After 20 years of being one of the most popular video game franchises in the entire world, Pokémon is moving into its 7th Generation of games. After celebrating small towns and sprawling metropolises, it looks like the franchise is taking a much-needed vacation and going tropical for their latest outing. Pokémon Sun and Moon will be coming to the 3DS on November 18, 2016, which is only a few months away but the wait feels far longer. Luckily, Nintendo has been dropping hints and clues to fans to give people a taste of what to expect.
There also happen to be a series of leaks going around promising looks at fully evolved starters and other aspects of Sun and Moon, much to Nintendo's chagrin, but there's more than enough confirmed information to provide the Pokémon hype train with plenty of fuel. Here's everything we know about Pokémon Sun & Moon's new features.
15 New Pokémon To Ride On!
What young Pokémon Trainer hasn't yearned to take a leather saddle, place it on the back of their beloved Lapras or Rapidash, climb up on its back and ride along the streets or seas of Kanto? Well, that dream is becoming a reality in Pokémon Sun and Moon. While you won't be able to ride through Kanto, you'll still be able to fly above the beautiful scenery that has been on display in trailers for Sun and Moon.
While the logistics of riding your Pokémon aren't clear – if it's something that can be done anywhere, only on certain routes, or if it will be restrictive much like it was in X and Y– this returning feature from Generation VI is bigger and better than ever. It appears in Sun and Moon, some old favorites like Taurus and Sharpedo get in on the fun along with newcomer Mudsdale. Oh, you can also ride on Charizard; after dreaming of climbing on the back of that magnificent fire lizard for over twenty years, you can finally fly through the sky on the back of one of the most famous Pokémon in the world. That, along, is worth the entire price.
14 Set On The Alola Islands
The clearest difference between Generation VII and the former generations of Pokémon seems to be that it's leaving behind the suburban/urban dynamic of previous games, and instead turning a series of tropical islands into the playing field for the quest to catch 'em all. The full implications of setting the Pokémon game in a Hawaii-esque landscape won't be fully realized until the release of the game, but it's not the first time that Pokémon is working with Islands.
Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen featured the Sevii Islands, which were more of a side-quest than a full region, and required users to take ferries from island to island. It's not clear if that will be repeated in Sun and Moon or if the games will have a component similar to Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker where trainers will be sailing from island to island. If the latter is true, the fun of sailing on a Pokémon may be dampened when trainers are constantly encountering annoying water types between islands.
13 The Starters are Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single trainer in possession of a Pokémon game must be in want of a good starter Pokémon. Following a tradition now six generations deep, Pokemon Sun and Moon will be offering trainers a choice between a grass, fire, and a water type before going off on their own journeys.
One of the very first decisions trainers will be making when they step onto Alola is whether their first pokémon will be Rowlet the Grass/Flying type owl, Litten the Fire type cat, or Popplio the Water type Sea Lion. While there have been leaks predicting what the final versions of these Pokémon will look like with some promising glimpses as what trainers could have, the only confirmed versions of these starter Pokémon at the time of this writing are their adorable initial versions.
12 Alola Forms (Exeggutor, Vulpix, Sandshrew)
For a franchise almost entirely based on the concept of evolution that has taken place on multiple continents, it's almost odd that it took seven generations for Pokémon to feature creatures that adapted to new climates and became different breeds of the same Pokémon. Sun and Moon have corrected that oversight by introducing Alola forms, new versions of classic Pokémon that are specific to the island region. The announcement of Alola forms featured
The announcement of Alola forms featured five Pokémon who change appearance and type when found on Alola. It seems that Vulpix, Ninetails, Sandshrew, and Sandslash have all fallen victim to a tropical freeze, and the fire and ground types have now become ice type Pokémon, with Ninetails and Sandslash balancing their new icy forms with Fairy and Steel type, respectively. Exeggutor, on the other hand, goes the opposite direction and becomes extra-tropical on Alola. In the island sun, Exeggutor becomes a Grass/Dragon type that extends to a massive 36-feet. Hopefully more remixes of classic Pokémon await trainers on the Alola islands.
11 Introducing The Rotom Pokédex
While each Pokémon game has its own plot, usually revolving around an evil team trying to harness the power of a legendary Pokémon, the ultimate focus of each game is to do research on various species of Pokémon by "Catching 'em All". This makes the Pokédex, arguably, the single most important item in the entire franchise, collecting information on each Pokémon as it is caught. The Pokédex has gotten more detailed and complex over the course of the Pokémon franchise, but Pokémon Sun and Moon are providing a whole new level of complexity to the Pokédex. In Generation VIII, the Pokédex will be sentient.
The Rotom Pokédex is inhabited by the electronic ghost Pokémon Rotom, and will have a far more vibrant personality that any other Pokédex – mostly because no other Pokédex so far has even had a personality. The Rotom Pokédex won't just be collecting information on Pokémon. According to Pokémon Sun and Moon's official website, it will also "show your current location[,] your next destination, and ... give you advice on where to go next." Adding a Rotom to this Pokédex could prove to be a huge game-changer for the franchise.
