And now, a report from the Video Game Marketing Blitz Festival Thing.
(Of course, there were the two new Pokémon that we saw before these ones, but I’m going to wait to get more officially translated information before passing comment on them. The pun names are so very important to the contextualization.)
One of the real benefits of their choice of demonstration for Sun/Moon – a live playthrough of a very early section of the game – is that for those of us who live on the Internet, we get to experience something that we have been missing for almost two decades: a sense of mystery, of not knowing just what Pokémon will appear when we step in the tall grass. We have to know pretty much everything we can before the game comes out (or, at least, I do a lot of the time), so that feeling that you’ll be discovering something new has just sort of faded away – but thanks to the E3 demonstration, we at least got to experience that vicariously. The excitement was PALPABLE, on both sides of the screen.
So yes, there was that. There were also the Pokémon themselves, a trio of early ones – not generally the most interesting, but the ones you’ll be seeing a lot regardless. Even so, they can be likeable and cute enough to warrant attention, and I think these three certainly qualify.
Pikipek appeared in prototype form in the reveal trailer four months ago (wow, it has been four months already), and like I said with Popplio last time, it’s one of those ideas you suddenly realize they hadn’t got to yet – a woodpecker. And Pikipek is basically a cute lil’ woodpecker, with the appropriate markings and colouring, so the idea is evidently served well so far, with a thematically appropriate ability to boot. Nothing about its description thus far suggests that it’ll change to anything particularly radical (no big type changes, I reckon, although its ability to attack with projectile seeds sounds like it may become something), but they’ve been good about differentiating the typical early birds in previous games, and with a new sort of look and concept to work with, I imagine the Pikipek family will offer something interesting going forward.
Yungoos was certainly the the best possible new Pokémon to show up first in the demonstration – I mean, look at it! I don’t they’ve ever introduced a Pokémon so adorably vicious, and everything from its design to its attacks and abilities seem thoughtfully crafted to produce a mean little jerk (although, despite not being particularly powerful overall, the regional small mammal have had a tendency to be rather annoyingly ruthless – this is just the first time it’s been codified in the visuals.) These things are going to be showing up a lot in the game, so it’s good that it’s so much fun to look at.
The basis for this Pokémon is also intriguing – although for variety reasons the developers have usually veered away from trying to link too many creatures to things from the real life basis for the region (most of the new Pokémon in X/Y weren’t specifically related to France, for example), there will usually be a few that are – and this is an interesting one, as mongooses were introduced to Hawaii to drive down the populations of an invasive rat population, only to become invasive species themselves. This is one of the only times we’ve seen ecological concept like invasive species referenced in Pokémon, and since I have an interest in the subject, it’s good to see – it’s not like I expect the games to correctly reproduce the complexities of real life biology/ecology, but it definitely adds something when they are acknowledged. Pokémon are fantasy animals, but it’s fun when fantasy animals still seem to work like real animals in some ways.
Yungoos’ description mentions that it was introduced to curtail “a certain other Pokémon”, and the wording of that makes me think that this is referencing another new Pokémon we haven’t seen yet. Of course, it could still be an existing Pokémon and they’re just being coy, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it turned out to be the former. As mentioned, mongooses were introduced to Hawaii in order to deal with rats, and we haven’t had a proper rat Pokémon in a long time – but if they want to be really clever with the invasive species theme, why not go for one of the other most destructive invasive species on the planet?
It’s actually sort of odd to see all three of a new generation’s early Pokémon niches filled so early in the games’ news cycle, but hey, these are all the most common ones we’ll be seeing, so might as well show them now. We’ve had many insect larvae over the years, but once again we get something they’ve somehow missed out, a straight up grub. Grubs are the larval form of beetles, if we’re gonna start looking forward, but that may or may not mean anything. Like Pikipek, Grubbin seems to fulfill it’s calling well enough, with a look that differentiates it from previous larval insects – it’s not the most exciting stuff we’ll see, but you need to have a sane ground level before you start going nuts with the creature designs and concepts. That doesn’t leave much to say at this point, but what’re ya’ gonna do?
Speaking of concepts, it’s description also has some interesting ideas for possible evolutions – its love of electricity seems a pretty obvious indicator (most of the previous insect Pokémon have pretty blatant themes throughout their stages, although certainly with some variation.) If it is indeed going to become beetle, having that electrical theme around might be a good way to give it something unique over previous beetle Pokémon.