Magical Girl Enthusiast

United States
Seen July 25th, 2020
Posted June 30th, 2020
2 posts
2.4 Years
This question doesn't have as much to do with game development directly, but more so narrative and world building inside a game. For context, I've been working on a story concept for a fan game on and off for awhile, though I've been stuck on this part for awhile. With the story and themes that I hope to present, I feel like there isn't really an easy place to slot in an evil team. Though this does make me think, how core do you guys think an evil team is to the Pokemon experience?

I'm starting to think that they are less and less necessary as I think about design, though I might be completely off the mark. In my mind, Pokemon has always been about a couple core gameplay loops. Those mostly being exploring new locations, catching the different kinds of Pokemon you encounter there, and forming bonds with them through battle/contests/experiences. As far as I can tell, the evil team really only serve the final aspect, as just a ton of battles that you have to do throughout the course of the game. While they provide some of the game's few moments of building tension/stakes compared to the normal upbeat tone, I feel like this tension just feels way too alien from the rest of the game. For example, the fallout of the Team Galactic shenanigans in Pokemon Platinum feels super strange to me, since you just kinda resume what you were already doing. Like the whole arc between Canalave and the Distortion World was some sort of out of place fever dream that just kinda happens and ends. Naturally speaking, the core gameplay loop of Pokemon doesn't really fit too well with world defining stakes, at least from my viewpoint of it.

Now the matter of tone is clearly going to be contentious as everyone has their own sort of ideas and perspectives on what would make an interesting experience. At least for me, I have a harder time really getting into fan games and hacks that feature super serious narratives, mainly due to how much it contrasts the core Pokemon experience. Like I don't need to learn about my character's tragic backstory or moral ambiguity when I just wanna run around new places and befriend cute animals. This is not to say that you can't make a game which has these darker elements using the Pokemon model, I'm merely saying that me and some other people I've talked to believe that this sort of narrative tone doesn't really work well with the gameplay tone that Pokemon inherently has. The reason I bring this up, is because I feel like a lot of fangames really zero in on the evil team as a core aspect to their game's narrative, and try to work the whole game's tone and narrative around dealing with them. This might just be me, but I feel like we can create plenty of more unique and interesting circumstances if we try and do away with the evil team framework that has been with the franchise since the beginning.

If you think that an evil team is super important to a Pokemon game, why exactly? I'd love to have discussions about this, because there might be something about them that I'm missing. Also if you disagree with how I see the tone of a Pokemon game, I'd love to discuss that as well.