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Colourful Thoughts: What’s next for Alola?

Being swamped by news reveals, what does the PokéCommunity expect next from Alola? colours gathers some thoughts from around the community on what they think The Pokémon Company would reveal next!

Hey everyone! Before I get to the main point of this article, I want to start with a few things: First and foremost, as you may be wondering: what is Colourful Thoughts?

Well, it’s an article series that I’m going to start from here on out that focuses on Pokémon gaming in general. Is Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire still worth picking up even in the midst of Sun & Moon hype? What about for those who want to try Pokémon X&Y? It’s these questions that I’ll basically run around the community getting answers for! So do look forward for future articles like these!

Another thing: Between this article and my previous one, which went into detail about the community’s general reactions towards E3 Treehouse, we’ve been swamped with new information! And even that in itself is quite the understatement–we’ve been introduced to not only a good handful of Pokémon, but also new features, as well–so I’m going to quickly go over what some may have briefly missed, and then get to real meat and bones of this article. Without further ado, let’s get started!

So, what have I missed?

First, allow me to show you to this video:

If you’d like to know more about the features that were showcased, then I’ll point you towards the right direction where you can read about them!

First and foremost is this article that goes into detail about Alola Forms and the new Pokémon that were released!

This article goes into detail about Hyper Training itself, a rudimentary idea of how it functions, as well as whether or not it’d affect the competitive metagame.

Lastly, this article gives information on Z-moves which was teased in the trailer and gives a brief description of what it’s about. You can also catch up on what Alola’s Island Trials are about here.

What the community expects for Alola’s next reveal!

For this piece, I’ve interviewed several members of the community, asked them what they’ve thought of the recent news (assuming they’ve had enough time to process it all… it’s a ton to take in, to be honest!), and asked them what they think is next for the Alola region. This meaning: What do they think is going to be teased next?

To start this off, I’ve had a conversation with smocks to see her thoughts what she thinks and wants to be showcased next! My own commentary and thoughts throughout these interviews would be in italics, so keep an eye out for those!

colours: So what do you think is going to be teased in the next Alola trailer?

smocks: For the next trailer, I would typically like to see showcasing of possibly more Alola forms because they are very interesting, but otherwise I would like to see more expansion on the possible lore for Alola. Like how Zygarde ties into Lunala and Solgaleo, or if there’s more Totem Pokémon, what are their roles and how are they connected. I would also like to see more mechanics about happens what you complete the trials.

I personally find it very interesting that smocks has mentioned Zygarde and its possible relation towards Lunaala and Solgaleo. Is it possible that Zygarde has any influence and direction, or even any role in general, in or over the story, at all? Or is it just another legendary Pokémon that won’t fit in the Alola region that you get post-game? It’s kind of hard to tell at this point; there are barely any dots (if any) to connect in regards to Zygarde’s place in the story.

colours: It’s interesting that you mention the Totem Pokemon. They kinda remind me of the Horde battles that were introduced back in X/Y, where you had to face multiple Pokémon at once, but this time you have to face one super strong one, and have to tactically plan how to beat it before it summons its allies.

smocks wonders if we could catch Totem Pokémon.
smocks wonders if we could catch Totem Pokémon.

smocks: Yup! Especially what type of Pokémon can be Totem Pokémon, if they’re random Pokémon that show up at a certain location after the trial, kinda like hidden grottos in a sense. Could they be possibly legendary Pokémon to fully evolved common Pokémon to uncommon/rare Pokémon? Also if we’re able to catch Totem Pokémon from the aura they’re power up from (hopefully, and probably, we can though lol).

Catching Totem Pokemon? Should be an exciting experience! Should be better anyway since Totem Pokémon, from the way I see it, are stronger than regular Pokémon, anyway.

I also spoke with Sheep about her thoughts on what she expects to be revealed next. Here’s what we discussed!

colours: Given all that’s been revealed so far, what do you think The Pokémon Company may reveal next for the games? What are your expectations for the next trailer?

