Friday, August 18, 2017

Update on Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

Details about the upcoming pokémon titles Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are few an far between. This is both a blessing and a curse. The fan in me really wants to know everything I can about these games. However, after pretty much everything being released from XYORAS and Sun/Moon before their releases, I also long for playing a game where I know next to nothing about what will be in it. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon occupy an odd space for that though. They are revamp games along the same lines as Emerald or Platinum, so obviously I know a few things that are hold over elements. I now know, for example, that Cosmog will evolve into Lunala/Solgaleo. That was a major plot point of Sun/Moon that was kind of spoiled by data miners. If you were vigilant enough to avoid those spoilers, then good work!

Obviously, the "Cosmog is the legendary you need! SURPRISE!" plot point will have a weaker impact on the players who have Sun/Moon. So, what does Game Freak have in store that will shake up the plot enough to make up for that? No idea. In fact, like I said before, we know next to nothing. A trailer was just released that does tease a few things.

A trainer being chased by a Rockruff. Is it the trainer's or simply an NPC Rockruff you can interact with?
The trailer shows a lot of what we would expect to see, such as the starters being chosen, but after that we see what appears to be a Rockruff following the player. It is possible this is simply an NPC Rockruff that you interact with. There are few in Sun/Moon. However, some are suggesting this is a return of the "walking pokémon" feature last seen in HeartGold and SoulSilver. This would allow you to have the first pokémon on your team follow you around. It is possible, as walking animations were found in Sun/Moon, but I temper my desire for this. I want it bad but it is something that is absent in so many games that it seems like wishful thinking. It is also possible that it returns with a hitch. Perhaps only certain pokémon can follow you. We know that there will be a Rockruff distribution when the game launches, so perhaps only that Rockruff can walk with you to trigger a special evolution? We know that the distribution Rockruff evolves into the special Dusk Form which is only in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Requiring it to walk with you to evolve into that form would make sense canonically, as it would explain why Rockruffs didn't evolve that way in Sun/Moon. You didn't take your Rockruff for walkies. Shame on you.

Dusk form Lycanroc is polarizing the fan community, with some saying it's just a Midday recolor. As someone who prefers Midday to Midnight, I'm ok with it. Plus, it has Tough Claws AND Accelerock. Seems solid to me.
As with all other revamp games, there will be new areas to explore. Some have argued that from what we've seen so far it is annoying this content will be in a new game over simply being downloadable content. I can't say I disagree, but I will try to remain positive as I typically enjoy the revamped versions of games (Crystal, Emerald, Platinum, etc) more than their original iterations. One of the areas shown in the trailer looks to be a new trial area. Either that or Lush Jungle got remodeled.

This appears to more of a shrine whereas Lush Jungle is just.. well.. a jungle. Maybe this is a new area within Lush Jungle?
It also appears that characters we didn't get to see much are getting a little more attention. For one, it looks like Elite Four member Kahili is teaching the player to use Flying type Z-moves. This seems to suggest she is now a Kahuna of one of the islands. Interestingly enough, the Flyinium Z is found on Melemele Island. Perhaps Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Hala was never Kahuna or retired. It's also possible that she is tied to some side quest to track down the Flyinium Z or is leader of a new trial. For whatever reason, Flyinium Z was just sort of tucked away in Sun/Moon with no real explanation as to why.

Kahili preparing a Z-move.
Ryuki, who can only be fought during a Champion defense after beating the Elite Four, is also back with an expanded role. By expanded, I mean he shows up somewhere besides the Champion chamber (randomly). From the trailer, he appears to be standing in a room set up like Lt. Surge's Gym in Kanto. Is it possible we visit Kanto in the post-game? Is it possible Gyms are in Alola alongside trials or maybe even replacing trials? Who knows? There's a potential for all of those possibilities. The Kanto angle seems like the least likely, however if Kanto is available in some aspect I'm sure the fan community would lose its collective hive mind.

