Seriously, Pokémon needs its fans to design creatures within the next core iteration of the series.
No… I’m not the creepy fan-fiction writer you’re picturing. I’m not hiding away in some crevice with pictures of half-naked anime girls sprawled all over the walls of my room. I’ve never read a Sonic The Hedgehog fanfic, and sadly, playing my Sega Genesis will never be the same after seeing the likes of Coldsteel and Gregory the Cat, both fan-designed Sonic characters. Don’t ever tell me to visit Deviant Art again.
So hear me out!
Earlier this week, Twitter user @ActualAero posted photos of the supposed leaked gen 8 starter Pokémon, rumored to debut on the upcoming Nintendo Switch game. The photos were very quickly proven to be bogus when artist, “50 Shades of Heliolisk,” came forth as their creator and apologized for the trick.
Based on a rabbit, a platypus, and a lemur, the new mons sparked a social media frenzy. The water-type platypus was especially popular. @ShirkTheFloof tweeted, “I’ve never realized how much I want a platypus starter until I saw this.” On a ResetEra thread, commenter Usyren said the designs were the best-looking starters of the last three generations.
Whether you believed the hoax or not, Heliolisk’s designs looked like they were straight out of Game Freak’s development room. This begs the question: could fans design Pokémon that appear in the official games? Maybe. Has something like this been successfully done in a mainstream game franchise? Yes!
The blue bomber, super fighting robot, Mega Man is a franchise built on fan collaboration. From as early as the NES classic, Mega Man 2 (1988), all the way to the critically reviled cell phone game, Mega Man Xover (2012), Capcom left it up to the fans to design many of the boss characters our blue hero would face off against. This means the iconic robot masters: Metal Man, Air Man, and Snake Man, just to name a few, were all created by dedicated fans.
Capcom would hold a boss character contest, promoted in Nintendo Power, where fans would submit their ideas. Of all the chosen submissions, there were only ever two non-Japanese winners: Michael Leader (USA) and Daniel Vallée (Canadian, eh?).
If you want to see a full list of the Mega Man boss character contest winners and some really cool original artwork, check out Mega Man Knowledge Base.
In a 2014 interview between The Mega Man Network and Daniel Vallée, creator of Mega Man 6’s Knight Man, talked about the cool prize pack Capcom sent him, and interestingly, he discussed the minor changes Capcom made to his original design of Knight Man.
If a similar contest were to be held for fan-made Pokémon, a few design tweaks here and there by Game Freak’s artists would be very welcome for consistency’s sake and to improve the look of the… umm, fan-made-looking monsters.
So give us a shot, Nintendo! If not a whole generation, why not at least let the fans take a stab at designing one? Promise there’ll be no inappropriately phallic-shaped ideas.
We’re ready for the challenge!