With Pokémon Go taking the world by storm, countless players have found that either their old fandom for Pokémon has been rekindled, or that they are now interested in what this fad about pocket monsters is all about. Considering the massive popularity of both GTA 5 and the Pokémon franchise as a whole, it is no surprise that the audience of the two overlap.
We've seen what overlapping fans bases can do in the past. With the massive modding community backing GTA 5 being filled with all kinds of talented (or absolutely insane) people, it was only a matter of time before we started seeing Pokémon themed mods popping up.
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Granted, these all pre-date Pokémon Go, but that makes sense. All of the Pokémon fans are busy playing Go, after all. However, if you happen to be living in one of the many countries where the app hasn't been released yet and don't want to risk the viruses which come hand-in-hand with .apks downloaded from file sharing sites, you'll be looking for something to tide you over.
That's where Pokémon themed GTA 5 mods come into the picture. Various modders have created several files that add a bit of Kanto to Los Santos. While no one has gone to the lengths to create a total conversion mod for the game, populating the whole map with randomly appearing Pokémon you can battle and capture, a few neat little mods have sprung up.
Many of these mods are pretty simple and don't really add much in terms of gameplay. Rather, they change textures and such to make the world of GTA 5 feel a tad more like that of Pokémon.
First up, we have what has become a symbol for the franchise. The Pokéball, a small red and white sphere with a button along its equator is pretty central to the whole thing. These devices somehow manage to convert living Pokémon into some form of energy, and store them within without harming them in any way. The Pokémon retain consciousness, as evidenced by some of them managing to break free from the Pokéballs if strong enough.
Once a trainer captures a Pokémon with such a ball, said creature will follow the trainer with unparalleled loyalty - in most cases, at least. Luckily for trainers, Pokémon don't tend to get jealous, hence the tagline "gotta catch 'em all". Imagine the catastrophe if your magikarp got pissed because you captured that new zubat...
RUNitsAlpha, an experienced modder whose work we've featured before, has brought the Pokéball to GTA 5 as a retexture of the baseball already present in the game. Granted, functionality-wise, it will still be just a baseball, so no energy-conversion-magic going on here. However, if throwing Pokéball lookalikes at police or gang members just for the heck of it brings you joy, power to you! It's certainly a nice way to smuggle a bit of Pokémon into the game.
Next up we have a mod that was used in the creation of one of Merfish's nightmare fuelling videos. His recreation of the Pokémon anime's intro in GTA 5 using the Rockstar Editor and a healthy dose of mods is still one of his most terrifying, disturbing and hilarious creations yet. Following the publication of the video, he released a texture pack that contained all the character mods he used in the video.
In Merfish's vision, Trevor jumps in as Ash, Franklin replaces Brock and Pikachu is played by... Michael. That's just the start of all the weirdness, though. Lester jumps in as Mew, Floyd plays Caterpie and Simeon replaces Zubat. In total, 35 characters across the game have had their textures changed to resemble some character or creature from the Pokémon franchise.
These textures try to be as true to the source material as they can be without actually being new models. While succeeding to some extent, humor was also a goal here, resulting in some of them being... terrifying. There is plenty of satire going on here, so if you want more of a serious homage to Pokémon in your game, this may not be the way to go. However, this mod is perfect for a few laughs.
Next we have a pretty... deviant mod. We're not quite sure what combination of drugs was required to put the author in a state where he came up with this, but it must have been one hell of a trip. RUNitsAlpha returns with a simple yet pretty far out mod which replaces the textures of the whales with the skin if Pikachu. Really.
Of course, unless you're using some kind of spawning mod, encountering whales in GTA 5 isn't something you're going to do every 5 minutes. Spawning in the Pikachu whales might be great fun, however it is probably even better to install the mod, but refrain from hunting down the whales all together. Leave the mod on, and weeks later once you've already forgotten about it, you might encounter a Pikachu whale and be absolutely dumbfounded by your discovery.
Or, you know, just spawn hundreds of them mid-air and watch as the pika-whale-ocalypse devastates Los Santos. That's cool too.
Last up we have what is the most functional of the four mods we're showcasing today. This mod acts as a sort of add-on for JulioNIB's Iron Man mod, which is among the best made and most popular mods out there for GTA 5. RX1StrideR's mod re-skins the Iron Man armor to look like a freaking Gyrarados.
That's right. With this mod, you can be Gyrarados. Sure, you don't get any of the beastly Pokémon's abilities, but you get to look like it and swim like it. Well, you can also walk and fly, but those will cause clipping and immersion breaking issues, respectively so we caution against it. Either way, you get to be freaking Gyrarados. What more do you want?
Keep in mind that this mod is a tad buggy. Switching to first person mode while you're Gyrarados will crash your game - because no one is cool enough to look through Gyrarados' eyes. As we said before, there are some clipping issues as well, but that is to be expected with a model of this size.
These mods might not quite turn GTA 5 into a fully blown 3D open-world Pokémon experience, but they do bring some of the series' magic to the world of Los Santos. For fans stuck in regions where Pokémon Go has yet to be released, playing around with these should distract you long enough while getting you your Pokémon fix while you're waiting on the newest AR sensation to launch.
Which of the Pokémon themed GTA 5 mods is your favorite?