Were Black And White What The Pokemon Franchise Needed? Debate
So basically, this debate is about whether or not Black and White were the right next step in the pokemon saga. (as if you didn't get that from the title :P)
Things to think about...
- All new pokemon
- "Reboot" (allowed new players to enter franchise smoothly)
- On DS system (even though 3DS wasn't released yet when BW came out, the 3DS was disregarded by many as a waste prior to the price drop, etc)
- More complex storyline
- Perfect score of 40/40 (not exactly a pro, just throwing it out there)
- Online features
- As the first of two, helps create a more developed game for BW2 (and vice versa)
- All new pokemon, no old ones to fall back on, "replacement pokemon," etc*
- Alienated old players somewhat (all new pokemon, a whole other part of the pokeon world, online features even, etc)
- Still on DS system, not moving up to 3DS
- Basically same storyline overall, not super innovative. Could be seen as not helping a "dieing franchise" (basically not a big enough leap or any leap forward depending on how you view it)
- Dwarfed a bit by BW2 (again, depends on your opinion)
So get debating! Remember, this is a debate, so you can always argue for the opinion opposite of yours. It'll probably be fun/spark and intense discussion! ;)
*As an integral part of the game, I know the pokemon will be a HUGE part of this discussion, but please don't make this into an "old pokemon vs new pokemon" thread. We already have several, including another debate. Feel free to discuss the pokemon, but as a part of your argument, not the sole entirety of it. Thanks. :D
Being on the DS is a pro, now? :P (I know the 3DS wasn't even out on the Japanese release, but still...)
I wouldn't hold the perfect score as a pro to the franchise, either. That's pretty subjective.
I sorta feel the Pokémon games were going to sell really well anyway, like every other game has. Black and White's reboot feels like it's given the whole franchise a bit of a kick, and that's good - if Black 2 and White 2 coming out are a good indication.
Though I'd like to hear how you feel Black and White allowed people to easily enter the franchise and how the other games failed to. They certainly marketed them as a reboot, but (subjective, yes) I feel like I got sucked into the marketing more and in hindsight, the games aren't massively different.
I also contest the con you wrote about Pokémon potentially being seen as a dying franchise - it's not really showing, given the games are going strong and games are still coming out year by year. Are you sure who say it's dying aren't misled or biased? (These people don't check facts that often, believe me.)
As for entering the franchise, this is just something that I've heard, but I do agree with it. Since EVERYTHING about BW was new, (aside from the basics of a pokemon game) new players wouldn't feel quite so overwhelmed by jumping into a massive world, as the games before just built on top of each other, not in a way that it was impossible or difficult to jump in, but that made the idea a little more daunting, perhaps. BW, however, were introduced as a completely new game, new pokemon, new everything, to appeal to the audience who hadn't jumped in to the pokemon franchise yet. It's true the games aren't massively different but the point I'm trying to make (and I say trying because I'm feeling somewhat tongue-tied right now :P) is that a major difference is how it was marketed and all the new pokemon made it seem like it's own stand alone title. Hopefully my struggles to explain it made any sense to you. D:
As for pokemon being a dieing franchise - sure, that's subjective. But this con was meant for the older fans to think about, (i.e. genwunners) and for fans of BW to consider. Sure it isn't really showing, but the point of this debate is to see if BW were the right next step. And if BW isn't doing anything to help the franchise, in fact possibly turning people away, then that could be viewed as a start. (of the series dieing) Also, I meant "were the games getting to repetitive/similar," but phrased a bit differently But you do bring up a good point. Instead of Pros and Cons, I'll put it as Positives and Negatives, as that makes more sense :)
(and also, I do agree that these people may be misled or biased, but they do make up a sizable chunk of the pokemon fandom, so if they all leave, it certainly puts a dent in Pokemon's revenue.
In a word? No.
I played through White twice. It was easily one of the best games in the franchise based on story and production value, and it was very clearly a step in the right direction in terms of writing, but at the same time, there's one major, major flaw:
It was same-old, same-old.
You start on a journey from a small town, get a starter Pokémon from a professor, then get set out on a journey to complete the Pokédex, and you go around beating the gym leaders to collect badges to be able to dethrone a champion. The fortunate side of this is that the villains actually gave you motivation to do this, as opposed to just being annoying enemies that got in your way from doing it. The climax was also far more interesting, obviously, so that's a step forward. BW2, although it starts in a city and you get the starter from Bianca (not spoilers because it's first ten minutes lol), is the same after that.
