Pokémon should focus on ‘regional forms’ instead of ‘regional fakes’

Nintendo / Game Freak
Nintendo / Game Freak /

Pokémon have made a habit of including “regional fakes” in mainline games that are less creative than previously developed “regional forms”.

The concept of regional fakes is one that the Pokémon community is still getting used to. They are a deviation from the idea of regional forms that is supposed to come off as “creative”, and yet, my initial perception of them is one of bewilderment rather than enthusiasm. The designs put forth both in the base Scarlet and Violet games as well as the Teal Mask DLC have, in my opinion, been rather awkward and forced by and large, and their inclusion is confusing considering the game’s previous success with regional forms.

Over the course of many main series and spin-off games, Game Freak has introduced regional forms that have provided fresh takes on well-known designs that have rejuvenated some old favorites. One of the most successful to date has been the introduction of Alolan Vulpix, which really plays into the idea of different creatures belonging to the same overall species existing in the Pokémon world based on their environment. The design is that of an arctic fox which complements the original red fox counterpart in Vulpix’s original design, which makes complete sense.

Taking the idea behind Toedscool and Toedscruel however, we see an evident call-back to the Tentacool and Tentacruel lines, with the “fresh take” being based on these regional fakes as a type of “ground fungus”, and in truth not being related to the original line they are based on at all. The design and explanation strike me as Game Freak trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

We see a similar Pokemon come to the fore with Sinistcha and Poltchageist that appear in the first portion of Scarlet and Violet’s DLC: The Teal Mask. These two are based, the the most rudimentary sense, around the concept of matcha tea and are a dual grass and ghost type. While far more forgivable than the aforementioned Toadstool and Toedscruel line, they one again draw from a previous Pokémon, Sinistea, for their inspiration.

I may be in the minority regarding this, but this comes off as rather un-creative as opposed to Game Freak trying to be cute and innovative. It almost feels as if the community has been robbed of a slot in the Kitakami Pokédex that could have been held by something truly “new”.

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Because of this, it perhaps makes more sense for Game Freak to focus on regional forms instead. They add to the story and lore behind existing Pokémon and make them multi dimensional creatures that are affected by their environments. They feel far less awkward and less forced than perhaps some of the concepts we’ve seem come to fruition in the newest main line games and the DLC.

I don’t expect Game Freak to stop producing these concepts now that the cat is out of the bag, but I hope that they do not become the new standard, and that the company returns to making creative Pokémon for players to discover that have a more seamless place in the lore and environments we will explore in future games.