Pokemon Sun and Moon are bringing with them several changes to the Pokemon formula. Not only are classic Pokemon getting new forms just for the new regions, the official site even states that the region operates on its own terms and is quite different than anything we have visited before. The regions are getting rid of day and night cycles to push their story forward instead of focusing on the formula.
Sun and Moon are taking some drastic turns compared to the other handheld games in the series. First off they seem to be leaning towards giving the Alola region itself deep bits of lore and it’s own history, which they will use to change the core gameplay mechanics we are used too. As it appears now we may even forgo the classic gym battles and possibly the Elite Four in exchange for island based challenges. We have been told that islands will have leaders called Kahunas that will be challenged when you finish trials on the islands. The trials will vary from battles to finding items to progress in the island’s quests. After you finish gathering your quest item you will be challenged by a boss know as a totem Pokemon.
Totem Pokemon will be larger than other Pokemon of the same name and have special abilities. When in battle with them they will also have the option to call in other Pokemon to fight you as well. There are 5 islands you have to make it through one of which is man made instead of being nature based like the rest. If you manage to make it through the totem you will then end up in the Grand Trial for the island that once beaten will give you recognition across the region and allow you to progress in the story. We aren’t completely sure how the progression will take place at the moment, but it can only be assumed that we are taking out gyms as we have seen art for everything but leaders at this point.
On top of all of this, there will be two different organizations as well as ultra beasts that you will get entangled with. Team Skull is the suspected bad guys of the generation and have the mysterious Type Null Pokemon by their side, in the story; they will mess up trial sites and be involved in robbing trainers of their Pokemon. The Aether Foundation has constructed a man-made island to take in and care for different Pokemon, they also do research on the mysterious ultra beasts that threaten the island. Finally, Ultra Beasts are mysterious Pokemon that are named with code words that have been causing disasters around the Alola region for unknown reasons, we do not know how many there are or what they currently want.
Along with all these changes, there will be new Z moves that involve buying a separate item to use. The Z- watch will be sold in stores with Z crystals and will link to your 3DS to be used in battle. Other than these changes we are still waiting to find out more information about the changes in Sun and Moon. On the bright side it looks like Pokemon-Amie will be returning in a new version and we have confirmed avatar customization for your trainer.