After playing through Octopath Traveler I realized that it really does stand on a new level. It is doing for RPG’s, as Dark Souls did for action games. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were Octopath-like games in the future, and one in particular kept creeping up in my mind.
An Octopath-like Pokemon game.
Think about it:
You choose where you start in the region. (Crystal clear sort of did that)
You can choose your class, which would change the gameplay dramatically.
You could even ramp up the stakes by crossing each character’s path with each other’s.
From the traditional trainer to master arc, to the snap photographer, ranger, contest challenger, professor aide, and more. There are tons of roles someone could play, and as a fan of romhacks/fangames for over a decade I remember one from ages ago. It was supposedly a FireRed romhack of Pkmn Crystal (I believe it was called Liquid Crystal), that would allow you to be either a trainer, professor aide, or photographer. It was a really cool concept, that sadly I don’t think went anywhere.
Choosing Your Role
Just like the excitement I felt for Liquid Crystal, imagine the Pokemon fan getting presented the character selection screen. However instead of an old timey fantasy map, it is the modern looking (or pixel art) Pokemon Region Town Map.
Jumping from town to town seeing the Trainer or Coordinator characters, and starting out as any one of them.
In the latest PKMN games Scarlet and Violet there are three pathways to choose from. The Trainer, the Hunter of Titans, and the evil team pathway. You progress through all three stories, and that is the game. Take that idea, but put it for 8 different unique characters.
While many people will choose the Trainer path like the normal PKMN games, many others will get to experience a new way of enjoying the PKMN world.
How Regions Do and Should Work
I think there is a fine balance between how both game series operate, and considering the PKMN games are going open world. Then perhaps that should be accounted for too.
Ironically I think there are about the same amount of locations between Octopath and Traditional PKMN regions.
How Gamefreak handles a region
This is coming from generations 3-6 mentalities, but you usually go in a big circle around the region, with a little bit of overlap for back tracking.
Generally it is overly linear, and you challenge the gyms or contests in a particular order. Crystal Clear a romhack does it freely open in a linear region, so we know it is possible. I think that it could lead to an interesting compromise.
Since there are eight gyms, then there are usually at least 10 towns you have to visit.
How Octopath handles a region
Eight characters, 8 easy routes, 8 medium routes, 8 hard routes, and a city for each difficulty and province. At least the characters often share city locations, and you can do multiple stories in one place. Meaning for the 8 gym challenges you don’t have to have just 8 towns for just the trainer. It could overlap with contest halls and construction sites.
It is a wheel with spikes outward if you can imagine it like that, but I feel that it would do better with more spokes outward and a bit more hidden areas.
How this game will handle a region
I think PKMN’s mini circle concept where you can go back to earlier areas is nothing to scoff at. Meaning you have one or two big circles like octopath, but two mini circles separating the big sections. Meaning you can’t go to the other half of the region until later. It will switch depending on your first character.
The Various Roles of the Travelers
Given the implications of how these jobs work in the PKMN world there may be some differences to the chapter structures of each. For example two that comes to mind right away are the Trainer and Coordinator.
The Trainer needs eight badges, meaning he/she will have to go to one of the eight regions, whereas the Coordinator only needs four contests (at least for the main story set).
Perhaps the Coordinator will take a similar approach to the Octopath games, where they will have four chapters, albeit a bit longer ones too. However the trainer instead will get eight smaller chapters. Maybe all of the characters will get eight, as I wasn’t happy that Octopath only gives you four, I’m not sure, but it is all conjecture at this point.
I think too the differences could make for a longer chapter for characters with less of them, and shorter chapters for someone like the trainer.
Pokemon Trainer (Warrior):
Probably the most likely choice for a lot of players first starting out. The eight badge ideal still holds up in the world of Octopath, but instead of having the same amount of chapters for each character.
Perhaps the story is separated from the badge system, or completely intertwined. I can't quite decide.
The chapters could follow the trainer down the traditional path of putting an end to the evil team of the region.
Note: Perhaps Pokemon Conquest could come into play here, or at least in a secret job.
Contest Coordinator (Dancer):
A bunch of corruption is going on in the contest world, and it is up to our dancer to put things back in the right way.
