In recent Generations, Pokémon game have all had some form of transformation gimmick, and the next should use the coolest one from the anime, Bond Evolution. There are many possible gimmicks that future Generations of Pokémon games could use, but this is perhaps the best option. The upcoming Gen 9 games that will release on November 18, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, are already locked into Terastallization for their gimmick, but Bond Evolution can still appear in Gen 10 or beyond.
In the Pokémon anime, Bond Evolution is a phenomenon used by the main character, Ash Ketchum, with his Greninja. With it, Greninja was able to temporarily take on a new, more powerful form. This is somewhat similar to Mega Evolution, but it does not require the use of Mega Stones, and the transformation gives Greninja some similarities to Ash. In this form, Ash can feel Greninja’s pain and see from his point of view. According to Professor Sycamore, who studies how Pokémon‘s Mega Evolution works, it is only possible when the trust between Pokémon and Trainer is at its maximum, and Ash has likened the feeling of the bond to Aura, the energy used by the Lucario line. Currently, Bond Evolution is exclusive to Ash and Greninja.
While Bond Evolution has been used in the Gen 7 Sun and Moon games, it was only through a Greninja that had to be transferred from the demo, and has not appeared prominently on its own. It should, however, as it’s very cool and has a great amount of potential as its own mechanic in a Pokémon game. Bond Evolution can result in many good-looking unique forms and could also fit very well thematically into a game and its story. It’s far superior to the laziest gimmicks like Pokémon SV‘s Terastallization, so hopefully it appears in either the next remake or new Generation.
The Pokémon Games Would Benefit From The Anime’s Bond Evolution
How a new Pokémon game would use Bond Evolution is difficult to say. The Greninja in Gen 7 achieved it with use of the Battle Bond ability that let it take on the form of Ash Greninja after defeating an opposing Pokémon, but this may not be the best way to utilize it. It might be better off if the games treated it like Mega Evolution or Terastallization, where players can activate it at will. A high friendship level could be a good requirement, one that can make better use of the friendship mechanic than past games have. Making it available to every Pokémon in the game may create a strain on file space and make Bond Evolution feel less special, like Pokémon SV‘s Terastallizing gimmick, but even if only a few species were capable of it, it could still be very cool.
How Bond Evolution would affect the Pokémon is also unpredictable, especially with the Pokémon games’ increasing amounts of character customization. Being based on the default player model and gaining some markings with their skin or hair color is perhaps a given, but there are other possibilities. Players may be able to select patterns for their character that their Bond Evolved Pokémon would share, for example, similar to the lightning bolt marks on Ash’s face that Greninja gains. Other possibilities include – but are not limited to – different forms for the male and female player characters, along with ones for rivals and other significant characters like Pokémon‘s evil Team leaders.
The possibility of Bond Evolution being used in a Pokémon game may be greater than it appears. The anime has a tendency to reveal things before they feature in Pokémon games, such as when Donphan first appeared in the film Mewtwo Strikes Back. In addition, some Generational gimmicks have tended to mimic things from the anime, such as Dynamax being similar to the Giant Dragonite from episode 13 of the first season, Mystery at the Lighthouse, and Terastallization to the Crystal Onix in episode 87. What the future holds for Pokémon games can’t be said for certain at the moment, but the possibility for Bond Evolution is most certainly there, so with any luck, players may be able to Bond Evolve their Pokémon in a future Generation.
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