It’s 2029 and the Kanto region looks as good as ever. Let’s Go Pikachu 2: Please Let Me Evolve Into a Raichu is out, full of Ultimate-Mega-Gigantamax forms for all of your favourite first-generation Pokemon! Other new things include; Charizard having 5 forms (yet only one them is a dragon type), Pikachu can get an even bigger afro than before, and all 151 Pokemon have brand new remastered models. Unfortunately, none of the other 700+ Pokemon are included, but you can at least get the evolutions of all Kanto Pokemon from other generations. This means you can get Sirfetch’d, and honestly, what else do you need from a Pokemon game?!
For context, from the age of 7 to 15 I lived and breathed Pokemon. I was an active member of the competitive Pokemon TCG community, I played every single Pokemon game that I could afford – I even travelled to America to compete in the TCG World Championships. Pokemon was my life, and though I’m not currently as obsessed, I still thoroughly enjoy it. But, to this day there is one thing that bothers me about the Pokemon franchise, and that’s Kanto.
I enjoy Kanto, but there have been 10 main series English Pokemon games which have included Kanto – not including spin-offs like Let’s Go. Then, even in games where the region itself isn’t included, the first generation are still a big focus. Generation 4 included a large collection of evolutions from the original generation, Generation 6 was overshadowed by Mega Evolutions, Generation 7 by Alolan Pokemon, and now Generation 8 with Galarian Pokemon. Though these features aren’t exclusive to the first generation of Pokemon, they are a continued excuse for Game Freak to shoehorn the original 151 into these games.
With the resurgence of Pokemon with the help of Pokemon Go in 2016 (I can’t believe it’s been 3 years either), it makes sense that Nintendo utilised people’s nostalgia to get players back into the main franchise. This was the main push for Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee, which are in-fact interesting games – they created a new experience combining gameplay aspects of the main franchise and Pokemon Go. I thoroughly enjoyed not being interrupted by wild Pokemon every few seconds and being able to decide when and what I battled in the wild. The catching system worked, and it felt a tad more balanced. But, it was still just Kanto again.
I’m also afraid the Pokemon Sword and Shield will be cluttered with Pokemon from the first generation. It’s already been confirmed that not all the Pokemon will be available in-game on launch as they have to update all 800+ models to be compatible with the Nintendo Switch. But, with the first 151 already having updated models from Let’s Go, it’s very likely that most – if not all – will be included. So with a predicted 350 Pokemon pool on release, most of those Pokemon will probably be from the first generation. Additionally, with announcements of Galarian Forms for Ponyta and Weezing, even if the originals aren’t included, variations of them will.
I understand that nostalgia sells, but the hype around Kanto is wearing thin. Something new and excited is necessary to keep current Pokemon fans engaged. I’m personally tired of Kanto – unless it’s Sirfetch’d, then I’m totally in.