The WORST instance of sameness, though, is the battle system. It hasn't changed at all since Gen III! That's nearly TEN YEARS AGO. In Hoenn, we got abilities, natures, and double battles - all of which significantly changed the scope of the battle system, and gave us something new to play with, new things to discover, etc. In Sinnoh, we didn't get anything new, just the physical/special split that basically changed which moves work well on which Pokémon. In Unova, what did we get? The sporadically-used triple and rotation battles and 156 new Pokémon?
Look at other franchises, like Final Fantasy or Tales. With every game, they have a similar battle system (although Final Fantasy has changed in recent years), but they make tweaks. They make changes. They take the same basic system and make it different every time, with various customizations like spheres in FFVII or fon slots in Tales of the Abyss, and things like Fields of Fonons made the game have something different than its predecessor. Pokémon doesn't have anything like that. It's the same damn battle system every time, just with a new region, new Pokémon, new abilities, new moves, new hold items, etc.
Do other series always have new regions with more places to explore? Yes.
Do other series add new enemies, abilities, moves, and items every time? Yes.
Do other series change the fundamentals of the battle system more frequently? Yes.
That last one is what gets me. Pokémon is indeed dying because they can't give us new core gameplay mechanics. All they do is pump in new things to the same-old, same-old. A new ability that's going to be put in play 20% of the time won't make a difference. A new attack is basically just a variant of an old one, just with different typing or a different side effect. New hold items aren't going to mean a thing, they just add another choice to the SAME-OLD, SAME-OLD.
What Pokémon really needed with Gen V is something new gameplay-wise. They haven't given any dramatic changes in ten years. Like I said, the physical/special split was a more realistic system that simply changed which moves worked on which Pokémon. All they're doing is making subtle enhancements that make our lives easier and give us more time to focus on the task at hand, which is nice. But it's the same exact battle system we experienced in Hoenn, just with more stuff to keep track of.
They really need to go the real-time route, because turn-based RPGs are dying, and that's because of Pokémon. They have exhausted their own genre. It just isn't fun anymore. White was simply a means to pass the time and enjoy a darker plot for a series that needed it. Now let's hope they give us a major shake-up like customizable moves (such as using an item [not holding one] to increase the chance of side effects or to increase a move's power by 10%), combo attacks (like combine Flamethrower with Ice Beam to create a "Fire and Ice" attack), or a real-time system where you can control your own freaking Pokémon.
Black and White weren't a big step in any departments but story and polish, and although the protagonists were both well-designed, a good amount of the other characters were not. They have a lot of work to do if they want to get me to buy a Gen VI game. I haven't even gotten White2 yet, and I don't know if I want to. It would at least be nice to contribute a harder difficulty that you don't have to hack to unlock (being in my 20s, there aren't many others I know who play Pokemon and could give me it).
So, to answer your question, Black and White really weren't a significant step. We need it badly, else Pokémon isn't going to have much steam left in five years.
I do think Black and White were a step in the right direction. Whether it was a big or small step is not what I want to argue, though.
Just by shaking up a lot of hard-held conventions was BW good for the franchise. It was proof that Game Freak is willing to break away from the traditional formula and introduce new concepts to keep the series fresh. The gameplay wasn't altered much, but it still sells, so Game Freak focused on what Pokemon was really lacking: the plot.
Now that Game Freak knows that plot also sells, they can work on new games with an impressive narrative. Sure the gameplay is the same, but it's not an easy task, altering the Pokemon gameplay without making it too complex. Also, we're moving into an era where plot is becoming just as important as gameplay. Basically, Game Freak knows they can work on things one at a time and still be rewarded (because really, it's Pokemon. It will sell), so they chose to focus on narrative with BW.
So to me, I do feel they were a step in the right direction. Maybe it wasn't a huge step, but as someone who wants to see Pokemon utilize more narrative in its games, I do think it helps. Because of BW we got our first direct sequels; that should say something in and of itself.
I thought it was a big step in the right direction. A "big step" doesn't mean that us Pokemon fans have to like everything - personally there were many, many things that I disliked about BW yet I still felt like the franchise was moving forward. One of the big things going for BW is that new players could easily enter the franchise- everything was explained, the game overall felt "new."
If we want the Pokemon franchise to continue, we want new fans, right?