Sheep: My most wanted reveals are what, if anything, will become with gyms. The Alola Island Challenge almost seems like a new system and I almost wouldn’t be surprised if they end up replacing gyms as a whole in these games, though at the same time gyms have been such a staple to the Pokémon franchise that it’s difficult to see this happening. That’s why I’d really like some clarification to end these rumors going around (and of course to appease myself, haha).

I’m also curious about HMs. From the recent trailers we can call on helper Pokémon to Fly or Surf on and break rocks as was shown, so can we link that to HM removal? HMs already made the games slightly limiting to me and I’d much rather have this system than having to make sure my team has a slot to learn one of the HMs in case I find an inaccessible area.

Also… starter evolutions. Maybe? Hopefully?

She has a point about Gyms basically being a staple ever since the first generation? It seems that Game Freak is diving into new territory by desinging and developing a game that, for the first time, doesn’t actually revolve around beating Gyms to progress in the game! It’s likely, though, that the Alola Island Challenge would probably serve as substiution of Gyms, and that it’ll function similarly.

colours: Yeah, I definitely agree that Gyms have been such a strong staple that something like this would be a huge amount of change to a lot of people. How would facing the Elite Four and the Champion work? Do you just complete all the Island Challenges as well as their respective Kahunas to get the Elite Four to introduce themselves? It kinda leaves a lot of unknowns.

And also, for riding Pokémon, do you think that we’ll have access to a riding a wider variety of Pokémon than just the ones revealed in the trailer? My concern is like, as Kalos, we’ll only be able to ride specific Pokémon, which kinda debunks the whole “we can ride anything we want” rumour.

Don't drink and fly, kids.
Don’t drink and fly, kids.

Sheep: I’m mostly sure it’ll only be a specific group of Pokémon, no more than maybe 5-10. Even with that, the range of rider Pokémon we’ve been shown in the trailer is already a lot wider than what we got in X and Y, where people expected more from Pokémon riding when it was shown in trailers but ended up disappointed because it was such a minor feature with almost no uses outside the occasional few areas. It looks like it’d have more of a use this time around which is more than enough for me.

Riding Pokémon in X/Y was very disappointing, to say the least. We could only ride Mamoswine, Rhydon, and Skiddo, but even then, that’s an incredibly small amount of Pokémon to ride and we could only ride them short distances. It can definitely be said that X/Y was probably Game Freak’s way of testing out this feature before really fleshing it out in Sun and Moon.

colours: One more thing… on the subject of evil teams, do you think they’ll be an evil team this time around? Also interesting that we haven’t gotten any more information on Lillie for that matter, what do you think is behind the mystery surrounding her?

Sheep: It does seem like The Pokémon Company is trying to do things more differently this time around but I think there’d be too many missed opportunities without an evil team. A team that wants to shroud the world in eternal day or night seems cliche but also very plausible given the game names and mascot legendaries. Truthfully I’d be surprised if we end up with something else.

Lillie is definitely full of mystery! She’s one of my favorites so far and I would love to know more about her. Maybe she’s related to the evil team in some way? Imagine if she were secretly a general or even their leader? She’s described as being crucial to the plot of the games so I like to think her mystery will be saved for actual gameplay and not too much will be revealed prior. All I know is that she definitely won’t end up being just another one of your typical ‘rivals,’ especially since she dislikes Pokémon battles. Can’t be much of a rival if you don’t use Pokémon for battle, right? I’m sure the story will tie that in in some way. It’s exciting to see what will be done with her.

What is up with Lillie?
What is up with Lillie?

Readers, there’s a very good reason why I ask the question about Lillie. From the very moment back when she was revealed way back months ago, up until now, there hasn’t been a word about her character, or anything! The closest we’ve ever got to learning more about her was seeing her in the E3 demo, and seeing that something was shaking in her bag, but not much more than that. (Un)fortunately (depending on how you see this), this raises a lot more questions than answers, so hopefully we’ll also learn more about her on the next trailer.

