From Pokémon Rouge to Arceus: A Look at the Incredible Evolution of the Nintendo License

Pokémon Legends Arceus breathed a real breath of fresh air into the entire Pokémon license. And what seemed like a small digression turned out to be the starting point for a big revival of the entire franchise, which was confirmed during the latest Pokémon Presents. We have the opportunity to return to the evolution of this legendary video license, the script of which you can find below.


  • Fixed formula
  • Let’s go: the beginning of change
  • Arceus: wind of freedom
  • Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: more freedom, less RPG
  • Pokémon World Tour

Fixed formula

You couldn’t help but notice the Pokémon phenomenon. For more than 25 years of existence, this franchise has united over $110 billion in revenue worldwide. An impressive number that makes it the most profitable franchise (all media combined) of all time.

Of course, there are cards, derivative products, cartoons in the lot, but video games play the most part of the bet. If it’s no surprise that derivatives are far ahead (with $82 billion in revenue anyway), games have grossed nearly $27 billion. In other words, it is a working industry. Recall that Pokémon is the fourth best-selling video game license in the world. And behind this success lies a very effective recipe that has been repeated over and over again over the years.

Everyone knows the principle: you come to the region, choose a starter and meet an opponent. What follows is a series of fights and Pokémon capture sessions in tall grass to build the strongest team, win the famous league and become the best trainer.

This is for the structure, but what does it provide at the gameplay level? well we are sure good old JRPG. Everything is! The initial quest, the Japanese universe and team battles are interspersed with the classic turn-based system. In addition to this familiar combination, you can add the importance of types, one-on-one (or more) confrontations, a capture and hunt system, some concepts about breeding, and, above all, cute little creatures with different statistics. You mix it all up and you have a winning Pokemon formula.

It’s simple, for almost twenty years all opuses have worked like this, never making serious differences. (except for the emergence of new generations of Pokémon). Shame on a license that wastes its time developing little monsters, right?

To be sure, small improvements have been made over the years, especially as they move from one generation to the next. Thus, the second generation of Pokémon introduced the ability to reproduce their favorite little monsters, as well as the concept of happiness and objects to hold. The next one reworked the stats and added passive abilities specific to each Pokémon. Then there was the classification of attacks, the emergence of hidden talents, the arrival of Mega Evolutions, the creation of new types, and so on.

As you already understood, each opus contributed its own little stone to the building in order to improve the Pokemon formula. But fundamentally the latter has not changed. A point that also bored many players of the first hour. But there are still many of them to be delighted with each announcement and to be present as soon as a new opus is released.

And yes, despite the rejection of some, the frozen pokemon formula works and the various titles are always sold by the shovel. And yet, despite the good numbers, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company have taken a number of risks in recent years. Target ? Innovate and finally develop this legendary license.

Let’s go: the beginning of change

As we said before, the Pokémon formula has long been sacred. And yet, after Pokémon Ultra-Sun and Ultra-Moon, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company are playing a surprise card with Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu and his companion Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee. At first glance, this is just a remake of the 1998 Game Boy Color game Pokémon Yellow Version. But no! This new opus presents different gameplay based on the capture method of the mobile game Pokémon GO.

Between Mystery Dungeons, Rangers, Snaps and Stadiums, not forgetting puzzle games, party games or beat’em all, Pokémon has always offered side games. The franchise continues to produce them, as does Pokémon Unite or Pokémon Masters EX. But never has a spin-off game influenced another from the main series. In this way, Pokémon GO acts like a real juggernaut in every sense of the word.

Pokémon GO has become a real phenomenon, a revolution even for many. It’s simple, you couldn’t miss all those trainers walking the streets glued to their phones. I must say, the promise was crazy: to become a life-size Pokémon trainer. No wonder this game has been (and continues to be) played by millions.

But back to our Moomoutons (and Pokémon Let’s Go). The latter not only offered us we ourselves launch our pokeballs, but also introduced a simpler and more accessible system for gaining experience, agriculture declined sharply. While the structure remains fairly classic, these gameplay novelties shake up the hitherto unchanged formula to attract new audiences.

If only the system of gaining experience continued in the following opuses, Pokémon Let’s Go was a defining moment in the history of the license. With this opus, Game Freak realized that it was possible to play a little with the already installed codes of their flagship license. And four years later, the studio will have a field day.

