Nintendo Accion 128
"We talk with the creators of Pokemon"
Junichi Masuda, Ken Sugimori
Translation - Saternoir
Proofreading - Lewtwo
With their presence in London to promote Pokémon Black and White, we took the opportunity to ask a few questions to Mr. Masuda, who was accompanied by Pokémon designer Mana Ibe.
NINTENDO ACCION: Where do you get the inspiration from to create a Pokemon?
Sugimori - In many instances, the team members get inspiration from their own experiences in their childhood. Experiences they had with cartoons and films. They're also inspired by an encyclopedia of insects, from which they retrieve rare and strange animals. When we select an insect, we add to it the elements we consider are essential to turn it into a Pokemon. For example if it's going to be a Steel-type, we add harsher touches to it.
What's the biggest novelty of these games?
Masuda - The main one is to involve 4 players simultaneously in the game.
The phenomenon continues...
Sugimori - The thing most people loved from Pokemon was that they it was fun. I think that youngsters will keep playing with Pokemon because it's fun. In Japan, before these games were released, many said that Pokemon would not be a success. But that was not the case, we had a lot of support from the fans and I'm sure we will continue to have it.
The secret to success?
Masuda - Communication is the philosophy behind Pokemon. If someone inserts a Pokemon cartridge in their Game Boy, they will immediately want to play it with their friends.
Why this graphical style?
Sugimori - We had a reason to use simple graphics. If a map is too realistic, it becomes difficult for players to know what to do next. However, an unrealistic map shows where to go best. We have also done the same in battles, simplifying the graphics to keep track of the action.
Only 135 new Pokemon?
Sugimori - We tried to find a balance. In the games for GBA we wanted to add more new Pokemon, but there are a lot of players who love all of the Pokemon of the previous games.
What could you not include in the game?
Masuda - Due to memory limitations, we didn't achieve something we wanted: a Pokemon that could make three sounds. We wanted to create different sounds depending on its mood, and not just two sounds as we have been doing so far, to tell if it's happy or not.
[translator's note: this functionality first appeared in Pokemon X & Y's Pokemon Amie feature]
About the relationship between the movies and the games...?
Sugimori - Indeed, both the games and the animated movies are closely related. Both the game creators and animators try to work together. Before the games launched in Japan, the director of the movies came to the office to try them out, but in the end, it's the game makers that voice their opinion to the animators, not the other way around.