Pokémon Animations peaked 17 years ago, before Scarlet & Violet

Pokémon Battle Revolution from developer Genius Sorority was not a great game. Released in North America in 2007, it served as PokemonIt debuted on the Wii, but was more or less a continuation of the DS games Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Effectively a 3D battle simulator, it made competitive battles more compelling to watch, but as a video game it was an absolute no-brainer. There’s no real story content, and much of the game is spent pitting your teams created in another game against preset challenges. Still, it offered the most detailed combat animations the series had ever seen. And now, while the game is largely forgotten by the general public, in light of the talk surrounding the animation quality of Pokemon series, fans look back Combat revolution with better eyes.

Welcome to Exp. share, my cityis weekly Pokemon column where we dive deep to explore notable characters, urban legends, communities, and just plain weird quirks from around Pokemon franchise.

To be fair to all participants, Combat revolution being so bare is probably why he put so much love into animating all the pokemon in his simulated battles. It supports all Pokémon from the first four generations, from Bulbasaur to Arceus, and since there aren’t many games around these battles, a lot of work went into capturing the essence of nearly 500 monsters.

The Pokémon Company / UHD Longplays

Some of the best examples are in the faint animations. At that time all the most Pokemon the games had sprites that disappeared from the screen when a monster was knocked out. Similar to Pokémon Stadium before it (several of the game’s animations repeat what Stadium and its sequel was made on Nintendo 64), Combat revolution there are original animations for each pokemon when it faints, and they range from a creature simply falling unconscious to something much more theatrical.

For example, take Honchkrow. The dark/flying bird wears a fedora, and when it falls in battle, it dramatically steps back and, just before returning to its Pokéball, tips its hat towards its opponent in respect. It’s not just the fainting animations though. There are little touches in each Pokemon’s movements that convey a real sense of character. Roselia places her hands on her hips and takes a bold step as she recovers from an enemy attack. Fierce Pokemon like Houndoom roar and growl on their side of the battlefield. Even when it doesn’t directly show Pokémon in a note, Combat revolution takes a lot of care to portray who Pokemon is and is fun to look back on 17 years later.

Gif: The Pokémon Company / UHD Longplays / Kotaku

Part of what he does Combat revolutionthe animations of are distinguished even from modern 3D Pokemon games is that battles allow Pokémon to make visible contact when using attacks. More often games like Scarlett and Violet animate battles so that Pokemon can stay in their designated spot on the field. Even physical attacks such as a punch or kick are animated as such, with a quick graphic of a fist or foot hitting the target instead of the Pokémon itself walking across the screen to deliver a punch. But I have distinct memories of my Raichu and Torterra walking towards an enemy to attack with Iron Tail or Wood Hammer. Now those same moves are depicted with a dismembered appendage rather than Raichu going through and slamming a metal tail at an enemy.

While Combat revolutionThe lack of features and content is probably why it could spend time and resources making each Pokémon look and behave differently, the Wii game was, perhaps unfairly, cited in ongoing talk of modern Pokemon game animations and Game Freak’s reasons for removing the National Dex that includes every Pokémon in newer games. In the midst of this controversy (colloquially known as “Dexit”) in 2019, longtime series producer Yunichi Masuda explained that among other reasons such as game balance, developing games such as Sword and Shield on the Switch allowed the team to create “higher quality animations,” and reducing the number of Pokémon in a game is a good way to keep that hypothetical quality intact.

“There’s a few different pieces of thinking behind it, but really the biggest reason for it is just the sheer number of Pokemon,” Masuda said American gamer. “We already have over 800 types of Pokemon and there will be more added in these games. And now that they’re on Nintendo Switch, we’re creating it at a much higher fidelity with higher quality animations.”

In the end, though, watching Sword and Shield or Scarlett and Violetit’s clear that Matsuda’s argument for higher quality animations fails, especially when you look at these games alongside the animations in Combat revolution. (The validity of Masuda’s claims remains a regular topic of conversation within Pokemon community in conversations about the quality of newer games.) There are, of course, a dozen other factors as to why Scarlett and Violet are buggy mess and why its animations are not up to something like this Combat revolution. Game Freak doesn’t develop these games in isolation; they are one component in a huge multimedia franchise that makes most of its money from commodities. As much as the die-hard fanbase wants to believe that The Pokémon Company’s main focus is on the games we buy every year, the money tells a different story.

Generally, Pokemon the series has a lot of great systems and character designs, but Game Freak’s translation of those ideas into 3D space has always been lacking. Other than a complete overhaul of the way these games are developed, I’d be surprised to see a mainline Pokemon the game reaches the same level of animation quality that Combat revolution owned, especially since the series finally surpassed 1000 Pokémon with Scarlett and Violet. But looking back at what Genius Sorority was able to accomplish on the Wii, when all they really had to care about was whether or not Pokémon battles looked good, instead of creating a new world with RPG systems in addition to designing pure new monsters, it’s hard not to imagine the possibilities.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *