Warframe: Plains of Eidolon Update – Soon™

At Tennocon this weekend, Digital Extreme’s yearly Warframe convention, developers announced the game’s most radical update yet: a change to the base game which would turn it into the open world MMO players (like myself, at first) have always wanted.

Steve Sinclair (@sj_sinclair on Twitter) shared that the game would first reveal a 9-square-kilometer area known as the Cetus relay:

Later on, he shared several videos of early development footage of the update, which reminds me a bit of the look that Horizon: Zero Dawn had. The Cetus relay, a common area for up to 50 players, boasts a large map, trading posts, and a new alien race.

Rebecca Ford, in an interview with PCGamesN, stated that “We think, hope, and strongly believe that this is what players have wanted the whole time.”

via PCGamesN

Given the fact that Warframe was, in the past, confined to narrow hallways instead of open areas, it made it difficult to see why there was such a robust movement system in place after the game’s 17th major update. Flying around down corridors was amazingly fun, but quickly wore off. With Plains of Eidolon coming (hopefully) soon, it may be enough to draw me back into Warframe for a while.

That, and we finally will be able to squad up in groups of more than four. Eventually.

Until the update launches later this summer, we’ve been given a 17-minute look at what the new update brings:

 

Cover Image via PCGamesN.

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If Bubsy Can Come Back, So Can the Rest of the Games in my Dream Journal

If after the release of one of the worst games in gaming history and a 20 year absence Bubsy can make a triumphant return, then there’s no reason why the other games in my dream journal can’t. Anything is possible! And as Bubsy has just proven, there are no odds to slim! Which is why I’m pulling out the ol’ dream journal of games that I otherwise was sure would never come out, and I’m going to restore some of my hope for these beloved series. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

 

Mother 3

via twoleftsticks.com

The elusive sequel to Mother 2 (known in the States as Earthbound) that, to the lament of Earthbound fans, was never released outside of Japan. There is no definitive reason why it was never localized, but many speculate it’s because Earthbound sold so poorly at the time of its release that Nintendo didn’t want to risk losing more money on its sequel. This cult classic GBA game is now something of a symbol of game publishers not listening to their fans. And believe me, Nintendo is very aware of it.  But 20 years wasn’t enough to stop Bubsy, so why should Mother 3 care about 11, right?

 

Earthbound 2

via youtube.com

Known in Japan as Mother 3, Earthbound 2 is unofficial English name of the highly sought after sequel of Earthbound that was never released outside of Japan. We’ll never know exactly why it was never localized, but many speculate it’s because Reggie Fils-Aimé maintains his youthful facade by drinking the tears of Mother fans every night. Bubsy 3D is infamous for being one of the worst games in gaming history, and even that didn’t stop it from a sequel. So why should the fact that Earthbound didn’t sell as well as Nintendo wanted it to stop a sequel for it?

 

Earthbound 64

via earthboundcentral.com

Before it was eventually put on the GBA, Mother 3 was going to be a Nintendo 64 game that many fans refer to as Earthbound 64. Due to overwhelming technical difficulties however, the idea was eventually scrapped (but not before a few brief gameplay demos). About a decade later, it was finally revived and released as a 2D game on the GBA, Mother 3. The Internet has dug up every last scrap of information it could possibly get on this cryptid of a game, but legend has it that the only functional Earthbound 64 cartridge lies leagues beneath Nintendo of America’s headquarters, alongside a script for a localized version of Mother 3 being guarded by the last living dodo bird. If we have Bubsy to keep us going, I see no reason why a group of us Mother fans can’t just get together and dig under Nintendo of America’s headquarters. After all, if they have nothing to hide, why could they possibly mind a group of fans digging up its only headquarters in the country?

 

.hack//Link

via cc2.co.jp

.hack//Link is the elusive sequel to the .hack//G.U. series that connects it with the .hack//IMOQ series that was never released outside of Japan. There’s no definitive reason why it was never localized, but many fans believe it’s either because both of the previous .hack// series didn’t sell as well as Bandai Namco wanted them to and they didn’t want to risk losing more money, or because it’s the tears of English-speaking .hack// fans that keeps Dracula sealed away in the depths of a remote volcano island. Regardless, like Mother, .hack// has very much become a cult classic series since its release. Much has changed since the last .hack// game came out over here a decade ago. If it takes Bubsy 2 decades to get over having a game being called one of the worst in gaming history, then I’m sure .hack can get over having 7 fan-favorite JRPGs that just didn’t sell quite up to expectations in 1, don’t you agree?