Pokémon is, at heart, a JRPG. However, it has avoided many of the tropes that plague other JRPG franchises. While Pokémon has always featured the classic JRPG silent protagonist and random encounters resulting in turn-based combat, one common element of JRPGs has long been left out of the Pokémon franchise: Limit Break moves. A popular feature from the Final Fantasy series that has made its way into nearly every JRPG franchise since, Limit Break moves are often super-attacks that can only be used under certain conditions. Pokémon, in its seventh generation, is finally getting into the Limit Break game with the introduction of Z-moves.
Z-moves are powerful moves triggered by the trainer that require the ownerships of a Z-crystal and a Z-ring. There will be a corresponding Z-move for every Pokémon type from Normal to Fairy and everything in-between, but don't get too reliant on them. Z-moves will only be usable once per battle, so be sure to save them for sticky situations. You don't want to be on 1 HP against a gym leader's final Pokémon having already wasted your Z-move! These new additions are sure to switch up typical Pokémon battle habits and promise a new experience.
9 4-Way Battle Royales
Ever since Generation III, when the franchise introduced Double Battles, Pokémon has been experimenting with ways to switch up the standard 1v1 Pokémon battle setup that the games are built around. Pokémon has since introduced Triple Battles, Rotation Battles, Multi Battles, Sky Battles, and Inverse Battles in an attempt to switch up the formulas. However, their latest new battle innovation may prove to be their best yet as all of their previous efforts still followed a one vs. one trainer structure, or a team vs. team structure. Battle Royals, however, are free-for-alls.
Taking a page out of the Super Smash Bros. guide to success, Pokémon Sun and Moon will feature Battle Royales, in which trainers will be facing off against three other trainers simultaneously, while those three trainers fight the player and each other. Battle Royals end differently than traditional battles as well, with the battle ending the moment on trainer runs out of Pokémon and the winner being determined by who has knocked out the most Pokémon, as well as how many lives they have left. This dramatic change in the Pokémon battle formula should prove to be great fun for single trainers, as well as groups of trainers playing together.
8 Island Challenges – A New Gym System
After Pokémon Red and Blue were released, each Pokémon game that followed copied the same basic progression throughout the franchise. Get a Pokémon, go to different towns all throughout the region, defeat every gym leader, the Elite Four, and the Pokémon Champion. After that, you've entered the regions Hall of Fame and effectively completed the game. However, Pokémon Sun and Moon seem to be doing away with the tried-and-true Pokémon Leagues and introducing The Island Challenge.
The Island Challenge replaces the Pokémon League with a series of puzzles, fetch quests, and other unique tasks that culminate in a high-stakes Pokémon battle with each island's "Kahuna." After the island's Kahuna has been defeated, only then will trainers be permitted to move from one island to the next to complete all of the island's trials. This new system will surely provide relief from the long-established Pokémon Leagues and stimulate trainers in a different way.
7 New Type Combinations!
One of the most exciting developments in any new Pokémon game is the introduction of new type combinations. Type plays a massive role in Pokémon's battle system, and new type combos add new strategy not just to the core gameplay, but also to the massive competitive Pokémon battle scene. Generation VII is coming fresh off of the introduction of Fairy-type in Generation VI, which means trainers should expect that type to manifest itself in new and unique ways.
So far, only a few new type combinations have been confirmed. These include Cutiefly, the Bug/Fairy type; Drampa the Normal/Dragon type "Placid" Pokémon; Mimikyu, the Ghost/Fairy Disguise Pokémon; and Sandalit, the Poison/Fire type Toxic Lizard Pokémon. Between new Pokémon and exciting Alola forms which mark the first appearance of Ice/Fairy and Ice/Steel types in Ninetails and Sandslash, respectively, there will be plenty of new type combinations to develop strategies around.
6 A New Pokémon Species Whose Type Depends On Which Island It Is Caught
The Pokémon franchise has always found pleasure in exploring different ways to break the traditional mold and find ways to stretch the possibilities of what a Pokémon can do. It appears that their latest experiment, the Pokémon known as Oricorio, will show the game playing with how Pokémon can change based on in-game location. Taking the concept of Alola Pokémon and distilling it down from regional differences to differences between islands, the Flying secondary type Pokémon takes on a different Primary type depending on which of the four Alolan islands it is caught on.
This bird comes in four different styles including the Fire/Flying type Baile Style, Electric/Flying type Pom-Pom Style, the Psychic/Flying Pa'u Style, and the Ghost/Flying Sensu Style. Don't be surprised to find a trainer on one of the Alolan Islands that manages to get the most out of the variety that Oricorio offers, because a team with each type of Oricorio still offers a wide span of types and moves.
5 Both Mascot Legendaries Are Psychic Types
A lot can be revealed about the plot and themes of a Pokémon game based on their mascots. Generation I featured Charizard, Blastoise, and Pikachu on their American covers, serving as an introduction to the series by promoting Pokémon that could be obtained at the beginning of the game. Generation II features Ho-Oh, Lugia, and Suicune, foreshadowing the game's focus on mythology. Generation III featured Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza going along with its theme of the environment and the earth – so on and so forth.
