Previous Pokémon titles like Gold and Silver introduced mechanics like the 24/7 clock that triggered events based on what day of the week it was or the time. With the release of Pokémon Black and White, we’ve now got a new mechanic to think about – that of seasons. Yes, now your Pokémon game will track (and show) the changes in the seasons so you’ll be able to see what Unova looks like in Spring, Winter, Summer and Fall. Of course the changes aren’t just to show off the new visual capabilities of Generation V. There are actual storyline and gameplay changes triggered by the changing of the seasons as well!
Now I know what some of you are thinking. “It’s March! I don’t want to have to wait nine months for a seasonal event. I might not even be playing the game at that point!” Well, you don’t have to worry as the seasons don’t line up with how they work in the real world. Instead of having a different season every three months, the land of Unova has a different season every month, cycling through one set of four seasons in four months and then repeating the cycle over. This way you’ll see what should be a year’s worth of weather changes in only four!
For example, March is Fall in Pokémon Black and White. Then once April starts, the season will shift to Winter (Boo!). May is Spring and June is Summer. Then once July rolls around, the cycle will start all over, setting the seasons back to Fall. Although it may seem a little weird in the Northern Hemisphere to have August in the Winter and some people might express the scientific impossibility of seasons changing in this fashion but really, we’re talking about a game where fire breathing turtle engage in cocking fighting contests against cyborg birds at the behest of their masters, so reality was out of this equation long ago.
So what are some of the things seasons can affect in Pokémon Black and White?
Deerling & Sawbuck
The most obvious aspect is that the appearance of two Pokémon, Deerling and Sawbuck, changes from season to season. These changes are purely visual, so you don’t have to worry about adjusting movesets on a monthly basis or how their stats will change. It’s just a graphic oriented piece.
Night and Day
Much like in real life, days will be longer in the Summer and nights will be longer in the winter. In Unova, daylight hours (Morning/Day) run from 5am-5pm in Spring and Fall. In Summer this will ramp up from 4am – 7pm and in Winter it will drop to 7am-4pm. Because some Pokémon can only be caught at night or in the early morning, you’ll have to adjust your schedule for finding these guys appropriately.
As well, some Pokémon will be far more common in one season than in another. For example, Mantine can be found regularly in the Fall, Summer and Spring, but come Winter, you won’t see one at all. Meanwhile Pokémon like the Spheal family or the new Vanillite/Vanillish family can only be found in Winter.
Besides Pokémon themselves, there are other changes that come with seasons. For example, as you go through your Pokémon journey, you might find some items you just can’t reach, even with TMs or HMs. Wait until winter and you’ll find a big snowfall will allow you to now reach the items. Another example is that a Cynthia, the Pokémon Champion from Sinnoh will be in Undella Town during the Spring and Summer and you can actually battle her during these months. You’ll even discover that some Gym Leaders and members of the Elite Four come and visit her during this time.
There are several other things you’ll have to discover for yourself, such as which Pokémon show up and leave with the coming of the seasons and where you can find a Trainer who will trade you a Munchlax in the Summer. After all, a big part of the fun of Pokémon is discovering things on your own. Let us know what you find as the seasons change from Autumn to Winter once we hit April.