A fan of the Pokémon series recently reshared their speculation from seven years ago on a Pokémon MOBA game, seven years before the release of Pokémon Unite turned their predictions into reality. The MOBA game launched to a mixed reception, with many long-time Pokémon fans unhappy about the game’s reliance on microtransactions and what has been called a pay-to-win economy.
When developer TiMi Studio Group put out a Pokémon Unite survey in late July to ask players about their impressions of the game so far, with one selectable complaint being, “The game overemphasizes spending money to be successful.” This echoes similar community complaints, as its in-game economy includes items that make players more competitive, and they’re more quickly and easily earned by paying real money. When Pokémon Unite was first revealed in June 2020, many fans of the mainline Pokémon series were very vocal in their disappointment with The Pokémon Company’s choice to publish a MOBA. Perhaps they should have anticipated a Pokémon MOBA much sooner than the reveal of Unite, though, as one fan could see the way the wind was blowing years prior.
Redditor JustCallMeCJ shared a post to the Pokémon Unite from seven years ago predicting a MOBA that sounds surprisingly familiar. They speculated that each Pokémon could have four moves similar to the mainline games, matching the traditional ability sets common in MOBAs like Dota 2, which offers four tiers of abilities per hero. JustCallMeCJ also mentions having “Held Items” that grant secondary abilities, another mainline Pokémon feature that made its way into Unite.
However, the Redditor’s comment about Pokémon having four moves has turned out to be only half-right in Unite. Pokémon can have only two moves at any given time, but they have four different opportunities to swap moves between levels 1, 3, 5 and 7. The Redditor’s comment about EVs and IVs factoring in the game has also not panned out. Given TiMi Studio Group’s pace of updates, including the new reveal of Blissey’s Pokémon Unite release date, JustCallMeCJ’s other predictions may still pan out later on.
Of all the series that could make use of the MOBA formula, Pokémon makes a great deal of logical sense given its cast of nearly 900 unique creatures to date. Most major MOBA games rely on a large cast of playable characters as part of their appeal, typically 100 or more. League of Legends, Dota 2, and SMITE all have this in common. That this got anything right about a now-realized Pokémon MOBA shows remarkable foresight. Pokémon Unite has its share of problems and oddities, including players claiming to see bots stealing Pokémon Unite account names, but the game still has time to improve so early in its lifecycle.
Perhaps TiMi Studio Group will meet the predictions of fans like JustCallMeCJ regarding what they want out of a Pokémon MOBA. The inclusion of more mechanics from the main games, EVs, IVs, natures, mega evolutions, and more would come as welcome gameplay additions if implemented correctly.
Pokémon Unite is available for Nintendo Switch, and it will launch on iOS and Android in September 2021.