Pokemon has so far made three jumps in terms of “open world” play in the form of Sword/Shield, Legends Arceus, and Scarlet/Violet, each of which as brought a new phase of open world development to the series.
As we observe the Pokemon game series, I think its safe to say that we’re living in a critical moment of the franchise’s development; one will chart the course for its development for many years to come. This phase, is one that many avid fans of the franchise, such as myself, have dreamed of since we were children.
There is no doubt in my mind that at some point in time throughout the community’s youth, there was an earnest yearning for an open world Pokemon game; one that would allow the player to explore the world without general restriction, and to make every play through more unique than the linear progression we’re so used to with the games prior to Scarlet and Violet.
Don’t get me wrong, the games of old were great, still captivating the minds of their players with the regions we were able to explore and Pokemon we were able to meet. They always left me wanting more freedom to explore however, and more diversity in terms of choice of path(s) to take. The development of the games since the dawn of Sword and Shield has been slowly moving us in that direction. In Scarlet and Violet, we now have a game that effectively allows the player to chart their own course and choose where to go and who to challenge first in terms of opponents.
That being said, having had almost a year now with the game, its clear that, while the development between the Sword/Shield, Legends Arceus, and Scarlet/Violet has come far, the recipe Game Freak is looking for is still incomplete. Each one of these titles has made improvements on the concept, and has something to offer towards future titles, so lets take a look at each and explore what they did right, and where their shortcomings can help truly bring us into the era of next generation, open world Pokemon games.