Generation VII may be set in a tropical landscape, but trainers can expect the plot of the series to get fairly cerebral if the game's mascot Pokémon are any indication. Solgaleo and Lunala, based off the titular Sun and Moon, are both primarily Psychic type Pokémons with different secondary types. Solgaleo is a Steel sub-type Pokémon, while Lunala has a secondary type of Ghost. With two Pokémon representing the largest celestial figures visible from Earth that both happen to deal in altering other being's minds, expect the plot of Pokémon Sun and Moon to match the franchise's more mind-bending affairs like Generation IV's exploration of time and space.
4 New Versions Of Zygarde
Since Generation I, almost every Generation of Pokémon has given each Generation a solitary game in addition to the original two releases per generation. Red and Blue had Yellow, Gold and Silver had Crystal, Ruby and Sapphire had Emerald, and Diamond and Pearl had Platinum. Generation V switched things up by offering direct sequels to Black and White, but something odd happened in Generation VI. Pokémon X and Y never received a follow-up solitary game set in Kalos, despite the fact that the legendary Pokémon Zygarde was essentially begging for its own title.
It seems not that some features that could have been planned for a possible Pokémon Z game are instead getting added to Pokémon Sun and Moon. (It might be more than coincidence that Generation VII is already introducing something called Z-moves to the franchise). Zygarde served as a counterpart to Xerneas and Yveltal in X and Y but unlike similar third-wheel legendaries like Rayquaza and Giratina, Zygarde never got the chance to anchor its own game. If it had its own game, it would likely have been the perfect opportunity to introduce Zygarde's new 10% and Complete Forms, but instead, these new forms are being introduced in Sun and Moon. Zygarde's 10% Form shows the creature taking the form of a hound, while its Complete Forme looks more like a Power Rangers Zord than anything else in Pokémon.
3 Implementation of a QR Scanner
The Pokémon franchise has been the #1 reason to own a portable Nintendo console ever since it was released for the Game Boy in 1996. As such, each new Pokémon game also has an obligation to serve as something of a tech demo for each new piece of hardware, showing off the console's capabilities by exploiting every possible resource, be it touchscreen, microphone, or built-in gyroscope. Pokémon Sun and Moon has yet to announce any features that are as drastic as previous implementations of hardware but is implementing the 3DS camera and allowing users to scan QR codes to obtain information on Pokémon!
Possibly inspired by a QR hack in Generation VI that allowed Pokémon to be obtained through QR codes, Generation VII is taking that same idea but making it convenient and game-friendly. Scanning a QR code for a corresponding Pokémon does not actually give the trainer the Pokémon, but does register the Pokémon in their Pokédex. This could possibly mean that Pokémon Sun and Moon will make it easier than ever before to complete a Pokédex, which is a relief considering there are now over 700 Pokémon and the new Pokémon in Sun and Moon are likely to help that number break 800.
2 Totem Pokémon
Pokémon games are always finding new ways to spruce up its beloved pocket monsters, whether it's giving them new evolutions, a new form, or encouraging the most dedicated trainers to spend countless hours trying to chase down shiny versions of each Pokémon. Now, the franchise is introducing Totem Pokémon as part of the new Island Challenges.
Totem Pokémon seem to be extra-powerful forms of otherwise average Pokémon that the trainer must defeat before they are allowed to challenge each island's Kahuna. These more powerful Totem Pokémon won't be on their own, however. As if facing off against a spruced-up opponent wasn't difficult enough, Totem Pokémon will be able to call for assistance from other Pokémon, meaning trainers will have to be fending off multiple attacks at once. It's not yet clear if Totem Pokémon will manifest themselves outside of the structure of Island Challenges.
1 Can trade directly with Generation I games
While Pokémon encourages trainers to "Catch 'em All", the games themselves stack the deck against trainers by not having a single game where all Pokémon are available without cheating. Instead, diligent trainers need to transfer Pokémon over from one generation of games to the next, which can sometimes be a grueling process. If a Trainer in Pokémon Sun and Moon wants a Pokémon from a Generation III game, they'll need to have all the hardware to trade that one Pokémon from Generation III to Generation IV, V, VI, and then finally VII. Unfortunately, there is now way to transfer Generation I Pokémon to Generation III – but thankfully Nintendo has figured out a convenient workaround.
3DS digital copies of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow will be able to utilize the 3DS Pokémon Bank, which can then be withdrawn from in Sun and Moon. This will make it easier than every to get a Pokémon from the beloved original 151 into the current generation, and should prove to have some interesting results with the implementation of Alola forms of famous Pokémon.
With the release date of Pokémon Sun and Moon growing ever closer, more and more news will continue to tease these next Generation. After over two decades of Pokémon, Sun and Moon seems to promise a soft-reboot on a lot of aspects of the Pokémon world that many trainers have taken for granted, and with Pokémon's popularity at a new high thanks to Pokémon Go, Sun and Moon could promise to be one of the biggest Pokémon releases in years. Are there any other features you are excited for? What would you like to see implemented in Sun and Moon? Comment and let us know!