 

The Son-Flower Boys: Lucas’s Wild Ride ft. Sentient Furniture

 

via aminoapps.com

Also known simply as Mother 3. We’ll never know exactly why it was never released outside of Japan, but many believe it’s because Nintendo likes drinking the salty tears of Mother fans out of champagne glasses before every E3 or Nintendo Direct for good luck.

Boston Festival of Indie Games Wrap-up!

This past weekend was the fifth annual Boston Festival of Indie Games, a convention celebrating independent tabletop and video game developers, in the MIT Johnson Athletic Center in Cambridge, MA. Upon entering the venue, I was greeted with the sight of tons of indie game devs waiting to showcase their most recent projects, and when I actually got the chance to experience what these devs were working on, I enjoyed myself way too much. But with all of these games around trying to impress, some stood out more than others to me, be it for mechanics, aesthetic, control, even the people running the booth. So these are my highlights from the Boston Festival of Indie Games 2016.

 

Now Everyone Get The F%$# Out!

F%$#

When it comes to Now Everyone Get The F%$# Out, by the fantastic Starcap Games, I’m very well-acquainted. I’ve already played the game various times whenever I go to this great thing in Boston called Game Over, and when I saw it was going to be at FIG, it was one of the first booths I went to. Prior to FIG, only Kennedy and I had played NEGTFO, and now a lot of us here at The Lifecast like it. It’s a card game about getting people out of your dorm so you can study for a final, and you do this by forcing things like a live band or hard drugs onto your opponents to make the partiers go into their dorms instead of your own. You have actions to do special things like reuse cards from the discard pile, and instant actions which let you do something (normally counter a card your opponent plays) at any time. It’s an insanely fun game that gets even more fun with more people, and I play it every time I get the chance to. On top of that, the one running the booth, Pat Roughan, is super cool. Absolutely be sure to check this out; it’s honestly one of my favorite tabletop games. Now Everyone Get the F%$# Out! is available on Amazon and, though currently sold out, will have more in stock later! You can follow Starcap Games on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

Mech Deck

Mech Deck

Now, let me tell you about a game that I absolutely cannot wait for: Mech Deck. Now, at this point, it’s no secret that I love me some good old fashioned mechs. Be it eastern, western, Gundam, or MechWarrior. I love mechs. I mean hell, my tag online is MechaManDan. This board game was the coolest one at FIG. It sucks that it wasn’t at the showcase and that I was media. Because if I wasn’t media and it was in the showcase, I would have absolutely voted for it as best game. It focuses around free-for-all mech combat. Normally, you draft for parts to your mech, but in the effort to save time, we were given pre-built models. Your parts are split into the torso, legs, arms, and back. Arms are generally weapons, body supplies energy you need to move and do certain tactics, legs give movement perks, and the back, well, I don’t really know, since my back piece was immediately destroyed by our own Greg by the end of the first turn. Each mech has weapons with varying ranges, and when you get within range, you can attack. Combat is resolved by each side rolling 2 6-sided dice, with the higher number determining whether or not the attack goes through (attacker wins ties). Each individual mech’s piece is not just that one piece, though. Every arm, leg, jetpack, body, etc. is each their own part, and are held together through magnets. Meaning for each part you get for your mech, you get to make a piece that truly represents what you have, as opposed to a vague placeholder. Different terrain gives different effects, like defense bonuses or damage. You’ve got a lot of other things to affect your combat as well, like your pilot and their abilities, your Battle Fervor, or as we started calling it, your “Anime Meter”, which you can spend on special skills, and more. This mecha battle royale is insanely fun, and I personally can’t wait for it to come out. Mech Deck is still in development, but you can follow it on Facebook here and Twitter here to keep track of its progress!

