The Future For Pokemon Variants?
Pokemon variants, better known as regional forms, have become more and more popular in recent years. First introduced in Sun and Moon, regional variants have played off of our knowledge and care for Pokemon of previous generations, shifting their typology, aesthetic, and movesets to make us invested in the same Pokemon multiple times and in different forms.
Alolan variants featured a number of Pokemon changed to have the Dark-type, such as a mustachioed Ratatat or flamboyant Meowth, and created strange looks for some old-school classics, such as a Dugtrio with flowing, blonde locks. Galarian variants have been slightly less goofy, though there are certainly some standouts, like Wheezing in a tophat. Rather, these have focused on revitalizing less popular Pokemon and creating new evolutions for some, like Perrserker and Mr. Rime. Notably, a vast majority of these variants have stemmed from the original cast of 151. There are definitely some Pokemon hailing from new generations, specifically in the Galarian cast, but they are certainly the minority.
Which begs the question; how long will players have to wait before we see an updated, reinterpreted Pokemon Red and Blue featuring a cast of regional variant Pokemon? This may seem like an absurd concept to some, but I see no reason why we couldn’t see this down the road. As I said, the original cast has by far gotten the most attention in this regard thus far, and there are more slated to be revealed for Sword and Shield come the DLC packs. Becoming a popular and easy way to revitalize the game rather than come up with entirely new Pokemon, Nintendo has clearly leaped at the opportunity to make more. “But how would you have a game featuring variants from different regions?” some may ask. Simple; have the map be various islands from different regions that you move between, either via bridges, boats, or planes (so as to not limit your Pokemon team make-up). Each region could have a different terrain type (ie Alolan is a sandy, beach-focused island, Galarian is grassy and more inland), allowing for visually unique areas for players to explore as well as maintaining their own Pokemon populations. “Clearly there aren’t enough Pokemon variants yet!” others may say, and that’s fair. I think we won’t see this happening for at least 1 more generation, maybe 2, but I don’t expect to have to wait very long for this eventuality. There’s already such a push to see more of them, it’s only a matter of time.
Personally, I’m very excited at the prospect of this. Revitalizing the original cast, making a new, colorful map of islands, yet still revisiting those same nostalgic themes. What’s not to love? Many new Pokemon games have divided the fanbase, whereas I feel this would have something for everyone. That being said, what do you think? Would you be on-board with a Pokemon game featuring a cast of variants, or do you prefer seeing new Pokemon each generation? Let me know your thoughts down below!