The way I see things, I think she’s just another rival-esque character, or maybe she’ll help guide you through the region. I disagree with some who think she might be related to the antagonist, mostly because antagonists have made themselves very apparent design-wise in Pokémon games traditionally, and I don’t really see that in Lillie.

I also had an opportunity to ask Blue about his perspective and what he thinks may or may not be revealed.

colours: So we’ve definitely learned quite a lot so far, huh? With all that’s been shown to date, what do you think is going to be revealed in the next trailer, and what do you think may be better left out until perhaps either launch or right before launch?

Blue: I’m pretty much expecting more details on Z-moves and the possibility of a few more Alolan Forms to follow up from the most recent trailer. I’m also expecting to see more on the other Islands since they haven’t really been touched upon just yet. We got a glimpse of what appears to be the next island in the trailer at the beginning of August, but we still don’t know anywhere near enough about them and what they contain. I also wouldn’t be surprised if we found out more details on the whole theme and storyline surrounding S/M. The details in that respect have been quite vague up until now, with just over three months until the release I’d expect them to start explaining the plot of these games at this stage.

As for what I think will be left out, the main thing I’d say is the starter evolutions. There’s been a lot of speculation surrounding them with the apparent leaks that surfaced a few weeks ago, so it’s definitely a subject of interest and something that many people want to know about. I think going by previous releases, Game Freak tend to leave the starter evolutions to the very last reveal or even to be discovered in-game if possible.

colours: You mentioned finding out more about Z-moves, and I personally think they’re a really exciting addition to the games! It seems that you would be able to trigger Z-moves by having the Pokémon hold the appropriate Z-Crystal that matches its type, so it acts like a fifth move of sorts that triggers once per battle. What more information would you like to know about Z-moves?

Blue: I’d like to understand the difference between regular moves and Z-moves. I think the obvious assumption is the power difference, but it seems there is more to it than just more powerful moves? Perhaps it is something that relies on the bond between the player and the Pokémon, something that can only be activated once a certain level of happiness is reached. I think Z-moves will play a crucial role in the storyline so I’d also like to see when and how it fits into the theme for S/M.

Z-moves definitely seem to have much more to them than we originally thought. It’s likely that they’ll be tied into Sun and Moon’s storyline, somehow.

colours: Yeah, I’m thinking along the lines of something like what X/Y did with Mega-Evolutions, however strangely, Mega-Evolution didn’t take advantage of the whole “bond between Trainer and Pokémon” concept that they’ve been pushing for most of the story, and let you Mega-Evolve whenever as long as you have the appropriate Key Stone. I hope that they go farther in Sun and Moon and actually incorporate happiness somehow into Z-moves

Blue: Well yeah, it would be great if Z-moves had more depth than just powerful moves. It would make much more sense for them to be only possible through increased happiness with a Pokémon. I think that would make it stand out a lot more from the Mega Evolution concept.

colours: You also mentioned finding out a bit more about the other Islands. I find it… rather intriguing that we’re really left in the dark about the general gist of what these islands are supposed to represent and their purpose. Apparently Hala is the Kahuna of MeleMele Island, which I suppose is a way of saying that he’s the ruling trainer there. Do you think our journey will focus more on finding and defeating the Trial Captains and completing the Alola Island Trails and becoming the Island Champion?

Along with that, what do you think might be the secret to the other Islands?

Blue: I think it will be a case of travelling from island to island consecutively with the task of completing different challenges for each Island. Once you have completed these challenges you are rewarded the title of “Island Champion” which would grant you access to the next island where you would take on the next challenge and so on.

Who are the other guardians?
Who are the other guardians?

There does seem to be a lot of mystery surrounding these Islands. It is said that each Island has its own Guardian which we only know of one, Tapu Koko. Since there are three remaining guardians that we don’t yet know about, it makes you wonder what they actually represent and what their purpose is for protecting the islands.