GUNGUNGUN

gungungun

GUNGUNGUN, developed by Mystery Egg Games, is a platforming, arcade-style arena shooter. The premise is quite simple: You’re running around this arena, trying stay alive as long as possible, and you do so by shooting everyone who is trying to shoot you. You control your character with the right stick, aim the gun with the left, and shoot with R2. As you kill things, you can use different guns, but they act more as temporary powerups that total upgrades. The controls are incredibly tight and responsive. The main character has a perfect weight to her, and every single gun is satisfying to shoot, and even more satisfying to hit with. In addition to that, each gun feels different from the others in terms of how the shooting feels. Jumping is solid, movement is fluid, and everything about the game just… Works. The music is awesome, it looks really nice, and it’s HARD. It’s super challenging to get a good score in this game. I remember the longest I lasted in one game was about 2 or 3 minutes, and that’s after playing it a bunch of times to get the feel of the game down. But this difficulty is genuine and fair. Every time I died, I felt like it was my fault and not the game’s. GUNGUNGUN is the kind of game you pick up multiple times in a day to try to beat your high score because it’s so addicting. GUNGUNGUN is currently on Steam Greenlight and has recently passed 50%, so please, if you can spare the time, please help greenlight this game for Steam. You can follow Mystery Egg Games on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

Kung Fu: Shadow Fist

Kung Fu

VR has always interested me, but up until this weekend, I had never really used it. I played Swingstar at PAX East on a Gear VR, and it was awesome, but I never really experienced a fully VR experience until Boston FIG. Kung Fu: Shadow Fist, developed by Digital Precept LLC, is officially my first “full” VR experience. I’ve got to say, it was pretty damn cool. I strapped on that HTC Vive and let me tell you, that entire experience was freaky. I loved it. Anyway, Kung Fu: Shadow Fist is a VR arcade-style beat-em-up. It’s still in early phases of development, but from what it is so far, I’m looking forward to its release (and my inevitable inability to play it because I’m too poor to afford an HTC Vive). You’re put into this environment where you’re put up against these crash test dummies, and then you give ’em the ol’ one-two. Swing your fists while holding those surprisingly comfortable HTC controllers and then you’ll beat ’em up. Raise your arms to block your face to block, and you can press the huge button in the middle of the controller to do a shadow step, which stops time and puts you right next to an enemy. That’s about it for controls. While playing the game, my reach did feel a bit short, and the sense of depth in the area was a little off, which made me miss some punches. Though that may also just be that I’m not used to VR, but it is something to be aware of. While I do think it is in need of some polish, that doesn’t stop it from being a really cool VR experience, and just being a genuinely fun game to play. It’s definitely worth looking into if you have a Vive. Kung Fu: Shadow Fist is currently on Steam Greenlight awaiting approval, so when you have the time, please help greenlight it for Steam. You can follow Digital Precept on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

Finally, I’d like to give some honorable mentions to games that seem awesome that I just didn’t get enough time with to write well about. First up is Tailwind: Prologue, a shoot-em-up game kind of like a bullet hell, but not really. The gameplay takes place while you’re falling down and permanently shooting, and you need to get behind the enemies to destroy them. It really breaks the standard shmup formula to do what it does, and is a super interesting game that I want to play more of. The other game is a board game that has been highly, highly acclaimed called Dragoon. It’s a strategy game in which you play as a dragon trying to take over the land and collect as much gold as possible to win. You’ve got to capture areas, destroy others, and do whatever you can to collect gold and take control. Sadly I was only able to play one turn of the game before the venue started closing, so I wasn’t able to get much of a feel for it, but from what I saw go down, it seems awesome.

I think the best part about the Boston Festival of Indie Games is that there wasn’t a single bad game that I played there. All of the games that I played, even the ones not mentioned in this article, were good, fun games that I would absolutely play again. The experience overall was really fun, and I am absolutely going to be returning next year to see what new content all of these creative developers can think of.

Titanfall 2 Tech Test Impressions – Week 1

Something very important happened in between the release of Titanfall 1 and the upcoming release of Titanfall 2. That important thing is that Call of Duty Advanced Warfare came out and did it’s job significantly better than the first Titanfall. Sure, it didn’t have big ridable mechs. But it really solidified how futuristic first person shooters should feel. The past weekend Respawn Entertainment ran a technical test for Titanfall 2, and it feels like a piece of the core from the first Titanfall is among the missing.

Titanfall-2-640x353

With the time I spend with Titanfall I learned a few very important things. There wasn’t a SINGLE, not a single issue with any technical aspect of this game. It ran beautifully, no latency in any of my matches and I found matches absurdly quickly. This is all stuff they learned from the first Titanfall, during the Titanfall’s technical tests and on release date, it was a mess. So it’s nice to see that Respawn has figured out their server issues.

