Masuda: Yes. Akin to a ‘key that unclocks [a] strong Pokémon’, once you’ve finished one game we wanted to make it so that you can play the second with a different depth.
Unno: For example, if there was a kid who can’t quite clear the game, a strong player might say “I’ll give you a hand”, and use the ‘key’ to change the world for him. In this sense, the way that the Pokémon world expands like this strongly matches our concept of “complimenting”. Though this feature itself was something I had heard of before the creation of our theme of “complimenting” each other’s games.
Iwata: In other words, when you eventually came up with the theme of “complimenting”, you found that the little inclusion that Mr.Masuda had put forward was actually already the very embodiment of it.
Unno: Yes that’s right. In fact it was all a little too perfect *laughs*
Iwata: All a little too perfect indeed *laughs*
Unno: Probably, after Black and White, I feel that there was the notion that we could do more to develop the gameplay among all of the staff. By which I mean that when we were gathering ideas from the staff the sheer speed at which they were submitted was outstanding.
Iwata: Though there are always going to be ideas which are not used, The foundation which Black and White laid down probably left the staff feeling as though “There are still many factors and material left unutilised”, perhaps this was the cause for such energy to build up.
Unno: Yes, and I’d imagine that it was exactly at that point that the word “complimenting” drew us all in like some kind of magnet.
Ishihara: Also I suppose that in terms of story a part of us wanted to give answers to the mysteries that Black and White left behind, such as “I wonder what happened to him after that?”.
Iwata: But when you were making Black and White sure you weren’t thinking for even one second that you’d be breathing life into a fully fledged chronological sequel?
Masuda: Well…I think I’ll just leave that one be…yeah *laughs*
Masuda: But thankfully everyone gave it their all to really breathe life into this sequel.
Iwata: Of course a tale will never end having all of its mysteries solved, but as creators, I suppose you naturally become unable to just leave some things as they are. Mr.Unno, from your perspective what else did you find a challenge besides the Fes Mission?
Unno: In terms of “Complimenting + World Expansion”, we have the new PokéWood feature – in which you can make your own movie. Though this was an idea that the staff came together to plan, as a graphic designer I had always wanted to expand the world of Pokémon outside of the main narrative in aspects other than catching, battling, connecting and trading.
Iwata: Up until now you’ve tried to express new ways in which Pokémon can appeal such as in Pokémon Snap in spin offs. But now you’d like to add those factors to the main games.
Unno: Yes. It was then that we thought that we would be able to bring decent expansiveness to the in-game world if we use ‘movies’ since they offer a kind of unlimitedness.
Iwata: What do you mean by “unlimitedness”?
Unno: For example, A Space Fantasy that previously would have been unthinkable in Unova…
Iwata: Huh? A space fantasy with Pokémon? *laughs*
Unno: Or perhaps something like romance…
Iwata: Huuuh? Romance in Pokémon!? *laughs*
Unno: Yes. *laughs*
Though, there were some concerns as to how far we should run with it *laughs*
Of course it still had the kind of world that Pokémon has maintained up until now, there are many things that Gamefreak has strived to protect up until now so we were very nervous when we submitted the documents for our plans.
Masuda: On the first page of their submission there was an Adamski style UFO with Pokémon. I was like “What the hell is this!?” *laughs*
Iwata: That so…*laughs*
Masuda: But when you look up close the UFO was being hung up by string. I loved the feeling that it gave and it did indeed feel as if anything would become possible with it so I had them do as they please *laughs*
Iwata: But of course, to actually make that something playable it requires a lot of working out now doesn’t it.
Masuda: Yes. We went through a lot of kneading when deciding what kind of gameplay to make it into. In the movies there are scenario choices, and its made so that if you don’t know your Pokémon types the scenarios won’t go so well.
Iwata: That would be incorporating Pokémon into the gameplay, so its been built so that if you are knowledgable on the types it’s actually useful in the game.
Masuda: Yes. So the more well versed you are the more swimmingly the filming will go, and so as well as it being useful just as it is, it also acts as a learning experience for those who are less knowledgable on the subject.
Unno: Actually, in regards to battling, the problem with Pokémon Games becoming too focused in this area had been around for some time. You have to remember Pokémon and attack types so there was also the opinion that it was too difficult to grasp. Therefore for those playing for the first time the issue of how to get them to understand the concept was raised.
Iwata: So with the times, battles had become unavoidably more complicated and so there was increasingly more you had to remember.
Unno: Yes, and so when were planning out PokéWood, our combined ideas lead to the conclusion that if we made it so that the when making a movie the lines, ending and audience’s evaluation changes depending on the attacks you choose, you’d be able to naturally learn how to play. Hence just by playing PokéWood you also learn about the appeal and sheer depth of battle before you know it.
Iwata: When the idea that you came up with and an unrelated problem fit into place together so perfectly, things really began to take form. “A good idea solves many problems all at once”, the precise words of Mr.Miyamoto indeed.