Pokemon tells darker stories to reach its Maturing Fans.
Pokemon is celebrating its 25th year anniversary. Your audience, who was once trading and fighting with Pokémon Red & Blue, is now in their 30s and 40s and wondering why the series hasn’t changed. In some cases, this results in
J.C. Smith, Pokemon Company Director for Consumer Marketing, stated that both Game Freak and The Pokemon Company are aware of the desire to create a more adult-oriented Pokemon gaming experience. The company still believes that the entire franchise should be available to everyone, regardless of their age.
Smith said that he heard it. “And I believe the creators understand that there is a desire to maybe something. […] We try to make the core accessible for everyone.
Pokémon has had its fair share dark and sophisticated storytelling, which is a credit to the series. This hasn’t been a result of video games. On platforms such as YouTube and Pokemon television, a digital limited anime anthology is called Pokemon Evolutions. The show is darker, more reflective and often alarmingly dark than the original series, but it has been avoided. The show is centered on the side characters of the games. The first four episodes are notably different from the usual Pokémon anime. They tickled my part of the brain that loves darker depictions of this universe.
Limited series such as Evolutions have provided some of the best storytelling in the series. Pokemon Generations was another anthology that featured animated Pokemonstories. It was released in 2016 and 2017. It also blended storytelling genres. The Team Rocket subplot in the first two generations was explored using the detective’s eyes and framed through a mystery story. Lance’s investigation into Team Rocket in Silver plays like a spy tale as he and his Dragonite enter the headquarters. Pokemon is able to combine both humor and reality to appeal to a younger audience.
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However, Pokemon does not have to be dark in order to attract an older audience. Another limited series, Pokémon: Twilight Wings ran last year. It focused on the Galar region’s gym leaders through the eyes a young boy named John. The boy dreams of meeting Champion Leon and seeing him fight outside his hospital room. It works within the optimistic themes of Pokémon but with an honest, raw emotion that has stayed with me. When I think about the last scene of its final episode, I get a little misty-eyed even now.
Not all attempts Pokemon have made to be more adult-oriented have been equally successful. The Detective Pikachu movie has the noir stylings and raises questions about how moral Pokemon fighting . The movie’s live-action attempts to portray a more real world and address adult grief issues are often undermined with silly writing that is more directed towards a younger audience. Pokemon can strike the right balance between mature storytelling and childlike wonder when it commits. It must be able to do it.
This is all to say that The Pokemon Company already creates the stories its fans want. The Pokemon Company views mainline RPGs only as something that is accessible to all. These more mature versions are not meant for games where the goal is to gather eight badges. Pokemon Evolutions and Generations show that these stories are able to live up the “all-ages” description. Pokemon’s has never been shallow in its quest for a child-friendly game. It’s far more complex than a typical children’s game. Game Freak and The Pokemon Company will be looking forward to exploring ways that it can incorporate more mature stories into their Pokemon RPG fair. It has already proven that it can.