For years, Pokémon fans have begged developers Game Freak to let monsters follow the player around in the overworld, as Heart Gold and Soul Silver once did. Well, it looks like that feature is actually contained within the files of Pokémon Sun and Moon.
Hacker @KazoWAR discovered the latest Pokémon games hide something very interesting:
All the Pokemon have low polygon models and walking animations? hmm... 🤔
— KazoWAR (@KazoWAR) December 5, 2016
I checked a few Pokemon and they all seem to have it. all the animations work for both versions, even battle and amie/refresh animations pic.twitter.com/0lUBZ7hcsS— KazoWAR (@KazoWAR) December 5, 2016
Since this discovery, other fans have dived into the files and have extracted the in-game models using an open source 3DS file viewer called Ohana. Just as KazoWAR said, they’ve found that each and every monster has walking, resting, and running animations, in addition to “low poly” models that would best the most useful in the overworld. Meaning: it sure as heck looks like Game Freak programmed the ability to walk with your monsters on the wider map.
This is what the feature would have looked like, courtesy of YouTuber @SleepyJirachi. Press the play button to see the animations:
He's gunna hug ya pic.twitter.com/i3TiUj7dga— Sleepy (@SleepyJirachi) December 6, 2016
(Naruto Intensifies) pic.twitter.com/HNG3E7uVea— Sleepy (@SleepyJirachi) December 6, 2016
omg lmao pic.twitter.com/i0RSqh7ioz— Sleepy (@SleepyJirachi) December 6, 2016
All of the starters walk / run pic.twitter.com/CKl25D6yBl— Sleepy (@SleepyJirachi) December 5, 2016
Was hoping Buzzwole would walk funny with four legs. Now I'm dissapointed. pic.twitter.com/Wwu336C7bw— Sleepy (@SleepyJirachi) December 5, 2016
om nom nom pic.twitter.com/6RbtYWSs49— Sleepy (@SleepyJirachi) December 5, 2016
“There’s a ton of work put into these,” SleepyJirachy said. Sure enough, there are all sorts of unique animations, depending on the shape, size, and specification of the creatures. “Some mons even have transition animations...this is a gold mine and I’ve no idea why it would be completely finished without being in the game.”
There are two possibilities here. The first one is that this is simply a cut feature; maybe Game Freak ran out of time to fully implement follower Pokémon into the games.
The second, more intriguing theory: this is a feature we’re going to see in Pokémon Stars, which is reported to be the third version of the latest generation. Traditionally, the third version of any given generation comes with a slew of new features meant to entice people to play through a game they’ve largely already experienced before. Players poking around with the files note that these animations seem fleshed out and nearly done, making their exclusion in Sun and Moon a bit of a mystery. It’s a lot of work to scrap and then not use at some point. But maybe I’m just mad I can’t see Magikarp uselessly flopping after my character:
Magikarp just flops pic.twitter.com/B5CKwlB4bo— Sleepy (@SleepyJirachi) December 6, 2016
“I’d imagine they cut it because of lag reasons maybe?” SleepyJirachi mused. “Could be coming for the NX version perhaps.”
In the mean time, I guess we can all just boot up Pokémon Go and equip a buddy to sate us from the inability to do so in the main games.