It would take some tweaking, but the Pokémon series could turn into a great music game!
With the upcoming release of Theatrhythm Dragon Quest, one has to imagine what other video game series could benefit with a music-centric title, celebrating both the music and history of the series at the same time. Now it doesn’t necessarily have to be anything in the Square Enix universe; it could be across any publisher and platform. For me, the easiest pick would be the Pokémon series. Now that we are in the sixth generation of the series there’s a bevy of music to choose from that would satiate any Poké-enthusiast's musical appetite.
Looking at the mechanics found in the Theatrhythm series, plugging in Pokémon concepts and ideas should be rather easy. In the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy series players partner with a number of Final Fantasy characters, spanning across all titles, as they battle monsters and villains from the franchise’s lore. While my idea is similar to this, I will have to tweak it a bit in order to convey what the Pokémon series is all about. After all, since this would be celebrating Pokémon, it should play somewhat similar to a Pokémon title!
Theatrhythm Pokémon would have players start off with one Pokémon. Like the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy series, players would come across event sequences featuring a number of Pokémon in their pre-evolved form. These music selections would be overworld themes, such as themes of routes, caves, and surfing areas. Once players clear a stage the Pokémon would be theirs. As more stages are played, the Pokémon will gain more experience and level up, eventually evolving. If a player’s Pokémon needs to evolve a third time there would be another stage provided (probably featuring music from spinoffs and other assorted Pokémon games) that would not feature a Pokémon battle, but rather a goal of just beating a stage well enough in order to evolve the Pokémon into its final form. These stages would require higher risks (failing more easily, in other words) for the better reward.
Event music sequences don’t mix well with Pokémon. While the series always has a story, it’s not as integral as to where it dominates the game like it does with Final Fantasy at times. So these would have to be altered. I would instead have Legendary Pokémon sequences. There are always legendary Pokémon that can be encountered either during the main storyline itself or after the game is completed. These legendary battles often have their own music, so battling these Pokémon by completing their song and catching them (probably at a higher criteria than catching Pokémon in field events) could be a fun experience.
And as for battle music sequences, these would become Gym Leader/Elite 4/Champion sequences. This, of course, would be music from the highest leveled trainers you’ve come across in each respective series. Only the highest and most well trained Pokémon would be able to tackle their music. Who would the final boss of this game’s story mode be? Well, of course it would be up to debate. Since this is my idea, I’ll go with Red. Who doesn’t get chills remembering the time they climbed up to Mt. Silver and squared off with the original champion? Plus the music that played during battle was phenomenal, so it almost HAS to be the last song to play in story mode!
There are some kinks here and there that would need to be addressed in order for it to become a viable project. For one, you’d have to figure in typing. If I capture and evolve a Bulbasaur and go on to face a Charmander in field battle, how would that affect gameplay? Automatically make the notes harder to hit? And just how many Pokemon are we talking about here? There’s not enough music to capture all 720 Pokemon. Not to mention Mega Evolutions, how would they work?
Of course, this is the fun of posting this article, to garner ideas and concepts about a potential Pokémon game similar to Theatrhythm Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. I do believe that my concept could work, and would be pretty similar to the aforementioned titles, but other ideas are always welcome as well. Now, who knows what the chances really are of Nintendo releasing such a title, but the music is there, and the game idea is there as well. What would your ideas of a Pokémon music game entail? Let me know!