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Sygna Suit Grimsley and the Future of Canon Costumes in Masters

Should Grimsley’s sygna suit have been of his Sun/Moon appearance? Let’s take a look at hints from the May survey to see possible reasons why this wasn’t the case.

An initial word of warning: this article will contain references to and images of datamined content⁠—content that is in the game’s files but has not been used or officially announced.

Sygna Suit Grimsley’s recent addition to the Pokémon Masters lineup has gotten some people on social media and other discussion communities talking about the lack of Sun and Moon‘s kimono-Grimsley. Although I want to refrain from calling anyone a “Bad Taste Bear” for not seeing the sheer brilliance of Sygna Suit Grimsley’s spectacular suspenders—I mean, design, I feel the bigger takeaway from these discussions is that we could be missing a potential “bigger picture” for the future of sygna suits and regular sync pairs.

When we look at our current sygna suit line-up, we can see that all of them use completely new outfits that are entirely unique to Masters. The outfits are also designed with a specific Pokémon partner in mind, representing the strong bond between Trainer and Pokémon. From Elesa’s dazzling Rotom-inspired ensemble to Red painting blue flames onto his pants to match his Mega Charizard X, each sygna suit is equal parts original design and directly tied to a specific Pokémon. Because regular Trainer designs are not so Pokémon-based in their origins, and exist moreso to portray the Trainer’s interests or personality, they do not work as sygna suits. Although his ace in X and Y is Barbaracle, it is not surprising for regular Siebold to have any of his various Pokémon partners—and in Masters, he has Clawitzer. But in his festive red sygna suit with light accents of green, it is hard to imagine Holiday 2019 Siebold with anyone but his Christmas takoyaki. And in a Santa-inspired red dress, why would Holiday 2019 Rosa not have a Delibird? Even Brock’s sygna suit has light references to his partner Tyranitar, with green pants and black accents.

Considering Cynthia never had an Umbreon to match her headpiece, perhaps we should be concerned for Kommo-o.

Dataminers have found a sygna suit for Cynthia in which her outfit is clearly Kommo-o-inspired, and we have seen in past promotional videos that sygna suits for Blue and Leaf are on their way as well. Blue’s suit is certainly a fashion choice, and it is a challenge to see Leaf with the camo she has donned, yet they still fall under the previously-established conventions: they are entirely new costumes, and they better match their Pokémon partner—Mega Blastoise and Mega Venusaur, respectively.

But does that mean “canonical” appearances need to be discarded entirely? After all, a model for Cheren’s Black and White appearance has also been datamined, albeit with the kanji for “temporary” stamped right onto his face. Still, would this model not be for Cheren’s sygna suit eventually—with the kanji removed, of course? Well… no. At least, I hope not.

As a disclaimer, datamines have been “wrong” in the past. Games can include leftover data that may never see the light of day and were scrapped by developers. Although it seems unlikely for a gacha game to discard a fully usable 3D model such as this, it is a possibility. This has happened in past mainline Pokémon games, such as the Azure Flute item in Diamond and Pearl. But more realistically than that, things can change or data can be misinterpreted. Obviously, the model would have to be changed before release no matter what, unless people want “temporary” Cheren as-is. But it is not just elements like models. Just recently, the banner information for Sygna Suit Grimsley was originally read as limited—similar to the Holiday banner, with Rosa and Siebold, or PokéFair banners. It was only until right before Sygna Suit Grimsley’s release that the banner was made into a “permanent” one, meaning in future banners you could potentially get Sygna Suit Grimsley when scouting. So even if the model for “temporary” Cheren is listed as a sygna suit—which at the moment is not quite clear—it does not have to be released as one.

Do not get me wrong—I love Cheren and would love to have access to his Black and White look. But there is another datamined image that no one seems to ever talk about in regards to this topic. It features Rosa and Serperior, Wulfric and Avalugg, and Black and White Cheren… and Stoutland. Even as a big-time Cheren lover, I would struggle to find reason to spend gems on a banner with Cheren and another Stoutland. And considering I have trained my Cheren and Stoutland sync pair already, maxing him out with 20 5-star power-ups, I would have a hard time justifying training Black and White Cheren at all, even if he was free like Sygna Suit Brock. And considering how special other sygna suits feel due to their all-new appearances, it would be very disappointing for Cheren’s—or anyone else’s—sygna suit to not offer anything new. Part of what made Sygna Suit Grimsley so exciting was the surprise at seeing an all-new look for him when he was revealed.

The big red kanji is an interesting new look for Cheren—the second Stoutland, not so much.

