Round Table: Back in Black (and White)

The staff share their thoughts on what we can expect from Pokémon Black 2 and White 2.

By Nintendojo Staff. Posted 04/11/2012 10:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

It’s safe to say we were all a little surprised when Game Freak announced a pair of direct sequels to Pokémon Black and White instead of the expected “Grey” version. Not only did this buck the release pattern the series had been following since its inception, it marked the first time that Game Freak had opted to continue a storyline within a single generation, giving us two unique adventures in the same universe.

It’s clear that some much-needed change is afoot for the Pokémon franchise, but just how far will Black 2 and White 2 stray from the series’ conventions? We may not know all that much about the games yet, but that won’t stop us from making a few educated guesses on what we can expect from them. We’ve even enlisted’s resident Pokémon Master, Joe Merrick, to offer his expert opinion on the titles, providing you with the most insightful collection of predictions the Internet has to offer. So what do we think we’ll see in Black 2 and White 2?

Joe Merrick, webmaster of

I think Black 2 and White 2 could possibly be the best thing to happen to Pokémon in quite a while. Typically, the releases inside a generation are just repackaged versions of the first pair, but these are said by CoroCoro and Nintendo to be different. Black and White were the first Pokémon games to have a strong narrative and ended with the antagonists having escaped– N, leaving on Reshiram or Zekrom, with reports of him leaving to a distant land, and Ghetsis still being at large. These plot points are just begging for a sequel.

It really cannot be a coincidence that the Kyurem form on the cover of the games is the form which matches the Pokémon N had in the games; Black Kyurem in Black 2, where N had Zekrom in Black, and White Kyurem in White 2, where he had Reshiram in White. There has to be a connection to the story from before.

When Black and White came and were said to be essentially a reboot of the franchise, I had a theory that they would deviate from the norm and that we’d receive a game halfway through the generation which would be in a region with a Pokédex made out of Pokémon from all five generations. I believe that this is what we will receive with Black 2 and White 2 and, due to the new region, there will be many new characters, gym leaders and everything.

Another possibility is that we will receive another portion of Unova. Based on the map from the Gear Station in the Battle Subway, the Battle Subway’s lines go out to various parts of Unova that aren’t accessible. If the game utilizes these areas, we could end up having a slight cross over into Unova, perhaps the top part of it so the EntraLink will be functional between all four games.

Starter-wise, I can see the games potentially offering the Unova starters again, but with their Hidden Abilities. These abilities are typically only available to Pokémon within the Dream World in Black and White, but no Unova Pokémon can be found there at this time. This will allow for differentiation between Black and White. Alternatively, they could just go for a selection of old starters, or even Pansage, Pansear and Panpour, who, with their Hidden Abilities, get the same abilities as all previous starters.

The possibilities really are exciting. Not much will change in gameplay due to it running the same engine for compatibility (which also explains the reason to not jump onto the 3DS), but we’ll probably get more instances of all the seldom used features such as Triple Battles and Rotation Battles. It really is a good time to be a Pokémon fan.

Kyle England

The announcement of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 kind of came out of nowhere. The third versions of Pokémon games usually don’t come out for another couple years after the first two! I honestly have no idea what to expect from the sequel versions. Game Freak changed up the Pokémon formula with Black and White, so I’d expect them to change up how they do sequels with these new versions.

I definitely think that the story is going to pick up where Pokémon Black and White left off. There were several unresolved plot lines at the end of the games that could see resolution here. My guess is that N has something to do with the new Black and White Kyurem that are being featured in Black 2 and White 2. In the original versions, the legendary Pokémon available to the player was the opposite color of the version being played. Reshiram, the white Pokémon, was available in Black Version whereas Zekrom, the black Pokémon, was available in White Version. The Pokémon that N had was the one that matched up with the version. In the covers for Black 2 and White 2 the Pokémon colors have switched. Black Kyurem is on the cover of Black 2 and White Kyurem is on the cover of White 2! So if White Version is meant to be followed up by White 2 (and vice versa), then the Kyurem will match the color of the Pokémon that N had in both games.

I’m not sure what region the new games will take place in though. Unova was pretty well turned over in Black and White. Maybe the player will follow N and Ghetsis to the far-off lands that they fled to. That also brings up another
speculation I had: who will be the player? Will the new games break tradition and allow you to transfer over your player and Pokémon from the first games? If the story of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is indeed a continuation of the first two titles, this would make sense to do. It would be pretty cool to have tough high level opponents from the start, because your character is already the Unova champion. But what I think is most likely is that the games will be from a new character’s point of view, which means you would have to start from scratch and train new Pokémon.

And of course there is also the speculated connection to Ruby Version and Sapphire Version. The jewels on the covers of the new games are red and blue, and the character Looker wanted to recruit the player to join his International Task Force. Seeing that Looker first appeared in Platinum Version and traveled all the way to Unova, is too much of a stretch to say that he and the player could travel to Hoenn? But it’s just baseless speculation really. The links between Black and White and the Hoenn adventures are not very solid at all though. Red and blue are recurring colors throughout the entire Pokémon franchise, and they are clearly meant to represent Zekrom’s lighting and Reshiram’s fire in the case of the Black 2 and White 2 covers. I’m not holding my breath and expecting the games to return to Hoenn or set the stage for Ruby and Sapphire remakes.

Kevin Knezevic

As both Joe and Kyle have already pointed out, Pokémon Black and White ended on something of a cliffhanger. While you were able to successfully disband Team Plasma and show N the error of his ways, the games made it a point to state that he was last seen flying on his respective dragon over a faraway region, leaving his fate just ambiguous enough to support a followup story.

It only makes sense, then, to continue this plot thread, but if Black 2 and White 2 do indeed pick up where the first pair left off (as everyone seems to predict), it begs a very important question: what of Kyurem? There is, after all, only one in the Pokémon mythos, which Hilbert/Hilda would have presumably already captured in Black and White (just as Mewtwo and the legendary bird trio were absent from Gold and Silver because Red had encountered them three years prior). Will we continue their journey (by some method of transfer, as Kyle predicted), or will we assume the role of a new trainer who will inevitably become tangled up in this larger conflict? And if we do take on the role a new trainer, what kind of starter Pokémon will he/she be offered? Will they be the same ones we chose from in the first Black and White versions, or will they be a different set of Grass, Fire and Water monsters (like Pansage, Pansear and Panpour, as Joe suggested)?

There must be a reason these three share their abilities with every previous starter Pokémon.

It’s all very exciting to think about because we don’t have any immediate answers to these questions. For the first time since the announcement of Gold and Silver, I’m genuinely at a loss for what to expect from these games. Regardless of which path the narrative takes, though, there will no doubt be a new region to explore in Black 2 and White 2. Since Unova is (to an extent) based on America, this new region could be a nearby island (or archipelago) like Hawaii. This would certainly account for its distance away from Unova (according to the ending of Black and White). This would also mean that it would contain its own set of gym leaders– and likely its own Elite Four– to defeat, after which you’d be free to travel back to mainland Unova and face the trainers there (in much the way that Kanto was included in Gold and Silver). I can also see some familiar faces returning in Black 2 and White 2: Alder and Ghetsis will no doubt play a vital role in the games’ storyline, while Cheren and Bianca will probably reappear in different capacities (Cheren as a gym leader, or even Pokémon League Champion; Bianca as an assistant to Professor Juniper). And if there will indeed be remakes of Ruby and Sapphire as many people suspect, I can see Steven Stone making another cameo appearance to foreshadow their announcement.

What I don’t think we’ll see in the games, though, is any new Pokémon (besides the few legendary creatures that have yet to debut). A new batch of Pokémon would make Black 2 and White 2 incompatible with their predecessors (at least insofar as being able to battle with those who only own the previous versions), which is something each “third” version of a generation has thus far avoided. Instead, we’ll likely get a few new move tutors that will expand the movesets of older Pokémon, thereby affecting their competitive viability.

Of course, this is all just baseless speculation. Even if none of these predictions come to pass, I’m sure Black 2 and White 2 will be another fine pair of installments in their franchise; after all, the two have already exceeded my expectations by virtue of being new titles, and we don’t even know anything about them yet! Whatever Game Freak decides to do with the games, I can’t wait to get my hands on them.

Adam Sorice

While the third iteration of any Pokémon game may seem as pedestrian as things come in the world of gaming, Pokémon Black and White have already proved themselves to be the exceptions to every rule in the Pokédex. While staying true to the franchise’s core ideology, Black and White made a well-worn formula suddenly feel fresh, ruthlessly cutting away at the undergrowth of the gameplay’s core mechanics that had built up over the last fifteen years. While it may seem trivial, things such as removing pre-existing Pokémon from the main game, revolutionizing the role of TMs and HMs and putting an end to grinding players with a gradated experience system turned your routine Pokémon adventure on its head.

And so it really should have come as little surprise when Game Freak similarly took the painfully predictable concept of the third version and once again, subverted our mutual expectations. Pokémon Gods have come and gone but it was a number “2” that truly threw franchise devotees (present company included, perhaps) off balance. In a franchise that had always evolved at a somewhat glacial pace, the surprisingly punchy narrative of Black and White looks set to be continued by way of a direct sequel. Others have discussed the potential story at length in this round table so I won’t focus at length on it but I do believe the continuation of our story could see a shift of time rather than location. The closest the Pokémon franchise has dabbled in to sequelization before are to be found in Gold and Silver, as the new protagonist follows in the footsteps of the hero of Red and Blue three full years later. As becomes clear, a lot can change in three years and we could similar actions in Black 2 and White 2. Personally I believe the return to Unova is likely, most probably with the inclusion of a distinctly new second region nearby. In an environment in which characters stand eternally still once they have been sufficiently interacted with by the player, the fact that N was crucially depicted as heading somewhere else cannot be ignored.

Whether that means your original hero seeks to follow him, or if N poses a new threat to another young trainer who must defend his own territory is an intriguing question. The likelihood of importing your character and team into a new game a la Mass Effect suggests an interesting possibility but would ultimately knock the player’s development and game’s difficulty curve way out of alignment. Because of this, I think the potential for a player indigenous to this new region to start their own journey after N is much more likely, opening up the potential for different starter Pokémon to be offered. Joe makes an excellent point in regards to the Unova Pokémon Dream World abilities but I’m not sure if Pansage, Pansear and Panpour are realistic starters in terms of their growth in terms of moves and evolution. I can see Treecko, Torchic and Mudkip colliding with the direct sequels in a Hoenn versus Unova extravaganza but that could just be a potential fangasm on my part. Realistically, I don’t see Ruby and Sapphire being remastered for a console that is only one generation beyond the Game Boy Advance, Game Freak are far too well aware that without some major tricks being pulled out of bags, HeartGold and SoulSilver will remain as the definitive nostalgia-laden experience for players.

Regardless of what they have to offer, I’m very excited to see what becomes of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 because at the end of the day, the Pokémon franchise hasn’t taken a wrong step yet.

Now that you’ve seen our predictions, we’d like to know yours! What do you think we can expect from Black 2 and White 2? Will the pair be set in an entirely new region? Will we see N again? Or will the games simply be remixed versions of the first Black and White? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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