We got our first taste of Pokémon Sun and Moon live gameplay during E3 at Nintendo Treehouse today. The next games in the Pokémon series are set to launch on November 18 of this year. Early gameplay was featured, with a trainer running around the region of Alola soon after getting his first Pokémon, Poplio.
During battle, dynamic lighting will change the look of your game. Depending on the time of game and the location of the titular sun, shadows will change position and grow longer or shorter, with the colour of the sky changing as well. There are also changes to the UI of the battle itself, to make it easier for players to know what’s going on. Trainers can quickly find information about their Pokémon through use of the touch screen, getting info on things like what moves do and a Pokémon’s status. You get info on your opponents’ Pokémon as well. If you’ve battled a particular Pokémon before, your move list will display what moves are super effective or not very effective against a Pokémon the next time. After a battle, if a Pokémon is caught that is, white pokéball symbols will appear next to the Pokémon’s profile, telling players that there are more Pokémon in the line and increasing the catch me’ all drive.
Trainer battles are of course back, and they too are different than in previous games. Moving near a trainer will cause the screen to start to go into a letterbox design, to increase tension or warn the player that there’s an unbattled trainer, and he or she may want to head in the direction of a Pokécenter or risk losing if their Pokémon are weak. Trainers appear in the battle as well. They don’t fight of course, but you can see the size of your Pokémon and how they relate to humans—it’s pretty neat!
Sun and Moon will also introduce the all-new Battle Royal system, a four-player free-four-all Pokémon battle. Players will be allowed to bring three Pokémon into the Battle Royal stadium, fighting with their Pokémon one at a time. The battle will end when any player loses all of his or her Pokémon, with the winner being the trainer with the greatest sum of defeated and remaining Pokémon. The strategy of Pokémon battles will have to change greatly for Battle Royal not just with the Pokémon of one trainer, but with the Pokémon of three. Battles with multiple Pokémon aren’t a new thing, but this is another step up in the mechanic.
We learned quite a bit about Sun and Moon from Nintendo Treehouse today, including some new Pokémon: Yungoos, a ferret, and Pikipeck, a woodpecker, and Grubbin, a beetle. Of course, players should keep in mind that the games aren’t releasing until November 18. At this point there’s still a lot that can change, so it’s a good idea not to get to attached to any one thing. At any rate, Pokémon Sun and Moon are shaping up to be an interesting new addition to the Pokémon series!