I also learned that this game plays surprisingly different from the first one. The controls feel clunkier than before, and it feels significantly slower paced. The thruster packs don’t seem nearly as fast and useful and the wall running also seems substantially slowed down. It also showed me the only bad grappling hook I’ve seen in a video game. It feels absurdly limp and almost useless. Whenever a game adds a grappling hook it’s almost always a positive thing, this is the exception. Something I really enjoyed from the first one was how snappy and quick the game felt at all times, even if it was often erratic.

During the test, they were showing off three game modes. Amped Hardline, which is your standard Domination game mode. Pilot vs Pilot, which you should never play if you’re playing Titanfall in the first place. And finally Bounty Hunt, which is a new game mode that really intrigued me. When you start the match, the team is drawn to a location where there’s going to be a bunch of grunts. When you kill those grunts you get money added to your player. At certain points during the match, the bank will open up. This is when you take the money you’ve earned and you deposit it to your teams score. The team that reaches a certain amount of money first wins the match. While all of this is going on, the other team is still there to stop you from killing these poor helpless grunts. Also, during specific points in the match, higher valued targets will spawn randomly and teams will have to get together to take them down. I had a good amount of fun with this game mode, even if it can get a little hectic at times it’s a neat twist on the stale Horde modes we’ve seen for a long time now.

During this test, they had two maps available and they are making a third one available for the second test weekend. Out of these two maps neither of them had any interesting points in them. Maybe it’s because Overwatch spoiled me with cool looking maps, but they just seem super generic and grey-washed. If you can picture what a generic Titanfall map would look like, I promise you, that’s what they look like.

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They also made some massive changes to the mechs themselves. Now each of the mechs have MOBA like abilities that are on cool downs and they even have ultimate abilities. This is definitely a good change and it helps making the mech gameplay more diverse rather than just running around and shooting things. It also makes the mechs feel like much more of a formidable opponent.

I’m excited to see what the future holds for Titanfall, but it seems like the need to make some fundamental changes to how this game plays. Even Respawn Entertainment agrees with me.

TLC’s Shadowrun Tips: Worldbuilding

Following our recent trend of D&D homebrew and other useful tips, I’m back with some Shadowrun tips. There’s no doubt that one of the most fun things you can do as a GM is build a world that your players get to explore. Worldbuilding is satisfying in ways that just writing the twists and turns of your campaign isn’t. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

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Rio Loot Box Opening… and and announcement

If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you would’ve seen that we published a few videos recently. Yes, videos! I’m proud to announce that The Lifecast now has regular video content coming to you guys about once a week. We publish all our video content on YouTube, so subscribe if you want to see more! This time around, Adam, Greg, and myself opened up a bunch of Overwatch’s Rio loot boxes, and I’d like to think we had a good time of it.

Below is the playlist for easy watching.

 

Why it’s Harder for me to get into Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go. I don’t need to tell you what it is, I don’t need to tell you how great it is, I don’t even need to tell why this game is revolutionary. TheJWittz uploaded a quick video about it yesterday, and he mentioned that one of the biggest flaws of Pokemon Go is that it’s significantly more difficult when you live in a rural area, and you know what? That couldn’t be more true. I’m writing this article to shed some light on one of the main issues of this game that I think gets incredibly overlooked because of the other issues that effect everyone regardless of where they’re playing–issues like staying on for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time, the battery power it eats up, and so on. If you live in either a rural area or a state where it’s overwhelmingly hot during this time of the year–especially if you live somewhere that’s both at once, as I do–this game loses some of its charm because it’s just so much harder to play since you have to go really out of your way to play it.

I live in Northern Oklahoma City, and contrary to its name, there’s nothing “city” about Oklahoma City. Below is a picture of the area surrounding my house. As you can see, there’s one Pokestop, and it’s a pretty fair distance away.  A fair distance I can’t make without a car because the only walkable area of Oklahoma city is Bricktown–which is a 30-40 minute drive away from me. It’s a good thing gas is pretty cheap over here, because you’ll have to drive a pretty fair distance to find a Pokestop or a gym. I don’t even know where the closest gym is to me because I just haven’t been able to find one within 20 minutes of my house.

