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Greetings, Serenes Foresters. So, this is a discussion I've wanted to kick off for a little while now. The timing is partly inspired by another thread, where the topic of version differences came up. Should there be a lot of differences, so there's more material for those who buy both versions? Or should there be fewer differences, so players who only pick one aren't missing out on much? Let's step back for a minute - should there be version differences at all? Pokemon Legends: Arceus released as a single version, and I haven't heard anyone consider it to the game's detriment. But abandoning the version model would reduce the chance for different experiences and undermine the significance of connecting between players. Or would it? I think it would be possible to maintain different experiences and the need to connect, even with a single version. Depending on how it's done, it could actually enable far more variation than the current version model. How, you may ask? The answer is simple - flags. Now, before you accuse me of derailing this thread into the realm of vexillology, let me stop you right there. I'm referring to a series of binary options, that can be set to one of two values. Think "True/False" or "On/Off". Each such flag would be associated with a change in something about the game. To get inspiration, let's look at the most traditional and eminent version difference: different Pokemon between versions. In Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green, certain Pokemon are exclusive to one version or the other. Growlithe and Arcanine, for instance, are exclusive to Fire Red, while Vulpix and Ninetales can be caught only in Leaf Green. There are also frequency differences - Nidoran(M) and Nidorino are more abundant in Fire Red, while Nidoran(F) and Nidorina can be more readily found in Leaf Green. Each of these differences can be conceived of as a flag, colored either Red or Green. Here's a list of a few such distinctions: So, Fire Red can be thought of as the game where all the flags are set to red, while in Leaf Green, all the flags are set to green. But, do we even need two versions for that? What if the flags were set when you start a new game, either all red or all green? That way, the player can get the experience of either version, without needing two different pieces of hardware. But why stop there? What if each flag were independent of each other? Let's suppose it happened to FRLG. If the flags are independent, then you can get a playthrough where Magmar is found in the wild, but Horsea is more common than Krabby. It should be evident that this leads to more varied experiences between playthroughs. Suppose, in the next pair of games, that there are 20 exclusive "sets" of Pokemon. A "set" can be a single Pokemon (i.e. Zangoose; Seviper), an evolution line (i.e. Lotad -> Lombre -> Ludicolo; Seedot -> Nuzleaf -> Shiftry), or even a group of otherwise connected Pokemon (i.e. Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Lugia; Raikou, Entei, Suicune, Ho-oh). Under the normal version model, Pokemon Scarlet might have all the red sets, whereas Pokemon Violet has all the green sets. But a version-less Pokemon Gen IX would have far more variations - 2 to the power of however many exclusive elements there are. With just 20, that's already 1,048,576! You could play the game a thousand times, with each playthrough almost certainly being at least somewhat different from the one before it! And, if it's contained within a single version, there would be no need to make an extra hardware purchase, or otherwise buy DLC. Now, to be sure, there are senses in which such a model might be considered flawed. Right now, if you and a friend have the opposite versions, then you can fill up the Pokedex just by trading with each other. In an "independent flags" format, however, the odds of any two games having all their flags be opposite of the other is astronomically low. But is that really a problem? If the intent of version differences was to encourage players to interact and trade, then wouldn't a model which demands more trading partners actually be more effective to this end? Whereas before, two people could fill the Dex together, now they're likely to need help from a third, fourth, even a fifth player. You might be the only person in your friend group who has Zangoose - and conversely, the only one lacking Seviper. One other aspect I could see as a flaw is the lack of predictability. If I want to use Vileplume on my team, then I know that Fire Red is the version for me. But with a single version, I don't know whether I'll get Oddish or Bellsprout from the start. And needing to restart after making it through Mt. Moon would certainly be a chore. For this, my proposal is simple: let players who have beaten the game already set their own flags. Maybe it'd require a secret button input, or a unique code. But it would be a way for experienced players to set their own options ahead of time. And without the version-lock, I could set things up so that my team features both a Vileplume and a Slowking. I don't believe such an option should be available for the first playthrough, because I would want players to be surprised by what they get, but I think making it a "New Game Plus" feature is totally reasonable. So, how does this sound? Is this kind of structure something you'd like to see in future generations? Or would it be too hard to say goodbye to the version model we've known for nine generations now? Alternatively, is the very concept of version differences, or "flags", something that has no place in the future of the series? Let me know below! One more thing: I intentionally haven't broached the "business side" of such a change. I recognize that there's a very strong economic argument for Game Freak and Nintendo to retain the two-version standard. While I'm not opposed to any discussion on business considerations, I hope that the crux of the conversation can remain "is this something you'd like to see?" rather than "is this something you think the developers would or should do?". That's it, thanks for reading!
So over the holidays i recently got a ps4 bundled with Uncharted 4. I also managed to get Final Fantasy XV and Little Big Planet 3 for cheap. Now I already have a decent gaming PC and take full advantage of Lord Gaben's goodness on indie titles as well as AAAs. In short, if its a game on PC i'll get it on PC. For this reason I'm actually struggling to find console exclusives on PS4 indie or otherwise. Im also not too familiar with the platform as its my first Sony console. Im pretty open to most things so any recommendations are welcomed!