The Potential of Pokemon Black 2 and White 2

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<LINK REL="stylesheet" HREF="http://guidesmedia.ign.com/guides/uni/IGNE_style.css" TYPE="text/css">When word arrived from overseas that a huge Pokemon announcement was going to be made on the Japanese show Pokemon Smash!, most of us were pretty confident we knew what the news would be. The obvious candidates were the third entry of the Black and White generation (Pokemon Gray, in other words) or the next generation of games - either choice, we presumed, would be presented on Nintendo's newest handheld, the 3DS. What we got was something entirely unexpected and utterly unprecedented - two new games, presumably direct sequels, titled Pokemon Black 2 and Pokemon White 2.<br/><br/>Offering a numbered sequel is something the Pokemon franchise has never done before. It's a bold move, to be sure, but one that is absolutely brimming with potential. While many <a target="_blank" href="http://ds.ign.com/articles/121/1219553p1.html">questioned the decision to bring a new Pokemon game to DS rather than 3DS</a>, the truth is that no matter the format, this sudden shakeup to the standard Pokemon release formula opens up countless possibilities. With the right approach, these games could be absolutely fantastic, and truly drive innovation for the entire series for years to come.<br/><br/>While we'll have to wait a bit longer to find out more details about Black 2 and White 2, below are a few things we want to see from these new Pokemon adventures to really seal the deal. If Black 2 and White 2 deliver, we'll be more than happy to patiently await our first true taste of Pokemon on 3DS.<br/><br/><DIV CLASS="IGNE_header">Give Us Something New</div>This one almost goes without saying, but since the Pokemon developers aren't making these games a traditional (and singular) third entry, using the same story/Pokemon battles/areas/etcetera isn't going to fly. That concept made sense for third installments like Yellow, Crystal, Emerald and Platinum. It was a way that, with minor changes and a couple of new plot points or a new area, the game could be repackaged with monsters from both of the prior versions and sold to people who missed out on the first two games, as well as diehard Pokemon completionists. But since Gray is now a no-go, that ship has sailed. If we're getting a set of sequels, we want a true continuation of the Black and White adventure, and a real reason to plop down the cash for two new versions.<br/><br/><img src="http://dsmedia.ign.com/ds/image/article/121/1219553/pokemon-black-version-2-20120228104008669-000.jpg" /><br/>Coming soon to a DS near you.<br/><br/>It's a simple request, really - just give us a new storyline to sink our teeth into, and at least a handful of new areas to explore. Maybe do the Gold/Silver thing and jump forward a couple of years, that way we can see what's become of the world since the big showdown with Team Plasma. And heck, don't leave us hanging about what happened to good ole N. He was a badass, so bring him back, perhaps with some kooky new ideas about Pokemon revolution. We'd also love to see Bianca grow as a trainer (and learn to hold on to her monsters). All of these are just ideas, of course, but in truth there's still plenty of story to be told within the Unova region, and this is the prime opportunity to explore those possibilities.<br/><br/>As far as the map itself, we want to see at least a few new areas in Black 2 and White 2. Using the same towns from the originals is understandable to a degree, especially for a sequel, but new areas are necessary to supplement what we've already seen. Perhaps there's a whole section of Unova that opens up once you've visited all the familiar towns - some of which could have seen some big changes in the time between games to further mix things up. Again, both of these points seem a given, but they're absolutely key to making Black 2 and White 2 feel like new and worthwhile experiences. Nintendo can't expect to release two additional versions of the same exact game without pissing off the franchise's fan base. To be fair, it's already pretty clear this isn't the case - after all, Black 2 and White 2 being the first numbered Pokemon titles seems a pretty clear indication that they're direct sequels. Still, it's definitely worth mentioning.<br/><br/><DIV CLASS="IGNE_header">Shake Up the Formula</div>Pokemon is a series grounded in tradition, with each release subtly building upon a rock solid foundation that has been honed to near perfection over the course of more than a decade - and diehard PokeManiacs wouldn't have it any other way. Still, the existence of these sequels in and of itself is already breaking the Pokemon mold - so why not take things even further?<br/><br/>As the first direct sequels (calm down before commenting, folks - I'm not including Gold and Silver because they're not numbered and the main adventure takes place in a whole new region), Black 2 and White 2 present a unique opportunity to take some big chances without necessarily effecting the future of the core titles. Because they're not technically a new generation, they could allow the developers to break the mold and offer a new kind of experience for players to enjoy while they await the next, more traditional Pokemon adventure.