Even now that the Pokémon series is in its eighth generation of games and is very much thriving as a franchise, it's hard to argue that older versions don't hold up. Even to this day, gamers look back at older generations of Pokémon with a fondness that may never fade; even as the games get older, there still seems to be so much to learn.
While today won't see the nostalgia bring us all the way back to the very beginning of the series, we will be bringing things back to the third generation of Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald to explore a region that stood out compared to the others. Lacking large metropolitan areas and favoring much more vast expanses of natural habitat, the Hoenn region has stood out in Pokémon history, and for good reason. In the spirit of always learning, here are 10 things you never knew about the Hoenn region.
10 Inspired By Real-World Kyushu
As is common for the Pokémon series, the Hoenn region is based on a real-world locale. In this case, it's the island of Kyushu. According to game director Junichi Masuda, Kyusu was chosen and the map was rotated by 90 degrees in order to accommodate for playability, which makes sense when you look at a map of the region.
We're inclined to agree - starting off on the mainland and having to do a bit of surfing to get to Victory Road and the Elite Four makes more sense to us than the alternative.
9 Naming Their Cities
Another staple in the series, city names are something that makes a region unique. In Kanto, cities were named after colors, in Johto, after plants. Hoenn's theme is less of a theme and more of a scheme that incorporates two words that make up a lot of the city names.
While that may not seem super interesting, it actually gives players an excellent sense of what each city or town is about: Littleroot, the player's hometown, sounds homey and low key, Verdanturf sounds like a lovely and comfortable town, and Fortree City is just as cool as it sounds.
8 An Eccentric Professor
A new region means a new Pokémon professor and that professor is a unique character all his own. Professor Birch works out of Little Root town and is known to be a bit more eccentric and outgoing compared to Professors Oak and Birch.
This certainly fits with his specialization of habitat and distribution. Of course, knowing that about him also means the situation we found him at the beginning of the game makes perfect sense; Professor Birch's love for fieldwork is what got him in trouble in the first place.
7 A Focus On Nature
The Hoenn region heavily emphasizes nature and this is pretty evident in the environments that players encounter. The cities of Rustboro and Verdanturf are connected with a tunnel that can only be excavated manually so as to not to disturb the Pokémon within.
South of Mauville City is Route 110, which has two methods of traversal: Cycling Road for humans, and an underpass below which allows Pokémon to live peacefully. Hoenn also has a much larger amount of sea routes compared to previous games and even a town built on the sea. Even though it's only fictional, it is nice to see humans being environmentally considerate.
6 Unique Environments
In Hoenn, there are environments introduced that aren't present in previous games. These environments include a jungle, beaches, a desert, and a volcano among others. This may seem like a small detail, but these unique environments make for some pretty interesting battle situations.
It also adds a sense of adventure to Hoenn; experiencing all the different locales really gives players a sense of being far from home; something the first two games didn't quite do as well.
5 A Weather Mechanic
While the Johto region allowed players to experience night and day, the Hoenn region is the first one to offer a weather mechanic as well. Intense sunlight, for example, strengthens fire-type moves and means Solar Beam has no charge time. Rain increases the strength of water-type moves and allows Thunder to hit with more accuracy.
Sandstorm and Hail cause damage over time, and the weather Pokémon, Castform, changes its form based on any of these conditions. This mechanic opens up a new dimension of strategy in battles that teaches players to plan for more than just what Pokémon they're up against.
4 The Stuff Of Legend
One of the coolest things about Hoenn is its history; fans of the game will know that the region was formed by Groudon and Kyogre which created the land and sea respectively. The destruction and chaos that resulted when these two titans clashed was only able to be quelled by Rayquaza, who sent the two into slumber in their respective caverns where they rested until the events of the game.
In the enhanced remake the legend of Hoenn can actually be expanded upon during the Delta Episode in which players use the power of mega evolution to help Rayquaza prevent a meteor from impacting the region.
3 No Stranger To Meteors
Despite the events of the Delta Episode, the region actually isn't a stranger to meteors. One location, in particular, Meteor Falls, is said to have been the site of a meteor shower. This is actually the explanation for the existence of the Pokémon Solrock and Lunatone - both of whose Pokédex entries say that each of these Pokémon is said to have come from space.
In addition, the city of Sootopolis is built on the inside of the impact crater where a meteoroid fell. Because of this, the city can only be accessed by diving and surfacing through, or by flying.
2 Two Teams
One of the more unique things about the Hoenn Region actually pertains to its villainous teams. One, Team Magma, is a team that is bent on expanding the landmass as they believe that more land would be better for humans and Pokémon, and they pursue Groudon as a result. The other, Team Aqua is after just the opposite; wanting to expand the sea for the sake of humans and Pokémon and need Kyogre to do so.
Depending on which version of the game players are playing they one team serves as the primary antagonist while the other actually assists the player in thwarting the other's plans. This small but noteworthy detail is one thing that makes the Hoenn region unique and helps these games stand out from others in the series.
1 The Overall Theme
According to game director Junichi Masuda, Hoenn's name was meant to signify abundant relations. Between who? Why, humans and Pokémon of course! This is a theme that is evident in so many areas of the game: from hopping out of the moving truck to see Machokes helping us move in, to learning about the legendary Pokémon that created and shaped the region, and even in the thing every Pokémon player does: building a team of their own, traveling the region, and experiencing adventure after adventure in an effort to become a Pokémon master.
Hoenn is all about give-and-take, and the harmony that exists between, and if you never realized this you may want to look just a little bit closer during your next playthrough.
NEXT: Pokémon: 5 Reasons Kanto Is The Best Region (& 5 Reasons Why Johto Is Better)