I’ve spent most of the day out in Fullerton covering a Project Rebound event for a story I’ll be publishing in the Daily Titan’s first issue insert on Monday. The event started at 9 a.m. so I had to get up pretty early to drive out, and then devote plenty of time to covering what was happening.
Frankly, I’m pretty tired after finishing it all and could use a bit of a break before jumping into more interview transcription. I’ve probably transcribed close to 2 and a half hours with of speech in the last couple of days so I’m a bit burned out on it.
Luckily, Pokémon has me covered in the quick distraction department.
The reveal of Lycanroc’s Dusk Form earlier this month was the first really substantial piece of information we learned regarding the upcoming releases of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. However, more new information was apparently dropped during the Opening Ceremony for the 2017 Pokémon World Championships today.
And you know I’m all over talking about anything and everything Pokémon.
So if you’re anything like me and down to put the upcoming semester’s work down for a bit, let’s journey into some new business regarding our second venture into Alola.
Just like old times, I figured I should keep the actual information of this under a read more in case people don’t want to be spoiled as they scroll down to whatever Fire Emblem-based ramblings I’ve put up recently.
The information I’m going to go over comes from three separate videos that I’ll link out to. The first, with a lot of the more diverse yet somewhat vague news, can be seen here if you’re interested (not planning on embedding the videos anymore as despite the convenience, that seems to just deactivate and force you to go somewhere else anyway).
The New Adventure
We’ve known that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is planning on having different story elements since it was first announced. However, the degree to which the new titles will be different from their recently released predecessors has been a little hazy. Will the games essentially be a re-hash of Sun and Moon with some new cutscenes thrown in? Or will they follow their own path and tell a new story in the same region?
While we weren’t necessarily given a complete answer to this question in the first details video here, I would argue there’s enough to have some hope that things will be new enough to keep the Alolan veterans interested.
The trailer shows off brand new environmental locations that weren’t seen in Sun and Moon, including a sort of ethereal forest and a building in Hau’oli City where an empty paved lot was previously being worked on by a Machamp. This change alone could indicate a number of things, though the most logical options in my opinion are either that this game takes place some time in the future or that there are simply a number of features set to be included that Game Freak wasn’t able to implement for the first game’s deadline.
I’d be willing to wager on the latter more than the prior in this case given some other details we got, but I’ll get into those soon enough.
We also got to see snippets of new cutscenes featuring an Alolan Vulpix, some Alolan Exeggutor, Elite Four member Kahili and Pokemon League Champion challenger Ryuki. The fact that Kahili and Ryuki are getting more story inclusion this time around is one of the things that gives me hope for Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon being truly worthy titles in their own rights.
The golfing Flying-type Elite Four member just seemed to come out of nowhere in Sun and Moon with not much more than a post-game conversation at her family’s resort, and the musically inclined Dragon-type using challenger frankly only came across as a confusing addition who didn’t quite fit in anywhere. Now it seems we’ll hopefully get more background on both, as well as potentially more characters down the line.
It’s also fair to note that at one point in the trailer a Rockruff seems to excitedly follow a player toward the beginning of the game. Whether this is a static included model at that part of the route or evidence that Pokémon following ala Heartgold and Soulsilver is yet to be seen.
But I do personally hope it’s the latter.
A New Look
Both the Alolan map and the character models for Sun and Moon appear to have gotten a face lift for the Ultra games.
The map of Alola is primarily the same aside from a few notable key details. The first and most obvious one is the dark portal above Poni Island that was focused on in the video to promote “new secrets of Alola” being revealed in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. This portal could be related to the Ultra Beasts, which are known to come from another dimension through a somewhat similar portal, but considering Necrozma seems like he’ll be getting more of a focus in these games, I’d be willing to bet the portal will be related to him specifically.
Though, is Necrozma an Ultra Beast itself? We never got a full answer to the question, so I suppose we’ll have to play and see.
The other element to note here is the strange coloration of the water. Like with Dusk Form Lycanroc, it seems as though Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will focus more on the twilight hours of the day if the coloration in the new Alola map is any indication. Yet, some parts of the map are strangely blue, namely around the bottom of Poni Island and around the waterway where you meet Grimsley in the first game.
Though I get the feeling this is just done for effect to show the progressive shift from day to night, the boundaries are strange enough that it could be worth noting as a possible thing of importance for the near future.
Oh, and this might just be me, but I swear this cloud on the right side of the boundaries looks just like a gigantic Gyarados statue.
The other major appearance change the video touches upon is for the main characters. We know these characters are still the protagonists from the first games because they’re given the label of ‘a new look’ rather than ‘new heroes,’ but I’m wondering whether this is an indication that the characters will only be getting updated clothing or whether this means the developers have opened up more for them in regards to things like plot or characterization.
Oh, and the video also mentions Lycanroc’s new form again but doesn’t offer much more about it. So… Yeah. Moving on.
The Alola Photo Club
So here’s an interesting new detail we got to find out about through an interview Game Informer did with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon director Kazumasa Iwao: The new games will include a fairly fleshed out photography section.
As a matter of fact, it seems like the studio is that building that was being built in Hau’oli in Sun and Moon based on some of the footage in the first video I linked out to.
The photography in the Alola Photo Club seems like it embodies a similar vein to the Trainer PR system in X and Y, where you can dress up your character and your Pokémon to take pictures together rather than shooting a video.
While this feature seems interesting enough for me to probably shoot myself with my main team once the game comes out, I probably won’t spend an exorbitant amount of time using it. Though the fact that different gear and items will be unlock able over time and the fact that you may be prompted to take photos after special events like evolutions might make the feature cute enough to have a bit more sticking power. Who knows.
Alright, so overarching news here is that we have new exclusive Z-Moves confirmed to be coming. That’s super exciting, even if right now we only know about one such exclusive move. Just knowing there’s a possibility for more to come on the horizon frankly makes me a bit giddy, as Z-Moves were a super interesting way to shake up team building for more competitive means.
However… I would be remiss not to talk about the Z-Move we learned about specifically.
Kommo-o got a little bit shafted in Sun and Moon, if you ask me. Sure he specifically appeared as the final Island Challenge Totem Pokémon before you run into the game’s legendaries, but the fact that he was so isolated there was a little disappointing. Especially since his power wasn’t quite as enthralling as many believed it would be upon seeing his design.
While the move takes half a billion years to activate, the aesthetic of having a musical riff under the name and his neat little dance before unleashing a supernova of sound onto his opponents is just extra enough to be absolutely incredible.
Plus, he takes down a Salamance and a Garchomp in one shot from with the attack. I know they’re both weak to it because it’s a Dragon-type move, but it’s still savage to see both those monsters taken down as quickly as they were.
Oh, and did I mention he gets buffs across all of his stats after using it? Yeah, if that’s not enough to make Kommo-o viable, I don’t know what is.
Also an interesting tidbit that I saw a few people point out comes from the fact that it seems like the life bar has changed for Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Whether that’s the first of many UI changes or not is something we’ll have to see going forward.
That’s all I’ve got for this Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon update, and boy does it feel good to be back in the swing of things with these. Hopefully I won’t get too busy and start to miss them now that school is starting up again like I did a few semesters back…
How do you feel about any or all of the changes I talked about here today? In case it wasn’t too obvious I’m pretty excited for all of them, since Pokémon is the kind of game that can get me excited really no matter what.
With that said, I’m gunna sign off here and get back to work so I can hit my deadlines. Look forward to some actual work-and-school-related posts coming down the pipeline soon.