It actually happened, Pokemon fans – we finally got confirmation of fourth generation remakes. Not only that, but there’s going to be an open-world Pokemon game next year. While only time will tell if Pokemon Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl, and Legends: Arceus are actually good, for now, it feels as if we’ve checked off two big boxes. It’s enough to keep superfans happy and bring hope to those who were getting sick of Pokemon. But where do we go from here? What issue can we complain about? What hashtag can we possibly rally behind now? Easy, we need Pokemon Black & White remakes.
Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum are pretty universally loved among Pokemon fans. The Sinnoh region offers some of the best starter Pokemon of all time, fun side activities like the Underground, and new evolutions for beloved classic ‘mons. In contrast, Unova’s starters are some of the most criticized Pokemon designs, players didn’t go wild over Pokemon Musicals or PokeStar Studios, and the Gen V Dex replaced many fan-favorites with new critters. It’s no wonder people clamored for Sinnoh remakes but not Unova. That said, Gen V remakes could be the ultimate redemption story.
In reality, the things Game Freak focused on in Gen V are the exact things Pokemon fans hate about the franchise’s current direction. Black & White brought in 150 entirely new Pokemon, with the goal being to freshen up the usual journey. No longer would there be an infestation of Zubat and Geodude in every cave. No longer would Charizard constantly steal the show. Unova also took the action out of Japan and to a region based on the USA. It was a true Pokemon journey filled with mystery and adventure, just like in the old days.
This journey into the unknown had the side effect of upping the difficulty. Experienced players couldn’t count on knowing the types of a Pokemon because they’d seen it before. It was back to the guessing game of getting a read on the opponent’s Pokemon based on appearance. Black 2 & White 2 took it further by adding the franchise’s first actual hard mode. We haven’t seen it since, and many feel its absence as the games throw in more tutorials to be as kid-friendly as possible.
Finally, Gen V made a real attempt at telling a more mature Pokemon story. It asks the question of whether keeping Pokemon in balls is right, and how dangerous it would be to send a child out on a journey to collect wild animals. It also ages up the protagonists to teenagers, to make it just a bit more viable. The power of friendship does still win in the end, and the morality themes aren’t too deeply explored, but it was still the most ambitious Pokemon has ever been with its story.
Unfortunately, Pokemon Black & White released at a rather awkward time for the franchise. It was 14 years after Red & Blue, long after the initial craze died down. But it was also well before Pokemon Go and nostalgic millennials brought it back. This caused many who grew up with the series to take one look, go “they made an ice cream Pokemon?” and decide they hated everything about Gen V. That stigma persists today, although the woes of Sword & Shield are starting to make some fans reconsider older games.
That’s why now is the perfect time to remake Pokemon Black & White, and maybe throw in Black 2 & White 2 for good measure. The Gen IV remake dream has been achieved, so it makes sense for Gen V to follow soon after. And with the franchise experiencing a new renaissance, the most controversial PokeDex could get a second chance. Since newer games have introduced sentient cake and a fake Pikachu, trash and ice cream don’t seem so weird anymore.
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Sergio is the Lead News Editor for TheGamer. But usually he asks people to call him “Serg” because he wants to sound cool like the guy from System of a Down. He began as a convention reporter for FLiP Magazine and Albany Radio’s The Shaw Report to get free badges to Comic-Con. Eventually he realized he liked talking to game developers and discovering weird new indie games. Now he brings that love of weird games to TheGamer, where he tries to talk about them in clickable ways so you grow to love them too. When he’s not stressing over how to do that, he’s a DM, Cleric of Bahamut, cosplay boyfriend, and occasional actor.
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