So what is the solution here? Surely we should not just let canonical outfits fall to the wayside—characters such as Elesa, Sabrina, Red, Brycen, and anyone who has had their game remade all have multiple canon designs that would be wonderfully brought to life in Masters. But I would not take the inclusion of Sygna Suit Grimsley—and Sygna Suit Elesa by extension—to mean that there is no hope for these outfits. I think the answer is right under our noses—or, was under our noses.

The May 2020 survey provided by the Masters team allowed players to answer questions about what they would like to see in the game. The biggest point of focus for many people—the developers included—was in regards to the upcoming stamina-based changes. But other topics were brought up as well, and these were discussed in the most recent message from the Masters team. When it came to sync pairs, questions were asked about whether fans wanted new sync pairs or sygna suits, and according to the recent developer message, “Many sync pairs that haven’t debuted yet are on their way, and [the developers are] working to ensure that sync pairs in sygna suits and seasonal outfits will appear more frequently than before.” Both question 3, “What aspects of Pokémon Masters would you like to be improved,” and question 5, “What kind of content are you hoping for in the future,” included answers about new sync pairs, sygna suits, and seasonal outfits.

But, especially for question 5, all of the responses were of features that we knew would be on their way, as they had been discussed in prior developer messages. This included “New content based on Legendary Pokémon (Legendary Arena),” which we now have live and has been hyped up leading up to its release, and “The introduction of event achievement items as battle rewards (medals),” which were added to the game in the update prior to the most recent developer message. There was even content that is now confirmed to be coming up by the newest message—”Content based on characters like the Elite Four and Champions,” again hinted at in previous messages before being recently confirmed, “Pokémon Egg events,” and, of course, “Seasonal sync pairs,” “Sygna suit sync pairs,” and “Sync pairs that have not yet appeared in the game.” Even for these final three, sync pairs have to be planned out in advance—the development team could not just see the results of the survey and say, “Well, it’s time to shift into maximum overdrive and start churning out the sygna suits.” In short, the survey asked about features that were already planned to be implemented, and likely wanted player input as to which should be prioritized.

Which leads me to my main point—one of the responses for question 3 read: “I’d like to be able to change my favorite Trainers’ outfits and hairstyles.” Um, hello? Yes please! I hope you all picked this one—not just because I love customizing characters’ clothes, but because this could be the answer to our concerns. Sygna suits need to be unique to warrant players spending gems on them—and if you already have one canon iteration of a Trainer, it becomes significantly harder to justify spending gems, or even real money, to scout for another canon iteration of the same Trainer… and even worse if they have the same Pokémon like Cheren above! Sygna suits will be made even more special if a cosmetic or costume system is implemented that allows regular sync pairs to be dressed up at the player’s leisure. If you want the more exclusive, unique-to-Masters design, you need to fork over the gems—but you still are given the opportunity to customize your regular sync pairs as you please.

Players being able to create their “dream team” consisting of their favorite Trainers and Pokémon is a Masters goal frequently brought up in the developer messages, and this kind of costume system only enhances that. In addition, if costumes are free-to-earn, similar to the newly-added medals, it makes the entire system a win-win for players and the developers alike—the special sygna suits keep players spending while the costume system keeps players playing, happily engaged with the game. And if the costume system is taken a step further—the “outfits and hairstyles” of the survey being separate entities—you may even be able to fully customize your favorite Trainers. Imagine a Sabrina with her outfit from HeartGold and SoulSilver and her long hair from FireRed and LeafGreen, or Grimsley donning his Black and White clothes with his two-tone hair from Sun and Moon.

Some fantastic official guest art of our new risk-taking sync pair.

Considering Cheren’s growing importance in the main story of Masters, I can imagine his Black and White “costume” being given for free at a certain point in the story as a way to introduce the concept to players, similar to the free Sygna Suit Brock. Misty in her FireRed and LeafGreen swimsuit is also present in the game files, and as another free unit may receive similar treatment. Considering Hoopa also plays a key role in the story and is able to traverse through space—and perhaps even time and universes, considering Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire‘s use of classic music in some of Hoopa’s rings and its references to alternate universes—perhaps Hoopa will take part in the in-universe justification for the timeline-bending costume system. All in all, Sun and Moon fans should not fret over the appearance of Sygna Suit Grimsley. Considering everything else mentioned in the May 2020 survey was already in development, there is a good chance we will be seeing a costume system soon, and with it, receiving the best of both worlds—canonical costumes for your regular sync pairs alongside one-of-a-kind sygna suits.

Edited by bobandbill and Sheep.