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What to Expect in Pokémon Z

Updated on February 24, 2016
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Nigel has been playing video games ever since he first picked up a Master System controller in his diapers. Nintendo fanboy.

A fan-concept of what the Pokemon Z Box art could look like, according to Reddit.
A fan-concept of what the Pokemon Z Box art could look like, according to Reddit. | Source

Let's Clear Things Up First:

Okay. As of this writing, there is NO clarification that any game called "Pokémon Z" will exist. No word exists on the existence of "Pokémon X2 and Y2." The newest rumor about a 20th anniversary game called "Pokémon Rainbow" is also just pure speculation, hinted at by people claiming to know someone on the inside of Nintendo of America, who for reasons cannot be identified. In fact, the roots of all these rumors and "inside sources" come from people who so far, have not been considered reliable sources of information. With that said, the idea that there will be a game called Pokémon Z is pure speculation at best, and there is a possibility that no game to accompany Pokemon X or Y will ever be released.

That said, it is reasonable to expect there to be so, for the following reasons:

  1. Every main series Pokémon game has seen a third installment (Yellow, Crystal, Emerald, Platinum) or follow-up (Black 2 and White 2).
  2. Recently a pattern has been established as to how often we see either a new entry into the mainline series games, a remake, or a third installment/follow-up. That is three years on, and one year off. Last year was a year off, after three years of Pokémon Black 2/White 2, X/Y and ORAS (Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire). So it seems reasonable to think we'll see something this year.
  3. Usually, while announcements about new Pokémon games come almost a year in advance, but for third installments or follow-ups, there is only a few months between announcement and release. This means we could see an announcement at E3 and still have the game on market by September. Of course, that could change if they decide to release internationally at the same time as they release in Japan.

Now, there have been a lot of expectations for what could or should be in Pokémon Z, should it come into existence. Here's my list of realistic expectations for the series, rather than a "wish list" and "demands" everyone wants to make for it.

#1: No new Mega Evolutions

No. Mega Flygon is not going to happen in Pokémon Z. Nor will any other new mega. As this is a companion/expansion to X and Y, and compatible with Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, adding more mega-evolutions would mean only people who have Z would be able to use them competitively. I mean, Nintendo could always update X/Y and ORAS to accommodate the new mega evolutions, but they haven't even updated X/Y to accommodate for the mega evolutions introduced in ORAS. This means that if even more Mega Evolutions were introduced in Z, Competitive players would only be allowed to play against other Pokémon Z players online.

Official art for Mega Mewtwo X and Y
Official art for Mega Mewtwo X and Y | Source

#1b: Mega Evolutions from ORAS

It is however, perfectly reasonable to expect megas introduced in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to be compatible with Pokemon Z. While there may be no "Mega Mewtwo Z" coming in, I imagine you could get both Charizardite X and Y and both Mewtwonites in Z. That seems like a reasonable expectation for me.

"Do you know what you just did? You've taken your first step into Kanto!"
"Do you know what you just did? You've taken your first step into Kanto!" | Source

#2: No Multiple Regions

There's been a lot of demand for multiple regions ever since Gold and Silver introduced the ability to return to the Kanto region (which was the unnamed region from the original Red and Blue games). In that particular region, it made perfect sense since not only did those regions share the same Elite Four and Champion, but the level progression wouldn't have hampered gameplay too much.

In X and Y they altered the experience mechanics significantly however. Now your monsters gain experience when capturing pokémon, and Exp Share doesn't split experience anymore, but rather, gives participating pokémon full experience points, and gives all non-participatiing 'mons 50% experience each. This means by the time you face the Kalos Elite Four, you could easily already be near levels 70 or 80. The lowest level I've ever been on a playthrough, with Exp Share turned off, is level 64 (in my defence, I made sure to capture every single pokémon possible and to evolve them all during my travels, getting as close to a living pokédex as possible in that time, which takes time and grinds a lot of experience.)

Of course, they could change the mechanics to something more akin to Black and White, where you'd earn less experience when competing against lower leveled pokémon, making experience earning more difficult. But they'd have to adjust every opponent you'd face in the game accordingly and it still might not be enough. By the time you faced off against the Elite Four in a second region, you'd certainly have several level 100 monsters.

Of course, I'd love to see a Pokémon game with all the main series regions included. And it's possible provided that when you arrive at a new region, pokémon are leveled accordingly to as if you just started the game, so you could train up new 'mons if you choose. But I don't expect that in Pokémon Z, and would actually prefer that to occur in a new, non-canon game. Perhaps a console Pokémon series based on the anime as a possibility (which is also not likely to ever happen, but would be nice.)

The recently announced legendary pokémon Magearna
The recently announced legendary pokémon Magearna | Source

#3: New Legendaries

We do know, thanks to hacking, that Volcanion will be compatible with X/Y and likely ORAS when it is released. That's great news. But in many of the companion games, such as Platinum and Black 2/White 2, there were some event pokémon exclusive to those versions, such as Darkrai and Shaymin (which were eventually made available in Diamond and Pearl as mystery gifts, but could only be captured via items in Platinum).

It is possible that Magearna could be one such pokémon that premieres in Pokémon Z. It is also possible that Volcanion, since we know he's linked to Magearna in the upcoming movie, could debut in Z and then later be made available to X/Y and Oras.

Ash's Greninja should not be expected outside of Japan. Nor should anyone expect the Zygarde alternative forms. It is my prediction that those will remain anime exclusive, as adding the sub-plot about collecting Zygarde cells would probably be too much to include in the game. However, the 100% version may appear via item to combine Xygarde, Yveltal, and Zygarde into one Pokémon. But that's a really big if since apparently Game Freak thought we were smart enough to use Island Passes, but too dumb to figure out the Azure Flute.

Battle Frontier Easter Egg in ORAS
Battle Frontier Easter Egg in ORAS | Source

#4: New Battle Frontier (sort of)

Okay, I do think the Battle Maison will still be around. However, in most accompanying third part games they do introduce new post-game battle zones that weren't available previously, such as Black Tower and White Tree, Pokemon World Tournament (Black 2 and White 2, which accompanied the Battle Subway) and The Battle Frontier introduced in Emerald to accompany the Battle Tower. The battle tower itself was also introduced in Crystal. Now, it might not be exactly the Battle Frontier or a challenge tower. But I do expect new battle areas to pop up in Kiloude City to accompany the Battle Maison. What they might look like is anyone's guess, but while the Battle Frontier returning is a longshot, it would be reasonable to expect new ways to test your mettle as a trainer, especially if you're a competitive IV/EV trainer.

While I don't expect a remake of Emerald, if there is one, I'd expect a battle frontier to appear there, as it was hinted at in ORAS, which would be pretty cool.

What About You?

These are just my predictions for what Pokémon Z will actually be like. While I think some of these features would be great, I'm just talking realistic expectations here. What rumors have you heard that have your hope up? Among them, what do you think is realistic or non-realistic?

Also, two days from posting this, there will be a Nintendo Direct focusing on the Pokémon 20th anniversary. I'll attempt to update this shortly after it airs.

Don't forget to fill out the poll below and leave a comment with your feedback!

What new features are you most disappointed will likely not be included in Pokémon Z?

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