I mean, yea, I'm sure there are stars out in space that no one knows anything about either.
Of course, with any new pokémon game, there are bound to be things that we have no idea about. One such thing is a random building on a random island. This building has a very unique design and, although there is a mannequin in the window, does not look like the clothing shops we've seen in Sun and Moon. There are new clothes obviously in this game, based on what the new player characters are wearing, so perhaps that can be explained by these odd new buildings. 

A new clothing shop? A gym? The return of Contests? PokéStar Studios? Nothing at all?
There is also artwork showcasing some of the changes to Alola. The most obvious is the giant swirling death vortex above Poni Island. This will likely have to do with Necrozma, but what it is remains to be seen. It's not an Ultra Wormhole, at least not one we've seen before. Those look more like a funnel with a grid pattern within it (similar to the Beast Ball design). The death vortex looks more like the portal to the Distortion World from Platinum. One other major difference is there is a large area of the map beneath Poni that is obscured by clouds. It may be just a cloud, but this would not be the first time an area was hidden in map artwork. A similar method of hiding content was utilized in the Black 2/White 2 map, but used ice instead of clouds.

The sun seems to be setting in Alola, possible nod to Dusk Lycanroc?
For comparison, the original map of Alola didn't have that particular area obscured. I don't know what would be in that area, especially since there was nothing in the original map. It could always be a new artificial island like the Aether Paradise or it could an island that rises from the sea or something. It could even be underwater ruins we can explore with Dive. I'd personally like to see that mechanic come back as a new ride pokémon.

The map of Alola from Sun and Moon, with the area below Poni Island un-obscured.
The video does not go into any further detail, however the website for Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon does. We already kind of knew that Necrozma would have a much more solid role in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. However, the website straight up confirms that with a picture of Necrozma showing up on Poni Island at the Altar of the Sunne/Moone. 

Can Necrozma open Ultra Wormholes? Does it take the player to Ultra Space instead of Lunala/Solgaleo?
The website also confirms that the new Z-Ring shown previous is actually a new version called a Z-Power Ring. Apparently, it affects Z-moves differently, perhaps adding effects to standard Z-moves. New Z-Crystals for specific pokémon have also been confirmed, but not for which pokémon. I'd suspect Lunala, Solgaleo, and Necrozma. It's kind of odd they didn't get them in Sun and Moon seeing as the starters did. I would assume that all of this gen's "mascots" would end up with one. It's also possible Magearna will as well, seeing as Marshadow does. Seeing as these games expand on Necrozma, give us a new BLACK Z-ring, and new Z-Crystals... and Necrozma is a giant crystal... I think we'll see a Necrozma/Z-Crystal tie in.

I still want Fossilium-Z to be a thing, but I bet my wish will go unanswered. I'll send my fervent wish to Rayquaza and see what happens.
TOMY is producing a new Z-Power Ring (I admittedly just got the original Z-Ring toy) which I assume will be compatible with previous Z-Crystals. What is really interesting is the new Z-Crystal it comes packaged with. It has a unique shape, similar to the Pikachunium Z for the Ash Hat Pikachu. What is the deal with this new Z-Crystal? My guess is it is for Necrozma,  Solagaleo, or Lunala. It is possible it is for all similar to how the Tapunium Z works for all the Tapus. If that is the case, however, that would suggest they will all get some new shared move. It's possible, but only time will tell.

Do I need two Z-Ring toys? No. Will I end up owning two Z-Ring toys? Yes.
For being such a small news break, it actually reveals (potentially) a lot. That being said, I doubt this will be the last we hear about Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon this weekend. Worlds begins today so it is highly likely we'll get some new info at the end of the competition. Stay tuned and be prepared for anything!

UPDATE: What did I say? I said Worlds was going to show us more from Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Pretty much right after I posted this a video was shown during the opening ceremony of the World Championship showcasing a new exclusive Z-Move for Kommo-o!

UPDATE 2: IT KEEPS COMING! Looks like there will be a new photo mode for Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. That's probably what that new red building was.