The new Pokémon Evolutions animated series’ reveal trailer features a unique take on the Pokémon world, with a mature art style and dynamic animations. Pokémon games have long lacked the emotion and narrative of the anime series and movies, but Pokémon Evolutions‘ art style alone could make for a mainline or spinoff game that bridges the gap.
An eight-episode miniseries debuting on Pokémon TV and YouTube, Pokémon Evolutions appears to be somewhat of a spiritual successor to 2016’s Pokémon Generations miniseries, showcasing adventures from all existing game regions. The Evolutions trailer prominently features scenes from Pokémon Sword and Shield, Sun and Moon, and more, with video game player characters appearing alongside recognizable NPCs. The inclusion of climactic events such as the battle against Eternatus and the awakening of Xerneas suggest Evolutions will incorporate the games’ plots.
The Pokémon Evolutions trailer also features dynamic, sweeping camera angles that show these important video game events and characters from unique perspectives. Clips of Pokémon Sun and Moon’s Lillie silhouetted by the sun and Zamazenta squaring off against Eternatus demonstrate the added drama a dynamic camera can bring to these worlds. Though it would likely take serious work to implement properly, introducing more camera angles during battles and general overworld gameplay could completely change how players experience the Pokémon games.
Even if working these dramatic camera angles into regular gameplay would be impossible, Pokémon games could instead transition to a fully 2D, anime style during cutscenes, giving important moments more weight. Pokémon has never been known for its complex storytelling, but the series’ past graphical styles have reduced intimidating Pokémon and people like Rayquaza and Lysandre to underwhelming pixels, sabotaging their stake in the plot. Introducing more elaborate animation like Evolutions‘ would be a step in the right direction.
The subtler elements of Pokémon Evolutions‘ art style would improve the video games, too. Its realistically proportioned characters, fluid character animations, vivid colors, and moody lighting give it a much more mature tone than the video games. These are things Game Freak could more realistically implement into the main series, borrowing Evolutions‘ vibe to make the games’ battles and exploration feel more grand and impressive.
A Pokémon game that feels just like a high-budget anime is likely impossible, but any combination of more dynamic camera angles, animated cutscenes, and more modern, mature lighting would greatly benefit the games’ presentation. New spinoff game Pokémon Legends: Arceus has already begun to grow beyond past limitations of the series, but an Evolutions-style Pokémon game could take the series to its full potential.
Pokémon Evolutions’ first episode debuts September 9, 2021.