Wow, look at all these Pokestops
Wow, look at all these Pokestops

But I know what you’re thinking: Going out and exploring is one of the best parts of Pokemon Go. I’m not denying that, but you know what’s not one of the best parts? Needing to go on  a 30 or 40 minute road trip just to catch anything but Rattata and Weedle. Even if you are feeling gutsy enough to go walking around, Oklahoma is incredibly hot. And it’s even worse for me because being the pale ginger that I am, I have a long, illustrious history of sunburns, and even if I were to by some miracle apply enough sunscreen to prevent a sunburn, I live in a very green area full of snakes and bugs. If you don’t believe me, here’s a peek just past my backyard. Pretty, yes, but not very useful for Pokemon hunting.

Welcome to Oklahoma “City”

In summary, it’s really hard for me to really get into some of the best aspects of this game because I just don’t live in a big city. There are a few Pokestops within a reasonable distance of me, but they’re very few and far between, and I can’t even find a gym near me. In fact, despite everything I just said about Oklahoma City, it’s still the most populated area of Oklahoma, alongside Tulsa and Norman. But I know people who live in cities vastly less populated like Clinton and Henryetta who just couldn’t be having a worse time right now for the same reasons, but to a more extreme. I live in a rural state where it’s incredibly hot and sunny, and in a very green area that’s full of bugs and snakes–it’s very unwise to go outside for long over here, especially when you sunburn as easily as me. I hate that I have to go Downtown if I want anything other than Rattata or Weedle. And again, I know that going out and looking for hot spots is part of the fun of this game, but I can’t just make these long, 40 minute trips whenever I want to play Pokemon Go–I wish I could, but I just can’t. As inconvenient as all this sounds though, that doesn’t mean I don’t love this game.

Screenshot_2016-07-13-12-11-29

Here’s a screenshot I took in Downtown Oklahoma City today–as you can see, there’s a few gyms and several Pokestops–because it’s walkable, I was also able to wander around and catch several different Pokemon–Pokemon I couldn’t dream of finding by my house, solely because I can walk and wander around here without worrying about getting bit by bugs, and it’s more shady. When visiting an area like this, I feel like I can finally enjoy the game to its fullest potential. This is without a doubt the best mobile game I’ve played–more than that, this game is downright revolutionary. Pokemon fans have been dreaming of a game like this for years–and the fact that a game like this now exists for free is mind blowing. We’re living in this insane cyberpunk future where local news stations make articles about the best Pokemon spots in your city and I’m absolutely blown away. It’s incredible to see so many people enjoy such a wonderful game so actively.

This game is incredible. It’s made me exercise more in the last week than I have in probably my whole life, it’s making all of my childhood dreams come true, and I absolutely love it. I just wish it were more fair for those of us not living in a big city–especially for those of us living in areas where, for whatever reason, going outside for long just isn’t a good idea. I really don’t like being on the road for 40 minutes if I just want to challenge a gym or go to more than one Pokestop. I know going out and exploring is part of the fun of this game, but you gotta’ realize that we don’t all live in walkable areas and gas costs money.

Diversity in Gaming: LGBT Spotlight

Everyone wants to see themselves in video games, and that’s not a problem. In recent years gaming has become increasingly diverse, to the point of some games offering both male and female players an equal experience in playing through the story. What’s rare to see, though, is a character in a story-driven game who falls on the LGBT+ spectrum explicitly. Riding on the coattails of Pride Month and still reeling from the Twitter trends of the past couple of days, here’s a spotlight on some of them.

 

Gone Home

Obvious spoilers ahead, but if you haven’t played Gone Home yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It’s a short little game about two sisters. The oldest, Kaitlin, has come home after being overseas for some time (I assume for a semester abroad, though I could be remembering that wrong), and finds a note from her younger sister, Sam upon coming home. Throughout the game you play as Kate, and by finding things throughout the house you find out what happened to your sister.

Going in, I thought that something pretty awful had happened. The game takes you through some pretty dingy basements and hidden passages in the old house, so I initially thought it was a horror game. As I progressed, though, it became clear that Sam had run away for some reason or another. It seemed like she had a good life, albeit a tensioned relationship with her parents.

Again, spoilers ahead, if you’re still reading. While you’re exploring some of the areas in the house, you find a feminist zine that Sam and a friend were planning on publishing. If you didn’t catch it before, the game is set in the mid-’90s, and there’s your proof. As you find out more, you realize that Sam had, in fact, fallen in love with her friend and your parents didn’t approve, so they ran away together.

In the end, Sam’s happy. You’re happy for her, you accept her. It kinda tugs at my heartstring a bit.