From Pokémon Rouge to Arceus: A Look at the Incredible Evolution of the Nintendo License

Arceus: wind of freedom

Because if Pokémon Let’s Go paved the way for change, it was Pokémon Legends Arceus who broke the doors to hit the anthill hard. Whether you like the game or not, there’s no denying that it has revolutionized the entire formula. Farewell to the corridors of conductors and hello to the great plains that can be explored without restrictions. An approach that Game Freak has previously experimented with with Wildlands in Pokémon Sword/Shield.

These vast natural areas forced the player to roam endlessly and catch Pokémon in abundance. Between lakes, desert areas, caves and other green trails, there was enough to satisfy the dreams of the most adventurous players. We might even do camping! And given the various reviews, Game Freak was interested in pushing the license in that direction.

Thus was born Legends Arceus, the first “open world” Pokémon. Long awaited by the players, it carried an insane promise: inhale a breath of freedom on licenses with a structure sewn with white threads. And at this level the report is unanimous. It works ! So yes, the game isn’t very pretty and has its flaws, but the large open areas don’t really make much of a difference and even manage to reconcile some players with the license.

And fortunately! Because if Pokémon Legends Arceus was a separate opus with new sensations, then in the end it would seem that it was created for set the tone for the future license.

From Pokémon Rouge to Arceus: A Look at the Incredible Evolution of the Nintendo License

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: more freedom, less RPG

February 27, The Pokémon Company has lifted the veil on the ninth generation of Pokémon. Scheduled for the end of the year, it is on the Arceus direct line. The name will really suggest to us a real open world to explore. In short, Arceus is better. Forget about transitions between zones and roam the new vast region without restrictions, that’s what the publisher promises us.

One would expect the Arceus formula to form a parallel series, like Mystery Dungeons in particular. But with Pokémon Scarlet/Purple, the Pokémon company persists and signs: the future of Pokémon will be placed under the sign of freedom. So we can now see Pokémon Legends Arceus as a beta, which should prepare for the arrival of a new recurring formula.

If we look at where the license is headed in terms of freedom, there is one point that is still unresolved. And the RPG branch? A fundamental point of the license’s DNA, it was an indent in Arceus. If this was due to the script and the very specific approach of this Pokémon, it is impossible to know what will happen to the Pokémon Scarlet and Purple. To see if this updated freedom will be synonymous with less RPG.

In any case, it is clear that The Pokémon Company intends to continue developing the license, as it has done for several years. Therefore, we can expect other new gameplay features to be improved. which promises to be the new Pokémon formula.

From Pokémon Rouge to Arceus: A Look at the Incredible Evolution of the Nintendo License

Pokémon World Tour

But it’s not just the gameplay that has changed in Pokémon. Whoever says new generation is actually saying new monsters to catch. And here, too, there is room for some assumptions. Today, each new generation is entitled to its own little region inspired by a country other than Japan. If this may seem like a small thing, this is a significant and fairly recent change.

For nearly 15 years, Pokémon games have been limited to regions inspired by their homeland: Japan. 15 years is more than half of the license term. So when, in 2011, Pokémon Black and White takes us to Unys, clearly inspired by the city of New York in the United States, it’s a shock. And yet it is quickly becoming the norm. Then we get the rights to the episodes “Pokemon in France”, “Pokemon in Hawaii”, “Pokemon in England” … As you can see, each opus made us travel to a new region of the world. And so it could be before the disappearance of Pokémon.

As for the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, everything suggests that they will take us to Spain. If nothing is official, the announcement trailer gave us big clues in that direction. We have decorations, of course, and especially this monument, which is reminiscent of the famous Sagrada Familia, as well as the appearance of maps of the Iberian Peninsula.

If for you this may be a trifle, then for Pokemon it means a lot. Pokémon depend on their location. If we found Moumoutons in Sword/Shield, we could very well find Tautauro or other Pokémon inspired by the fauna and flora of the Hispanic region. So the bets can get going and it’s up to you to decide which Pokémon you represent for this new generation. and even those who will come, who knows.

And don’t forget to stay connected at JV to follow the evolution of Pokémon, one of Nintendo’s most iconic console licenses!

From Pokémon Rouge to Arceus: A Look at the Incredible Evolution of the Nintendo License

About Pokémon Scarlet/Purple

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