We all have seen how Pokemon Go hit the whole world and everyone was just so addicted to it. I was one of the avid fans and I really enjoyed it. T’was the first time that I could see parents and kids bonding together. I would take my three kids and my wife and stroll around the city hunting for pokemons. We really enjoyed it and it was a good family time. Sadly the game failed to evolve and it took a plummet. Everybody lost interest in the game and very few players remained. Not to mention the massive hacks here and there. So what now? What is Pokemon going to be? Let’s take a look at what the creators have in mind. Taking advantage of the visit that several of the top leaders of the Pokémon series have made to our country, we have had the privilege of interviewing two of the heavyweights within the company Game Freak, responsible for making us enjoy with Pokémon for 20 years.
Junichi Masuda (left) and Shigeru Ohmori (right) are two of the top managers of Game Freak and kindly answered all our questions.
Nintendo has offered us the possibility of interviewing in their showroom located in Madrid to two people so relevant within the organization chart of Game Freak like Junichi Masuda, director of the company; As well as Shigeru Ohmori, director of the last editions of this saga.
A saga that is sweet, after the successful launch of Pokémon GO and Pokémon Sun / Moon.
Vandal: After 20 years at the bottom of the canyon, what is the secret for the saga to be in top form and, far from showing signs of fatigue, is it more popular every year?
Junichi Masuda: I think the most important thing of all is never to settle. You have to have a constant feeling of wanting to aspire to more, that has to be the engine of our work. It is essential to try to always chase new players who come to our games, but at the same time maintain the fundamental ideas of the saga so that the followers of the same continue to enjoy the games of Pokémon. And for that you have to try to create simple concepts but, in turn, have enough depth to not be boring soon. It is a complicated process.
In your opinion, what has changed the most from the first Pocket Monsters to what has been experienced in the last installments?
Junichi Masuda: As you can see the base has remained intact since those days of Game Boy, as we started to take our first steps in the series. It’s really like football. It is the same sport of yesteryear with just variations in the rules, everything consists of kicking a ball and score goal in the opposite goal. But of course everything has evolved.
In fact, what has changed the most in the saga has to do with everything related to the visual theme. At the beginning everything was displayed in very basic 2D and now everything is done in 3D and with effects of all kinds. And it has also evolved everything related to connectivity, with the advent of Wi-Fi and all that technology.
Since you mentioned the topic of technology and although I know it is complicated to do right now, would you like to see a Pokémon game designed for Virtual Reality?
Junichi Masuda: Of course we would like to. We believe that this environment has many possibilities and it would be really wonderful to find Pokémon in worlds as immersive as those that provide this type of works. What happens is that as we understand it and being a little realistic, we and many parents would be tremendously shocking and even sinister to enter our son’s room and find him with his glasses on, surrounded by cables and performing rare gestures . Until it changes a little this conception and the current state of Virtual Reality, it is difficult to see a game of Pokémon designed for this technology.
Games like Pokkén Tournament have proved to be spin offs interesting enough and with the necessary quality to attract the attention of many players. Do you plan to continue supporting these types of quality initiatives within the Pokémon franchise?
Junichi Masuda: As you say, we also think that Pokkén Tournament is a great game within its style, the fighting titles. We are really happy with this work as well as with others that have also been made within the Pokémon environment. In fact, we consider that Pokémon GO is a spin off of the saga and has been very successful. We want to continue to support these types of quality games based on Pokémon.
Since you mentioned it, what did you think of the success or, rather, the madness that was unleashed by Pokémon GO around the world?
Junichi Masuda: What surprised us was not the success itself, that we knew we could achieve something similar to what happened. But what really caught us off guard was the speed at which everything went. We thought it was going to be something more gradual and that the market trend would go up, but not at the speed at which it occurred. We expected something similar, but not so fast.
In addition I must say that much of the boom and interest that aroused the game was not to my understanding by the new players, but all those who enjoy this saga since the times of Red and Green (Pokémon Green and Red Game) Boy).
Switch may receive Pokémon titles, but it is still early to ensure anything.
I have to ask you about Switch. With Nintendo 3DS in its fifth year of life and Switch with its launch scheduled for March, what do you think to do with the next game of Pokémon and for which machine will be destined? If you decide to create it for Switch, would you play a game closer to Pokémon GO or a more traditional Sol and Luna style?
Junichi Masuda: I think even though it is already a veteran console, Nintendo 3DS has a lot of life ahead. There are millions of consoles around the world and I think it will be with us for another time.
Regarding Switch, it is still too early to evaluate anything. You need to see what happens with the console and know what kind of audience is intended, how many people buy it, how the players enjoy it … Until we know more about this machine, we can not decide if we can make games for her . It is also very important to know what happens to their connectivity and how players can communicate with each other, something fundamental for us.
I have always been curious to know how the process of creating new Pokémon works. I guess at first it was not very complicated, but after creating hundreds of them, it must be difficult to design new characters.
Shigeru Ohsomi: In the early days of Game Boy, it was really easy to create characters. As there were no edited almost anything worth, even the programmer could create them because of the poor resolution of the laptop screen and its limitations. But with the passage of time, the arrival of 3D and other technological advances is becoming more difficult. The inspiration comes from many sides, from the game planner that needs us to create a Pokémon that is capable of performing a particular skill to what other elements of our environment offer us, animals that surround us, etc.
It is a very complicated process. In fact, there are some Pokémon that have taken us over six months to design. It is a challenge to surprise the users, but we work to get it in every new delivery.