<br/><br/><img src="http://dsmedia.ign.com/ds/image/article/121/1219726/pokemon-black-version-2-20120229031550474-000.jpg" /><br/>Give us more where that came from.<br/><br/>What do we want specifically? Surprise us, that's what! Let us play as the main character from Black and White, someone who is already a Pokemon pro and has beaten the Elite Four. He could move on to intense new challenges and greater battles with more powerful opponents. This would especially be possible if players could somehow bring over their save data from the original games - perhaps using Download Play, similar to how monsters from Diamond, Pearl and Platinum could be transferred over to Black and White.<br/><br/>And if you didn't play the originals or just feel like starting over fresh, there could be a separate option that contrives a reason for you to begin your journey with a new starter and build a whole new team (and, naturally, adjusts the difficulty of opponents accordingly). The 3DS adventures will no doubt feature a kid starting out from his home town on a journey to collect eight gym badges and defeat the Elite Four - we're fine with that, but don't squander this golden opportunity to try something new and see how it flies. <br/><br/>Just like Final Fantasy X-2 and XIII-2 brought a new feel to their worlds, shaking things up and adding some new mechanics to the mix, this is Pokemon's chance to offer something entirely unexpected. Don't stop at letting us begin as a Pokemon master - throw a curveball in terms of story, gyms, characters, and so on. Again, the Pokemon foundation is solid, but why pass up the chance to try something new and different?<br/><br/><DIV CLASS="IGNE_header">Ruby and Sapphire, Plz?</div>This one isn't a necessity for Black 2 and White 2 to be amazing - but it certainly wouldn't hurt. Not counting the current generation of Pokemon games and the one before it - both released for DS - Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire are the only core games that have yet to see a remake. Including them, either remade or in their original form, as an unlockable extra would be more than enough to justify the purchase of Black 2 and White 2, no matter how many assets are reused from Black and White.<br/><br/>Considering this has sort of been done in the past, it's really not that out of the question. Although it wasn't exactly an inclusion of the original games themselves, beating Gold and Silver (as well as their remakes, HeartGold and SoulSilver) unlocked the Kanto region from Red and Blue, complete with NPCs, gym battles and a miniature adventure. The developers could easily allow players to unlock Sapphire with Black 2 and Ruby with White 2 (or vice versa, we're not picky). Another option would be to offer these games as a download code for 3DS owners - sort of an added incentive to pick up the game even if you upgraded to Nintendo's latest handheld, and something to tip the scales for Pokemon fans who still haven't bought the new system.<br/><br/><img src="http://dsmedia.ign.com/ds/image/article/121/1219726/pokemon-black-version-2-20120229031557853-000.jpg" /><br/>A Pokemon fusion... now that's a start.<br/><br/>As an interesting sidenote, if you look at the Japanese logo (shown above), there might actually already be something of a tease as to Ruby and Sapphire's inclusion. Of course, this is all just a combination of speculation, unfounded hopes and jumping to unwarranted conclusions&#x2026; but come on. That sure looks like a ruby behind the White 2 logo and a sapphire behind the Black 2 one. Two weird color choices for the monochrome titles, if you ask us. The numbers also seem to contain what could be magma and water. Team Magma and Team Aqua, anyone? Granted, we may be crazy, but hopefully there's something to this.<br/><br/><DIV CLASS="IGNE_divider"></DIV><br/><br/>At this time we know very little about Pokemon Black 2 and Pokemon White 2, outside of a general release window and the fact that they'll be coming to DS. But considering they're set to release in Japan this June - with a Fall release promised for North America and Europe - we expect it won't be long before more news arrives. Until then, all we can do is work on our Pokedex and wonder what the future holds.<br/><br/>What do you think of our wish list? And, more importantly, what do <i>you</i> want to see in Black 2 and White 2 to make them worth your while? Sound off in the comments below and let us know!<br/><br/><DIV CLASS="IGNE_divider"></DIV><br/><br/><i>Audrey Drake is an Associate Editor of IGN.com and a proud member of the IGN Nintendo team. She is also a lifelong gamer, a frequent banisher of evil and a wielder of various legendary blades. You can follow her zany exploits on <b><a target="_blank" href="http://people.ign.com/Aminka">My IGN</a></b> and <b><a target="_blank" href="http://twitter.com/GameOnAminka">Twitter</a></b>. Game on!</i><br/><br/><br><br/><br/>&#169;2012-02-29, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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