There are usually four contests, and I'd say having a final masters contest as well.
Pokemon Ranger (Hunter):
I didn't play the ranger games really, but I always thought that it was weird how they only stayed side games.
Capturing in their own unique way, and having them follow you, or at least act like summons in the lines of the Hunter gameplay of Octopath.
It fits perfectly.
A brand new discovery was just found, like the egg in Generation two, and you're a Professor's aide researching this new phenomenon.
The professor sends you on a journey to find out more about this new crazy discovery.
Construction Worker (Merchant):
Ok hear me out… I thought this would be an interesting pick, as of course I was picking from the bottom of the barrel by the time I got to this point. However think about how quickly all of these cities in the PW get built. All of the PKMN that are construction oriented, and how it is completely reasonable to have a really interesting story of a person traveling across the region helping different construction projects.
You would also probably be able to hear things you shouldn’t, such as an evil team getting their building built, and you overhear the leader saying something. That gets you caught up in all of their stuff.
Given the business acumen you need to be a successful construction worker leader; I thought this would work as the merchant. Alternatively, you could just have a store keeper in a PokeMart go on an adventure discovering the supply chain of the Pokemon World.
Given how important breeding is as a mechanic in the games, then this character would have higher stat yields. Often getting better EVs, faster egg hatching, knows how to make all of the various Berry to foods combinations like Poffins.
Could possibly take on an adventure like Brock does in the anime.
One of the Nurse Joys lost her Chansey, and now has to go on an adventure to reclaim her partner Pokemon. Then for the second half she would have to find a way to evolve it into a Blissey.
During this quest she helps out other Nurse Joy's across the region.
Evil Team Member (Thief):
Let's say that the evil team of the region, imagine team rocket, is growing in size. However someone wants to defect, like Finn in Star Wars, and becomes this sort of anti-hero.
Given that the teams usually steal Pokemon from the other trainers, it would make sense that his/her path action could be that of steal other people's creature. At least the normal people of the world.
These are interesting because they can really fit in the Pokemon world, either really well, or not so great (i.e. Photographer doesn't fully fit, but the Elite Four Warmaster seems perfect).
While this is one job I thought would be part of the main eight, there is this feeling for me that it is better suited for a “secret job”.
Frontier Brain/Gym Leader/Elite Four (Warmaster):
Perhaps a postgame role, or that of a DLC, but I am not sure. It just is one of the most famous jobs in the series that I had to mention it. I am not sure how to make that work without it being over powered, but maybe that is the point! Perhaps it is the “secret job” of this game, and is akin to how the Warmaster is the better version of the Warrior/Hunter classes.
Legendary Pokemon (Sorcerer):
I wanted one of the main traveler jobs to be able to BE a PKMN, a la Mystery Dungeon, but alas I think that may be too powerful or weird in the gameplay loop. However if one were to take that a step further, and make the job be a legendary PKMN. Depending on which Traveler you make have this second job, the PKMN can be different too. It would add an interesting element. Perhaps it overtakes your main job even!
Arceus Multitype or Silvally RKS System (Runelord):
I wasn’t sure how to fit this into a job or lore, but the idea of a runelord really fits into their abilities of multi-types.
I was almost thinking that the Gym leader or Conest Master would be the finale for the Trainer and Dancer respectively. Perhaps since the Trainer is a good first choice, then it would be a smooth way to introduce the Secret Jobs.
Combining the Best Elements of Both Series
I think this concept is super cool, and I had multiple occasions where I was thinking about this. I think it came to me in an alpha wave sleepy state, where most of the best ideas come forth.
I don't know if either big company would see this, so if not then maybe I'll do it myself.
Alternatively, it could be a collaboration with "Phasevos"
Given that Phasevos is a series that I am currently working on, the actual ability for companies working together is higher I would think. Square can probably convince anyone to do it if they really wanted to, but it would be really difficult still to try and convince Nintendo and GameFreak to collab on a game of that style.
Given that Phasevos has a lot of the same style of game as Pokemon, then perhaps just expanding the types of playable classes in Phasevos is key to being able to make an Octopath-Phasevo game.