pokejungle translator Kriffix here with the new Iwata Asks Pokémon special.
We at pokejungle thought it was a fun little article so I’ve translated the first part of it, but if there are enough requests I would be happy to translate the rest!
Iwata Asks: Pokémon Black and White 2
[spoiler] Masuda Jun’ichi, Ishihara Tsunekazu, Unno Takao
1. “Sequels” and “Two years later”
Iwata: With its release just ahead of us, we have those responsible for “Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2” all gathered together. If you please.
Everyone: Thank you.
Iwata: Alright well getting right into it, I’d like to ask just what kind of ideas formed the basis of Black and White 2’s birth. Mr.Ishihara, if you please.
Ishihara. Sure. Hello I’m Ishihara of the Pokémon Company.
We discussed a lot about what kind of product we could achieve after ‘Black and White’, in the same manner as ‘Platinum’ being released after ‘Diamond and Pearl’ or ‘Emerald’ after ‘Ruby and Saphire’.
Iwata: You mean as to whether to release it as a different colour such as ‘Gray’, as has been seen up until now?
Ishihara: Yes. However there were many customers who were predicting this same old pattern, and so to kind of throw them a curve ball, we opted to challenge ourselves by going for our first titles that use “2”.
Iwata: And whats more, you’ve decided to go for an unprecedented simultaneous dual-sequel release. When I first heard I accidentally repeated myself in surprise, “Oh, two titles?”.
Ishihara: I think that it is this very surprise that gives our product its freshness this time round. I’d love for you to hear from Mr.Masuda and Mr. Unno as to just what it is we’ve aimed to do with these games in regards to them being sequels to ‘Black and White’.
Iwata: In that case, Mr.Masuda, if you please.
Masuda: Sure. I’m Masuda of Gamefreak.
Originally, one of the major reasons that we opted for a dual-sequel was due to there being a little something that we wanted to add to Black and White during development, that we were unable to put in due to time constraints. Since we needed two titles in order to achieve this little something, we decided to make dual-sequels.
Iwata: Ah, so thats how the whole double release thing came about.
Masuda: Yes. Though making them into chronological sequels was an idea that came about a little later. After you initially said to us “If you’re going to be releasing it on the DS, come up with something fresh” we were pretty stumped for a while…*Laughs*
So it was at that point we came up with the notion: “What if we went for a chronological sequel?”
Iwata: Sequels in games are not an uncommon approach, but since Pokémon had never did this up until now, it truly makes it a new turn of events now doesn’t it.
Masuda: Yes. What’s more, the reason that we opted for the DS and not the 3DS is because we wanted to create a ‘continuation in the same world’. And so the 2 games are are set two years from the predecessors.
Iwata: It’s literally two years isn’t it, since Black and White were released.
Masuda: Indeed. And so we positioned Unno as the director and started off the project.
Iwata: Well then Mr.Unno, please introduce yourself.
Unno: Yes. I’m Unno Takao of Gamefreak and director of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2.
Iwata: Thank you. If I may, how long have you been involved with Pokémon?
Unno: Actually exactly 10 years ago. I was assigned first on 2002’s Ruby and Saphire and have since worked on Fire Red, Leaf Green, and mostly every other main title.
Iwata: You have been presented with a major role on your tenth year then, has anything changed for you?
Unno: Yes, I’d have to say much has changed for me.
I’ve had experience as the Art Director, but this time round I was in a position of giving directions regarding the foundation of the game. Though very rewarding, it was quite a struggle at the beginning.
Iwata: Mr. Masuda, why was it that you requested Mr.Unno to direct?
Masuda: I had originally acknowledged him as an Art Director who would strengthen the visual aspects of Black and White, and so I decided to entrust him as director during the planning stages. He himself was ready and willing and so I requested it of him.
Iwata: So to help Mr.Unno grow another stage you took him out of his comfort zone, didn’t you. Mr.Unno, how did you feel when you were first chosen?
Unno: Of course I was surprised.
Originally I had discussed wanting to direct in the past with Mr.Masuda. With that said, each time we were working on something I often thought “Next I would like to develop on this gameplay aspect”, and so even in Black and White, which we had intended to compile many former aspects, I still strongly felt that “there is still more room to expand!”.
Iwata: Back when Black and White came out, I recall thinking “Its amazing how much you were able to pack into a DS game” and so the developments you were able to bring about this time were something that I would not have been able to fathom previously. But yes, the form that has taken shape here two years down the line is the direct result of working to create something for the customers.
Unno: Yes, Black and White had much in the way of connectivity play, but this time round we’ve developed it further. Challenging ourselves with “new gameplay aspects”.
Masuda: Also, the “two years later” setting made it just right for us to easily imagine how the C.Gear on the lower screen of ‘Black and White’ should evolve.
Iwata: In other words, you had a good foundation and a clear direction in which to expand to, and so the ‘2 years later’ setting and the dual-sequel release style etc, as well as many other factors all fit into place – in that respect it may have been quite easy for you to progress.
As such, this time round a word that acts as the theme for Black and White 2 is ‘Complimenting’. In Black and White, communication was made under the concepts of ‘Intervention’, though this time we present the form of ‘complimenting’ each others worlds in order to expand the gaming elements.