, might level Hoenn, might level the world, but it’s pretty bad.
So in the Delta Episode, the champion of Hoenn’s Pokémon League contacts you and apparently only you to help him save the world from this calamity.
This made me think… Why only the player?
Overall in Pokémon games, it’s the player versus the world. Occasionally you’ll get some help from someone, but in general, you’re the only one standing up to the villain team, you’re the only one saving the world, etc.
Pokémon Black & White broke from this, quite neatly, by giving more personality to the characters along the way. For the first time, gym leaders were more than just punching bags waiting around until you come and bash their pokémon’s skulls in to get a badge. They were figures of authority, wardens of their regions and kind of like mayors of their cities. They often helped the player out in fighting off the not-so-friendly neighborhood villain team.
This makes sense. Gym leaders are powerful pokémon trainers, and they’ve been in the field for a long time. It would make sense that when danger shows up, they don’t just sit back and let the fate of the world rest on one guy/gal’s shoulders!
It’s a shame that since the switch to 3D, this has been ditched though, and I really hope it’ll return in full glory. When, during the Delta Episode, I heard about the danger, and how terrible it was, my first thoughts were “Well why’s it only me and the champion? Where’s the elite four? Where’s the other region’s champions? Couldn’t Cynthia, Diantha, Alder, Iris, Lance… Couldn’t they just catch a jet for some emergency summit?”
Champions are supposed to be among the most powerful pokémon trainers in the world, yet when the world is threatened, they can’t be bothered to come and help? Even the gym leaders could show up and give a hand, some of them are no pushover!
It is my recommendation that Gamefreak invest a bit more time in fleshing out these characters and making them appear more often, helping the player get more invested in the game and the world. How awesome would it be to be called to such an emergency summit and see that you are sharing the rank with Cynthia or Lance?
And then there’s another thing that exists, but never gets played out: Gyms changing. Between Black and White 1 and 2, gyms change. Striaton, Nacrene and Icirrus close their doors apparently, and Aspertia, Virbank and Humilau gain gyms. And remember when Koga was promoted from gym leader to Elite Four, and handed the gym over to Janine?
Wouldn’t it be interesting to have one of the gyms along your journey be scheduled for closure? Maybe the gym leader is a senior, ready to retire? Wouldn’t it be cool if, during your journey, you hear rumors about a new gym opening up, and actually being able to get a ninth badge once you’ve beaten the elite four and the champion? Sort of test run the new gym for the upcoming trainers?
The pokémon league has a few machinations that we never quite get to see from all the different angles, and if Gamefreak were to invest a little into making these things more of a reality, I think it’d really add a lot of depth to the pokémon sagas.
What do you think? Would you like elements like these? Are there other things you’d love to see fleshed out in a Pokémon game?