I remember when all the cool kids were still making ‘zines in the early 2000s. (via Wikimedia Commons)

Life is Strange

Obvious spoilers here as well, folks. I have my issues with Life is Strange, I’ll tell you that from the start. I think the writing’s pretty awful (though who am I to judge?), the devs are really out of touch with what the young’uns are doing nowadays, and a crucial moment between Max and Chloe is entirely skippable. That crucial moment being the decision to kiss Chloe.

While I applaud the game (kinda) for taking on tough subject matter, the writing really gets in the way. And that’s a damn shame. I probably would have played and actually cared about spoilers had I gotten past that. It grapples with a lot: the toxic environment of exclusive clubs in a college setting, suicide, and the whole lesbian thing, to name a few. I just wish it did it better.

That being said, I’m glad it exists. Take that as you will.

Just gals. Being pals. (via Eurogamer)

Dragon Age: Inquisition

This is the only game on the list I haven’t played more than a couple hours of, mostly because I’ve been lost in the Hinterlands since it came out. So I can’t speak much for gameplay or story, but I do know that it has a cast of diverse characters. My favorite being the Iron Bull, purely due to the fact that he’s the first bi or pansexual character I’ve seen in a video game. Again, that’s in my kinda limited experience. Either way, it hits home. Among others, there’s Sera, my favorite gal with pals, and Dorian. This may sound weird but I like that they’re there and that they have a rich history.

The only thing I have to criticize here is the modding community, which I probably shouldn’t, but hey. Personally I haven’t looked at the mods, but I do know they exist. Again, limited knowledge. Maybe I didn’t wanna give it the attention, but look at where that ended up.

If you guessed what I’m talking about, it’s two mods that are available for Dragon Age: Inquisition which change Dorian and Sera’s programming so that they, effectively, are bi. Both characters have a past that directly involves being uncomfortable with what they identify as. I know plenty of people who fall into that label and choose to appear heterosexual because it’s safer, mentally and physically. I kinda think that discounting the history of these characters just because you wanted to romance them says a lot about what we think of outliers to “the norm” in general. I know it’s a longshot on some days, but not after this fucked up month we’ve had.

Unfortunately Sera’s the one character I’ve heard about the least. A damn shame. (via Nerdy But Flirty)

Overall though, I appreciate devs at least attempting to make their casts of characters more diverse. Like I said, everyone should be able to see themselves in a video game. And I’m glad we’re working closer towards that, even if we take a couple steps backwards sometimes.

My Hopes and Predictions for Pokemon Sun and Moon

As I’m sure we all know by now, Nintendo recently released a new trailer for Pokemon Sun and Moon–not only do we now have confirmation that the region is based on Hawaii, but we now also know who our new Professor is, his assistant, the names/types of the new legendaries, and the names of a few new characters. Perhaps the most surprising (in a good way) thing Nintendo announced was the Rotom Pokedex–something we’ve never seen anything even close to in previous Pokemon games. Despite this well of knowledge Nintendo has gifted us, there’s still plenty that we don’t know yet, and won’t know for some time–or at least until after E3 because Nintendo Treehouse said that they’ll be talking about Pokemon after E3. So without further ado, here are my predictions and hopes for Pokemon Sun and Moon:

 Hala– the man in the yellow coat

Image courtesy of Daily.Pokecommunity

Although nothing was said about this man in the American trailer, the Japanese trailer states that his name is Hala. Although originally speculated to be the professor of this region (after all, the hala is another kind of tree native to Hawaii) we now know that Kukui is the Professor of this region. It’s also safe to assume that Hala won’t even be his assistant, as we know that will be Lillie’s role (and I’ll talk about what I think about her later.) My guess is that he’ll either be a “secret” (only for a short while) gym leader or a member of the Elite 4–possibly the champion, but I think it’s less likely. In previous Pokemon games, there’s almost always a gym leader or member of the Elite 4 that meets the trainer and helps them a few times before they face each other in battle. If nothing else, I’m sure he’ll be very relevant to the plot somehow–perhaps he knows what the evil team is doing and he tries to stop him? Maybe he has information, maybe even involvement with the legendary Pokemon? I’m guessing he’ll be one of the next few details about the game to be explained at least a little more since everyone else that’s been shown in the trailers has been given a name and a role.

