I think I made my opinion on Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon VERY clear in my previous article about those games. It appears that Game Freak and The Pokémon Company International were listening closely to what I was writing. While most other people on the Internet's response was that it was clear that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon would be very different than Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, I still maintained that they would be the majority-same.
I have changed my opinion, so consider this my apology article. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon will be different than Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon in many ways. Not VERY different, mind you, but I'll say more than 30% different, which was the threshold I gave myself in my previous article for when I'd admit I'm wrong. Even if there will be a lot of shared content, I will admit that it appears that the ATMOSPHERE and CONTEXT that the identical content will exist in will be different. Perhaps I should've figured that out when Hau and Lillie switched facial expressions.
Anyway, all of what I'm saying derives from this new trailer, along with updates to the official Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon website:
To recap, my opinion has changed on how different these second versions will be from the first. However, my opinion has not changed regarding my general cynicism towards these second versions. Instead, I am now cynical for entirely different reasons.
And, no, don't attack me for being inconsistent or impossible to please. Hear me out.
Here's what happened: To ENSURE that this game is not a retread of the Alola we just visited last year, Game Freak put together a new villainous squad, Team Rainbow Rocket. Having it be named after Team Rocket with Giovanni as the head, and then featuring Mewtwo, is a pretty expected Generation 1 nostalgia play. Not surprising, considering all of the Alolan forms are of Generation 1 Pokémon. The rainbow part is really weird, but here's where it gets totally bizarre.
|Team Rocket Grunts usually have pink hair, and now it's blue!|
...Erm, no, it gets more strange than that.
(Are they well-dressed or what? That female Team Rainbow Rocket Grunt, especially...)
Team Rainbow Rocket aren't just made up of Giovanni and newly-designed Team Rocket Grunts. Nay, Team Rainbow Rocket also includes team leaders such as Team Aqua's Archie, Team Magma's Maxie, Team Galactic's Cyrus, Team Plasma's Ghetsis, and Team Flare's Lysandre! Why would all of these egotistical and potentially planet-obliterating guys work under Giovanni, especially when the teams aren't friends with one another? (Also, where's Team Cipher?)
|Jessie, James, and Meowth don't like Team Rainbow Rocket. (They also think I'm scared, which is... true.)|
All credit for this image goes to kingofthedededes73 on DeviantART.
It's now clear that the “alternate story” descriptor used when Pokémon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon were announced is referring to an impossible alternate universe and timeline. I've read some commentary that this is an alternate timeline where all of the villainous team leaders have succeeded in their goals and have now converged on Alola. This is contradicted by the fact that these team leaders have conflicting goals that can not all come true at once. (There's only so many times the world's population can be wiped out and remade, after all... while still having all of the inhabitants alive. That so many times is zero.) If the team leaders have failed in their goals, then many of the ones that have appeared should either be dead, or reformed and no longer interested in being villains.
Either way, there's something wrong. Not to mention that they shouldn't all exist in the same timeline, since the different teams are active at different points in time, rather than simultaneously.
I get the feeling that Team Rainbow Rocket will be post-game content rather than complicating the main game. That also goes for the announcement that every Legendary Pokémon will be found through jumping through Ultra Wormholes to other places. Yes, you won't be retreading Alola because you'll be warping off to different parts of the world!
|There are some missing Pokémon here. That's because there is a distinction between Legendary Pokémon and Mythical Pokémon.|
“Mythical Pokémon”, such as Keldeo, Mew, Darkrai, Arceus, Celebi, and others, are event-exclusive Pokémon. “Legendary Pokémon” are obtainable in-game. Both groups are very rare, legendary, mythical, and one-offs. There is no in-universe explanation for these different groups, so it's bizarre to see the distinction enforced like this in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
There will be restrictions on which Legendary Pokémon you can warp to in each version. For example, Regigigas, Latias, Palkia, and Zekrom are exclusive to Pokémon Ultra Moon, while their respective counterparts for Pokémon Ultra Sun are Heatran, Latios, Dialga, and Reshiram. I have no idea why Regigigas and Heatran are counterparts, but certain Pokémon will only appear when you have both otherwise version-exclusive Pokémon in your party, such as Giratina for Dialga and Palkia, and Kyurem for Reshiram and Zekrom. ...But the actual way in terms of lore to have Regigigas, which is to get Regirock, Regice, and Registeel, doesn't carry over.
There are some other features as well, such as what appears to be the return of the Battle Factory in the Battle Agency, along with the ability to collect Totem Stickers that appear to be limited to the Totem Pokémon from Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. Perhaps they'll also include the Totems from this game, but regardless, it's limited to a small number of species.
With all of these extra changes and features, what am I upset about? I mean, isn't it obvious? They are just throwing the entire series into one game because the game can't stand on its own Alolan merits. They totally threw out what the Alolan potential was supposed to be, instead DESPERATELY putting all of this attention on the closest we'll hopefully get to the average Pokémon fan's dream of “Hey, I thought of an original idea for a new Pokémon game, guys! Why not have a game where you go through ALL OF THE REGIONS?” It's an awful idea if you put any thought into how that game would be balanced. In this case, you won't actually be exploring other regions through the Ultra Wormholes. What is likely to happen is that you'll pop out in a 1–2 room area, similar to Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2's Hidden Grottos, where it'll just be you and the Legendary. You capture it and then leave. Done.
Regardless, at least this constitutes a post-game, which we were worried about since it seemed like Game Freak philosophy was anti-post-game. On that note, does featuring Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina among the Legendary Pokémon on their site mean that this is INSTEAD of a Sinnoh remake, or they are... prepping for one?
Guess we'll find out when the series moves to the Switch!
When Ludwig talks about the Alolan potential, he means perfecting what Alola promised. He was critical of these games for sticking to the Alolan status quo, and now it seems like they totally forgot what Alola was supposed to be in favour of having the rest of the world (in a very nonsensical and immersion-breaking way) converge on these otherwise insignificant islands. Alola can be good enough without this! Anyway, let Ludwig know in the comments section about your thoughts, and if you think he's going out of his way to not change his mind.
Ludwig takes his apology back upon the release of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.