Hello, there! I've been and on-and-off romhacker for years now with experience in multiple areas, but I'd never actually got around to organising a project until now. I was originally collaborating with various people on this under the working name "Pokémon Cummingtonite", but it seems that I don't really have the support I was hoping for. So, I was wondering whether or not people here would be interested in collaborating with me on a grittier, more realistic, more exciting and hopefully more humorous take on Pokémon.
Essentially, my idea was to make "what Emerald could have been" - a romhack based on Emerald in a near-future real-world setting with a deeper story, a non-linear plot, and Gen 7 mechanics. The story broadly follows Emerald's but with several changes to make it more realistic and less "anime".
Hoenn is a prosperous island nation in the Caribbean. It has thriving mining and agricultural industries thanks to large rare-metal deposits and fertile soil due to Mt. Chimney, respectively. Naturally, it is also popular with tourists and trainers. However, the year is 2050 and over-mining plus climate change are taking their toll; with rising sea-levels, large parts of the region are underwater; frequent erratic weather and droughts has hit the agricultural sector hard and expanded the desert; there is panic as Hoenn's mineral deposits are decreasing; and it is home to a large number of refugees from overseas.
・You're the son/daughter/attack helicopter of a businessman who's just moved to Hoenn (that may or may not be important). In the start, you save your neighbour, the treehag professor, from a home invasion by borrowing his Spiky-eared Pichu. As a reward, he gives you the Pichu, a trainer's license, and a summer job - to survey the region's wildlife (i.e. Pokémon).
・Along the way, you will meet various trainers, many of whom train at gyms; unlike the barebones vanilla gyms, these will be places where (randomised!) trainers will go to battle, and give you BP if you defeat them. If you defeat the gym leader (optional), you gain access to that gym's move tutor. (In this way, gyms are more like Battle Tents).
・You will also meet people from the ominous Aqua, a neo-Christian super-religious organisation that preaches the second Biblical flood is coming, and that only their members will be saved. They do various charitable work, helping the sick, the mentally ill and refugees - but these are more like recruitment drives for their cult. Publicly, they are a large and somewhat generous organisation; in actual fact, they are a nihilistic cult whose true goal is to bring about the flood themselves by awakening and controlling Kyogre. To this end, they need the money to construct a craft that can dive to the bottom of the ocean, and drill through the seabed to Kyogre's lair, and the technology to actually control it. They raise large sums of money through various covert racketeering schemes, including running the Game Corner and poaching mons (Team Rocket stuff), whilst also stealing the technology they need from the Devon Corporation and kidnapping scientists and engineers from all over the region to actually build it.
・The region is also in the terror of Magma, a sort of paramilitary Greenpeace. They attack the offices of multinational companies, attack oil rigs, refineries and mines, and break up poaching rings (which puts them in conflict with Aqua). They are in fact a complete front of the Devon Corporation, a massive technology company founded in Hoenn, who uses them to intimidate their competitors, infiltrate their laboratories and steal their technology, and conduct illegal mining surveys and operations (using Pokémon, as well as technology) that they would not legally be able to carry out themselves. Devon/Magma’s end goal is to awaken and utilise the power of Groudon to expand the landmass and sell it to the highest bidder, after taking control of the region themselves. To this end, Magma will be conducting huge subterranean missions at various points across the region, both searching for resources and for Groudon. To distract the press and the public, they will normally be carrying out more sinister things like kidnappings, blowing up buildings etc.
・The story would hopefully be non-linear and would take you across the region, yet always takes you to the same conclusion - one of the teams succeeds in awakening their legendary. You infiltrate the successful team’s lair, find their leader and discover the truth behind the organisation, whilst carrying the Red/Blue Orb. The orb releases a strange radiation which drives the legendary berserk, they revert to their primal form, overpower their captors and begin to wreak havoc. The presence of the one primal awakens the other and forces it to revert, leading to a cataclysmic battle. In order to stop the battle, your one hope is to summon Rayquaza - but you must first find the Jade Orb in order to give it the power to Mega Evolve, and defeat the two.
・There are some subplots planned for Deoxys and Silvally, but let’s stick with the above for now!
Now I'm not terribly picky about particular skill-sets since I'm quite happy to do/help with pretty much anything. But if this idea sounds interesting to you, and you'd like to take part, feel free to hop into the Discord server: https://discord.gg/Dd2xcHP