Lillie

Image courtesy of Bulbapedia

There seems to be a big stir about her everywhere–she’s the professor’s assistant, but why are we only now seeing her? Why does she hate battling Pokemon? She looks so sweet–why the stern look on her official art? I predict that she’ll end up being an antagonist of some kind–probably related to whatever evil team this game has. Her profile explicitly states that she hates battling Pokemon and I’m sure that’s going to be crucial to these games. My guess is that this game’s evil team will either follow something close to Team Galactic’s “We’re liberating Pokemon!” idea, or that she’s actually a master Pokemon battler–perhaps to an extreme level that we’ve never seen in Pokemon. If that were the case, if she’s not on our trainer’s side (I highly doubt she’s on our side, her facade seems to innocent) she might be involved in extreme levels of Pokemon battling, to the point where she battles them to the death. Perhaps that’s what the evil team in this game is involved in, as well.

HMs as Key Items

Image courtesy of aminoapps

This one is all hope rather than prediction. Having HMs be key items rather than moves is something Pokemon fans have been wanting for a while. For anyone unfamiliar, let’s take Cut for instance: Not a particularly useful move in battle, right? But you need something with cut on it in case you run into a tree. What if instead of cut taking down the tree however, you’re given a pair of gardening shears–a key item–that will cut the tree down? And if you still want one of your Pokemon to learn cut it can be turned into a TM instead. This eliminates the need for HM slave Pokemon while still giving an option to people who want their Pokemon to learn the moves regardless. It would be incredibly convenient.

Starter Evolution Lines

Image courtesy of gameskinny

Before I go into detail on this one, I’d like to point out that I’m assuming all the “leaks” of their evolutions that we’ve seen thusfar are fake and I’ll continue to think that until we see confirmation, so you won’t hear me talk about any of them. Since that’s out of the way, here’s what I’m guessing is going to happen: Rowlett will retain its Grass/Flying typing throughout its entire line and will shift from looking really cute to more like a Noctowl on steroids in a pile of leaves and branches. Litten will almost certainly pick up a second type in its next evolution–judging purely by its design, it will likely be dark type or ghost type. Phantom cats exist in a fair number of Hawaiian folktales so I’m leaning towards fire/ghost. If that’s the case, it’s next few evolutions will take a more ghostly appearance until it eventually looks like one of the phantom cats. Popplio is harder to to make such a confident guess for since its design could go in many different directions at this point and its inspiration is from sea lions. I’m leaning toward that it will be water/fairy for two reasons though: 1. Fairy types being so new and well-liked, it would make sense for Popplio to eventually become half fairy for the sake of adding more fairy types to the dex.  2. Fairy-type Pokemon tend to be more playful, happy, and cute in the traditional sense–all of which Popplio is. Again though, it has a much simper and, for the sake of guessing evolutions, vague design so it could just as easily go in any other direction. After all, how many of us predicted Piplup to eventually become half-steel?

 

Mega Evolutions

Image courtesy of PokemonRubySapphire

We’ve seen the mega bracelets on the trainers in this game–mega evolutions are here to stay. As for what Pokemon we’ll see new megas for, I’m guessing we’ll see at least one of the following: Rotom (because of the Pokedex), Dragonite, Flygon, Lunatone, Solrock, Kingdra (because there are seahorses in Hawaii–I’ll admit, my reason for thinking this will happen is pretty flimsy, but I’m holding out hope.), Solgaleo, Lunala, Magmortar (because of Hawaii being famous for its volcanoes), Electevire (because if Magmortar gets a mega they’d give one to Electevire, too) the final evolutions of the starters, Milotic (honestly, I just think its design makes it look like it’s begging to megaevolve. Besides, given the setting, I’m sure that there’s gonna’ be at least 2 or 3 water Pokemon getting new megas since water Pokemon will certainly be particularly important in this game) Corsola, Tentacruel, Raichu. As for ones I simply just hope get mega evolutions but it seems more unlikely for them, the main one I’d like to see is megas for even one or two of the Eeveelutions just because they all look like they could evolve again–besides, Eevee being the evolution Pokemon, it would make sense. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if only Eevee received a mega evolution for that same reason. Some other unlikely hopes I have for mega evolutions are Dunsparce, Stunfisk, Arcanine, Hitmonlee, Hitmontop, Hitmonchan, Torkoal, Delibird, Sigilyph, and Hawlucha. All of them just look like they’re just waiting to evolve–besides, I’d love to see them all become more competitively viable choices.