So Pokémon Sun and Moon are upon us, and already fans have begun digging deep into these games' coding in an effort to find any clues whatsoever toward any future features #GameFreak may add.
Well, like Dwarves in the Mines of Moria, some players dug too deep in their search for clues, and instead of unearthing a fire-coated rage monster, they actually discovered something far more interesting indeed.
Data mining — the technical term for digging without shovels, or without soil, actually — in the code of the latest #Pokemon games has led some players to discover a number of animated models, in which various Pokémon are seen to be walking and running.
As you can see by the three examples above, the models range from classic Pokémon like Arcanine, all the way up to newer-generation Pokémon, such as Scolipede and Zoroark. There were 12 animated models found in total in the initial data mine, alongside some code indicating that these models would be set to follow behind the player.
A Blast From The Past!
The unearthed evidence has led many Pokémon fans to believe that #Nintendo could be bringing back a nostalgic feature to the world of Pokémon: The ability to have a buddy Pokémon tagging along with you on your journey!
Back when Pokémon Yellow was released, fans loved the feature that allowed for starter Pokémon #Pikachu to tag along with the player as they went about their adventures in the Kanto region. Could this recent discovery indicate that Nintendo intends to revisit this concept?
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But What's The Point?
OK, well firstly, it'd just be goddamn cool. There, I said it. All deep analysis aside, it would be awesome to have a Pokémon of your choice follow you as you travel across the land, searching far and wide for more Pokémon to catch and new trainers to battle!
But other than the sheer novelty, what could this feature mean for the game itself? Recently, for example, #PokemonGo introduced its very own buddy system. This means that the player can choose a Pokémon from their collection to walk with them on their journeys, gaining in-game bonuses as a result.
If this feature can find a place in Pokémon Go, then a similar feature would undoubtedly work well in #PokemonSunandMoon. However, core elements of the feature may have to be changed in order to make this mechanic useful to players as they explore the #Alola region.
Instead of the buddy system generating rewards based on distance traveled, the buddy Pokémon chosen by the player could potentially gain extra XP, or provide useful bonuses to the player themselves (perhaps finding items during their travels, for example).
As well as this, a buddy feature being brought into the new generation could help players to form deeper bonds with the Pokémon they capture. Simply walking around with a Pokémon at their side could help players to form stronger attachments to them, or perhaps the player could more conveniently feed or pet their Pokémon, adding a deeper level to the interaction between trainer and buddy.
All of this is speculation of course, as a data mine is never concrete evidence of potential future features. But it's exciting to imagine what could possibly be coming to Pokémon in the near future.
The Truth Is In The Stars
It's looking increasingly likely that the release of the #NintendoSwitch will bring about the announcement of none other than a third installment in the newest set of Pokémon adventures. The current rumors all suggest that the Switch will see its own Pokémon game, #PokemonStars.
If the evidence from the data mine is anything to go by, could it be that a buddy feature will be debuted within Pokémon Stars, running on the Nintendo Switch? The new console would certainly boast the processing power necessary to host many new features, and bringing back a fan-favorite feature from the days of Pokémon Yellow would certainly help the Switch to achieve the added demand it needs in order to ensure its success in the highly competitive console market. With Nintendo's January 12 presentation quickly approaching, we may not have long to wait to get a confirmation on these details.
All of this, of course, is just wild speculation. But if true, this could really bring a new depth to the world of Pokémon, and I think the little kid inside us all is so excited for what's to come!
Would you like to see a buddy feature added to Pokémon?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or feel free to tweet me at @PeachyBaws, it'd be awesome to know what you think!
[Image: Via http://arkeis.tumblr.com/]