Blue does raise a good point. What’s the purpose of the Island Guardians, and are the rest of them going to be revealed before launch? Three months, while seemingly a small amount of time, is still quite a bit for news to try and circulate around and about regarding the Island Guardians. It’s likely that Tapu Koko, along with others, would play a deep role in Sun and Moon’s plot.

Mana also had a bit to say about what his expectations were:

colours: So given all that you’ve learned so far with Z-moves, Island Trials, Totem Pokémon, as well as Alola Formes and some new Pokémon to boot, what do you think/want to be revealed in the next Alola trailer?

Mana: I’d like to see more new Pokémon/Alolan forms! I think if they reveal any more Island Trials characters or Totem pokes it might ruin the surprise a bit, so I’d rather they not spill much more of that. Starter middle forms would be good as well – it would put to rest all the debate over several of the rumours too haha.

colours: Yeah, the absolute TONS of rumours going around about the starter evos are making it hard to believe which ones are real and which ones are legitimate! Out of interest though, what are your thoughts about the new Z-moves? Did it take you by surprise that Game Freak would include a feature like this?

Mana: It was a bit of a surprise, as it seems to clash with Mega Evolution so so much. Especially when they revealed it was a “once per match” “item needed” kind of deal. I’m not sold on them just yet.

He has a point here. Mega-Evolution with Z-attacks? Sounds pretty overpowered. But we’ll find out more information as the months progress!

colours: Fair enough! Do you think there’s anything in particular that The Pokémon Company would leave out until, let’s say, a month before Sun and Moon launches or even not all until the games launch?

Mana: I imagine the final evolutions will be officially released in the last few weeks – but other than that, I’m not sure! I hope they manage to keep some new Pokémon/forms secret until the game release so there are some surprises for us. I don’t want to start the game knowing everything already haha.

I know one thing for sure. The final starter evos (or even second stage starters) need to be revealed soon, because all of these leaks are driving me nuts.

colours: Also, a curveball question here: How many Pokémon do you feel are going to be introduced in the new Alolan Pokedex? There’s speculation that there’s going to be anywhere between 80-100, but some are speculating that i can be even higher than that, say around 120-130. Where do your expectations lie?

Mana: I thought it would be around the 100 mark as well – but now with Alolan forms I’m not sure. I’d like it if new forms are extra on top of 100 new Pokémon – perhaps 100 new and 50ish migrant species from other regions, some of which have these new forms.

Makes sense, after all; I honestly felt that around 75-ish was WAY too few to be introduced back in Kalos… I personally would’ve liked somewhere around the 100 mark, as well.

colours: One last question! In regards to the evil team, what do you think they’ll be like? Do you think there will be a traditional evil team this time around? It’s already August and no information about them whatsoever has been known, so it’s kinda weird, haha.

Mana: I’m really hopeful that if we have an evil team, they break the norm. Either an evil team that are genuinely threatening or perhaps a different kind of bad guy this time around.

What direction IS Alola heading to next?

The obvious answer: who knows?! Starter second stage evolutions might be next on the list, but there’s also a middling question of what exactly the other islands are supposed to be about. We hardly even know much about MeleMele Island, and that’s supposedly the island that we start the game off in! Perhaps The Pokémon Company plans to keep this under wraps until shortly after the game is revealed? Would do wonders for players who would rather play the game mostly blind, at any rate. Personally, I’d really like to know about what the general game’s plot is supposed to be, but I understand that might be too big of a spoiler for most.

There’s also the question of the antagonists in the games. We certainly know that they exist in Team Skull, but what would they be about? What are their goals? Are they deviating from your traditional definition of an evil team? What’s the secret behind Guzma and Plumeria (also known as Team Skull’s “Big Sister”)?

Until next time folks, keep an eye out on some more Colourful Thoughts!

Cover image by Sylphiel.
Edited by bobandbill and gimmepie.