Home Japanese warriors Pokemon Conquest’s appeal is clearer than ever after 10 years

Pokemon Conquest’s appeal is clearer than ever after 10 years


In 2019, TitleMax released statistics showing Pokemon was the highest-grossing media franchise of all time. This status continued until the 25th anniversary of Pokemon Red and Green in 2021, and now Game Freak is gearing up to launch its ninth generation of core creature-collecting RPGs with pokemon scarlet and Purple. The Pokemon Company’s multimedia empire includes ongoing anime, trading card game, and spin-off titles in nearly every genre, including tactical RPG. Pokémon Conquest.


A joint venture with the Koei-Tecmo franchise Nobunaga’s ambition, Pokémon Conquest was one of many spin-offs to emerge during the fifth generation. This period featured a diverse mix of titles, including an edutainment game Learn with Pokemon: Strike Adventurecasual adventure game PokePark 2: Wonders Beyondbeat them toy based Pokemon Rumble Blastand dungeon crawl roguelike Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates of Infinity. Conquest was an underrated experience for more hardcore fans, and as it celebrates 10 years in North America, it’s worth wondering how a second attempt could thrive now more than ever.

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How Pokemon Conquest’s Bizarre Crossover Was Born

Nobunaga’s ambition is a turn-based grand strategy game series that began life on Japanese PCs in 1983, chronicling Oda Nobunaga’s quest to unify Japan during the Warring States period of the 1500s. he seems to be a strange companion for Pokemon, a series usually set in modern times where young children befriend powerful animal companions. These kids often have to stop megalomaniac geniuses from destroying the planet with ancient legendary Pokemon, but the series’ Saturday morning cartoon vibe is a far cry from the political intrigue of leading armies through mock war.

In an IGN interview with director Hisashi Koinuma before Conquest launched in 2012, it acknowledged the odd mix of “two distinct kinds of worlds” which was resolved by emphasizing fantasy elements. Koinuma said The Pokemon Company President and CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara is a fan of Nobunaga’s ambition and approached Koei Tecmo, leading to a collaboration in which the studios worked on design documents and concepts together, but Koei Tecmo handled most of the development.

Pokémon Conquest has been compared to the Mystery Dungeon series as a spin-off intended to broaden the appeal of the franchise, though Koinuma told IGN that the team didn’t give much thought to how it would appeal to non-Pokemon Fans. “The most difficult aspect would have been to come up with a strategy game that Pokemon users can play,” he said. “Something that would be comfortable for Pokemon users.” Creating a game that appealed to young children was a big consideration.

The simplicity of Pokemon Conquest is its charm

The strategy game is set in the Ransei region, moving away from realistic Japanese environments in favor of anime-inspired fantasy. Ransei is divided into 17 realms – representing the 17 types of Pokémon at the time – ruled by Warlords from Nobunaga’s ambition; themselves based on historical figures. For example, the electric-type realm Violight is commanded by Ginchiyo Tachibana, the psychic-type realm Illusio by Kenshin Uesugi, and the dragon-type realm Dragnor by Nobunaga himself.

Pokémon ConquestThe main storyline sees players unifying all of Ransei before Nobunaga, as completing this task is supposed to summon his creator Arceus (the region itself is in the form of this mythical Pokemon). Each “warrior” is paired with one monster at a time, much like sync pairs in later spin-offs Pokemon Masters EX, and they all bring a unique warrior skill that applies buffs or other benefits. Players can have each character pair up with wild Pokemon to find their “Perfect Bond”, some of which include legendaries like Mitsuhide Akechi and Articuno.

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As in the main series, players take six warriors into battle – in any combination of generic characters or warlords. The grand strategy battlegrounds of Nobunaga’s ambition have been simplified into smaller grids to accommodate those six-on-six matches, and Pokemon can only use one move with specified attack ranges and patterns. His pixel art style went further than Pokemon Black and WhiteSprites animated with a pseudo-3D isometric design. Arenas had their own gadgets ranging from the feudal farmlands of Aurora where log barricades can be pushed to a huge magnetic factory in Valora.

With each realm having a main battleground and a small handful of wild Pokemon cards, it’s relatively easy for players to see it all. Pokémon Conquest has it all – the periods between battles are spent moving units to different realms so they can raise funds or develop the terrain. However, the inherent replayability of ConquestThe deceptively simple mechanics are where it shines. Once players beat the main campaign, they unlock dozens of scenarios based on various Warlords; each with a difficulty and objective, whether it’s conquering pieces of Ransei or recruiting a certain number of Pokémon. Unit upgrades continue, so playing all of these campaigns can contribute to the quest for Perfect Links.

Pokemon Conquest has a lot more potential

While this collaboration between The Pokemon Company and Koei Tecmo was well received, it wasn’t a big seller. According to sales figures published by Media Create and reported by Siliconera in January 2013, Pokémon Conquest only 341,250 sold in Japan in 2012 – a far cry from the millions hit by the typical Pokemon Games. You could say that the launch of the Nintendo 3DS in 2011 hampered interest, but that same sales chart was dominated by pokemon black 2 and White 2 2.9 million copies. Even these Gen 5 sequels are on the lower end of the spectrum. Pokemon list of bestsellers.

Pokemon shift to an isometric tactical RPG was also perhaps less adopted at the time. Similar titles like Final Fantasy Tactics had found an audience, but overall the genre was less prevalent than typical JRPGs. Today, games like Square Enix’s 2D-HD Triangle strategy and the next from Leikir Studio Metal Slug Tactics attract more mainstream attention and marketing; not to mention a glut of indies like EVC Games’ Wintermoor Tactical Club.

The Pokemon Company certainly doesn’t seem to be slowing down its production of spin-offs. Return of old series like New Pokemon Snap and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX released every year alongside new genres, such as MOBA Pokemon Unite. Although not technically a spin-off, Pokemon Legends: Arceus shows Game Freak’s continued willingness to try out original concepts (especially with historical Japanese settings). With all of this in mind, not to mention Koei Tecmo’s ongoing work with Nintendo on the theme Warriors games, maybe now is the perfect time to give Pokémon Conquest another shot whether it gets a remake or a sequel.

Pokémon Conquest is now available on DS.

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Sources: IGN, Siliconera