Pokémon is one of my favorite franchises in gaming. Of all RPGs that I know of (with Chrono Cross being the only contender), Pokémon games have the largest possible combination of party members, each of which is highly customizable. They're fun to play through, but once you finish, sometimes there just isn't much to do. And with only one save slot, you're discouraged from playing through again from the beginning, lest you lose your current team.
To solve this, I propose a New Game Plus option for players who've beaten the champion. This would add a great deal of replayability to the game without giving the player too much power from the beginning of the new playthrough. The following features would be more than enough reason to play through a second time.
Retrieving Pokémon from Previous Playthroughs
Many games have choices in which the player is limited to one Pokémon per playthrough, usually involving starters and fossils. The version itself is a choice. Most games with New Game Plus allow progress to be carried over, and the ability to carry over Pokémon from each previous playthrough — even if it's limited to six per playthrough — would be a great way to prevent the loss of starting a new save file.
For balance reasons, these Pokémon would be available only after beating the champion in the new playthrough. The team would be delivered to the player's PC and retain all of their stats, moves, held items, and so on.
Improved Wild Pokémon
By default, wild Pokémon know the four latest moves as determined by its level. For each of a Pokémon's four move slots in New Game Plus mode, there's a 3% chance that it will be replaced with an earlier move, a 2% chance that it will be replaced with a move it would normally learn at a higher level, and a 1% that it will be replaced with an egg move. This will add a great deal of variety and unpredictability to keep things fresh and challenging.
To make things even more interesting, there's a 5% chance that a wild Pokémon will be a random Pokémon from the entire roster (from Bulbasaur up until the latest entry) within the level range of the area. For Pokémon with evolutions, the level of the area determines which form is present.
This means that you could run into a level 19 Ivysaur that knows solarbeam. Given the massive number of Pokémon, searching specific areas and trading are still the most efficient ways of finding a specific one, but this would be simply awesome.
Improved Trainer Pokémon
Trainer Pokémon in New Game Plus mode can now know TMs, HMs, and egg moves. This is for added challenge and unpredictability. Ideally, trainers will also have improved AI and use moves and abilities more effectively.
Ultimate Training Location
Fighting wild Pokémon can get repetitive, so I propose the ultimate solution, perhaps made available after defeating a challenging opponent with high-level Pokémon: a location with 20 floors (and an elevator) where each floor represents a level range by fives: 1-5, 6-10, and so on. On each floor, players can encounter any Pokémon that exists with equal probability for each. The same conditions mentioned above apply: forms are based on the level, and moves might be replaced with earlier, later, or egg moves. Each floor is divided into distinct areas for different battle environments (tall grass, rain, etc.).
Also — and this might be a good idea for the game in general — Pokémon who don't battle recover 10% of their HP and 5% of their PP for each move (rounded up) after each victory, or less if that's too much.
Increased Shiny Pokémon
In New Game Plus, every Pokémon has a 1% chance of being shiny including eggs of non-shiny parents.
Gym Leader Tower
After defeating the champion, players can battle gym leaders indefinitely using rentals. The player's Pokémon and the gym leader's Pokémon will all be at level 50 and can't level up. In New Game Plus, all gym leaders from previous generations are also available to battle. First you battle Brock, then Misty, and so on, with the ability to go back and battle any gym leader you've already beaten in any order. Defeating the eighth gym leader of one generation unlocks rentals from the next generation, although the first time through a set of eight, you're limited to rentals from the generation you're currently facing against. Pokémon have preset moves and default stats, with lower forms having better moves and ability/nature combinations for balance; for example, Charmander might know flamethrower or fire blast, whereas Charizard might know Ember.
After defeating all gym leaders, players can choose a rental's ability, nature, moves, and gender or use the default ones. Players can use any unlocked rentals against any gym leader generation they've already beaten, meaning you aren't limited to using generation 2 Pokémon against generation 2 gym leaders. All Pokémon including event-only Pokémon like Mew and Celebi are included among the rentals.
In summary, this is how it will work:
- First time battling Brock: limited to generation 1 rentals
- Battling Brock after defeating Giovanni: limited to rentals from unlocked generations
- Battling Brock after completing the tower: can choose from and customize any rentals
This would be the ultimate fan service. Rentals would encourage players to try new Pokémon, and customizable rentals would encourage experimentation.