I think that was Gamefreak's goal while creating this game. (However I'll admit, I don't actually know how well this goal was fulfilled, seeing as I'm an old player so I do like the game)
I do actually like some Pokemon games more than BW personally, some features sucked imo, even small ones. I guess I'm just really good at noticing the bad things aka I'm critical: the c-gear, the loading time in between entering buildings and closing things like the Pokemon team screen and the bag was awkwardly long, I disliked the new tilesets, the pixelly animations, etc. However there were lots of things that helped keep the pokemon fans interested in too, like they improved the pace of the battle in general, making after-turn actions happen somewhat quicker, they animated the battle sprites and that idea was pretty good, they tried out an actual narrative of some sort, etc.
OK, I'm glad this thread came up cos Black and White were among my favorite Pokemon games ever and after contributing to this section a lot I really wanted to look back at the pros and cons that most fans saw with the games.
My personal opinion was that I think Black and White were a big step in the right direction. Like what Lapras said, it doesn't mean that Pokemon fans like myself have to like every little bit of it. Despite what most people thought about the Unova Pokemon didn't stop me from liking it in every little detail but I still felt the whole "moving forward" point the franchise was doing at the time. Black and White were basically made to attract new players to the series, hence the whole "only Unova Pokemon before National Dex" thing. It had that fresh look I was expecting when I first heard about the games.
When Black and White were in development, Game Freak was probably thinking this - If we want Pokemon to continue, we need new fans. This was apparently the reason why the quote "Start from a new beginning" was used in the advertisements for the games.
I'm a veteran of the Pokemon games since Generation 3 so I know what they were trying to do with the whole theme of Black and White.
Even though I've played several Pokemon games, it's Black and White that kept me going, and eventually became my personal favorites. There were a few flaws such as some features not being good but it didn't let me down. The sprites also looked a bit too pixellated but the improvement in general graphics and battle animations kept me excited. As well as the flaws, there were also the things that helped keep the veteran Pokemon fans interested too, especially the more fast-paced battles and animated sprites.
Now I do come to the conclusion that Black and White made a good stepping stone for Black 2 and White 2, cos this is the first generation to ever get direct sequels, which is what sets Generation 5 apart from previous generations. Personally, I do think Pokemon will show more big improvements in generations to come.
The only part of the game that I dislike about it is the pokemon designs. They're just so.....Odd compared to some of the older pokemon.
Definitely were the right step. Getting out of the repeated pattern that DPPt brought back after R/S tried to get rid of it (same Pokemon, while R/S did make an effort to seperate it and make a whole new world, they didn't really succeed at it as well as B/W). Having the deeper story I think was also better too, as it meant that those playing the games had something to draw them back in. I think just overall starting all over again in any extent was a good step, given that from what I've seen people didn't necessarily have the best reaction to Sinnoh/the Sinnoh games.
However, @ Golurk, I think the storyline wasn't really the same overall, as it was just at the end it repeated the past. While it'd have been great for it to be a brand new thing of change the world without evil intentions, it still was different enough imo. As for the part about B2W2 I think that at the time, BW was considered to be revolutionary, but B2W2 was just... more-so. I think they should really be separated for this kind of thing tbh, because B/W wasn't released with the public knowing B2W2 were on their way, so I think if you treat it as a single event it kind of stands out more. I hope that makes sense!
It was definitely something new to bring in new players and to keep old players interested.The game got a huge bump in the graphics department with the different camera angles.The story line with Team Plasma's dark stuff (atleast near the end) was a good change of pace.Although i didn't like a few details it is still a good game.
And the reason i think the sprites were pixelated was to give the old gamers some sort of nostalgic vibe because pixels were all we had back in the older generations.
I definitely don't think Black & White were a step backwards, I think it was maybe a baby step in the right direction
It was definitely a step in the right direction! It was successful in transitioning Pokemon into a new area, which was R/S didn't do to well. Castelia City was a revolution, a whole new look that hadn't been seen before. This was displayed across all of the Unova region, from the marvellous bridges to the amazing Pokemon League. The Pokemon were very different to, looked like a different species of animal some of them. I can see what they were trrying to do but i'm not 100% sure it worked for everyone. The story line was refreshing to, not a revolutionary change but still enough to keep people interested.
Pokemon is definitely becoming a more complicated RPG, mainly due to the change of depth in the story. It wasn't ground breaking, this would have required major overhaul of the battle system, but It was still significantly revolutionary and certainly a step in the right direction.
I don't think it needed it to stay alive. But I do think the whole redesigning the franchise thing helped. It gave a chance for New players to get a fresh start. And all the old Pokemon we missed out on in Black one came back in Black 2. I like the new Pokemon look.
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