The Alola Region
Pokemon Sun and Moon will be set in the Alola region, a tropical paradise made up of four central islands and one artificial island. It is based off the real-world location of Hawaii. Two islands as of yet have been named, Melemele Island and Akala Island.
The Starters and Professor
The three starter Pokemon available are the Grass/Flying Rowlet, the Fire-type Litten, and the Water-type Popplio. These will be granted to you by the new Professor Kukui, who has a Rockruff as his partner.
The Rotom Dex
The normal Pokedex has been replaced with the Rotom Pokedex, a device that has been possessed by Rotom itself. By becoming part of your Pokedex, Rotom is able to speak to you, display a map of your surroundings, and can recommend your next destination based on conversations with NPCs.
The Battle Royal
The Battle Royal is a new method for trainers to battle by connecting with one another. It is a four-player free-for-all, with a winner being determined based on the number of knockouts and remaining Pokemon.
Z-Moves, a new type of move in which a Trainer and Pokemon release their full potential, are introduced. These can only be used once per battle, however. A trainer must have both a Z-Ring and Z-Crystal in order to utilize these moves, and a Pokemon must also have a move of the same type as a Z-Crystal. The currently known Z-Moves include Inferno Overdrive (Fire), Hydro Vortex (Water), Bloom Doom (Grass), Gigavolt Havoc (Electric), and Hyper Sprint Attack (Normal).
The Island Challenge and Island Trials
The Island Challenge will be replacing the Gym system that has been a recurring element of the Pokemon franchise. In order to complete the challenge, trainers must engage in battles and scavenger hunts to prove themselves worthy. Each Trial involves a Trial Captain, who has a quest for you to fulfill. After each trial, you will have to battle a Totem Pokemon in an SOS Battle, where a Totem Pokemon can summon a helper, creating a double battle. Finally, your Grand Trial involves battling the Island Kahuna, the strongest trainer on the island who was chosen by a Guardian Diety. In the case of Melemele Island, Hala will be the Kahuna, as chosen by the deity Tapu Koko.
Replacing the HM system are Poke Rides, a new feature that allows trainers to call on the service of specific Pokemon to perform tasks that would otherwise be fulfilled by an HM. These Pokemon, however, are not present on one’s team, yet can be summoned at any point.
Trainer models have now been modified from their Chibi counterparts in Generation VI. In addition, trainers can now be seen in their full 3D model when being challenged to a battle and standing behind their Pokemon in battle.
A villainous team by the name of Team Skull causes havoc in the Alola region by stealing others’ Pokemon, messing up trial sites, and much more. Leader Guzma is one who could never become a Trial Captain, and seems to have some unspoken history with Professor Kukui. Admin Plumeria is referred to as the “big sister” of the group, and keeps the Grunts in line.