Iwata Asks: Pokémon Black and White 2 (Pt.5 of 6)

Hey guys, Kriffix here with part five!
Look forward to the sixth and last part in the near future.

5. What Pokémon games take care to do.


Iwata: As we were discussing earlier, Pokémon has become a medium that goes beyond words, so what do you all take care to do when creating Pokémon?

Masuda: Personally I take care that there is something for players who have never played a game before.

Iwata: Because many children receive Pokémon as their first game, don’t they?

Masuda: Yes, so we always endeavour to making it easy to play. As for battles, we always keep in mind to retain an element of depth with a battle facility, so those who are interested can go there and those who aren’t can just ignore it.

Iwata: So whether it’s:”I want to collect only cute Pokémon”,”I want to gather all species of Pokémon”,”I want to clear the story”,”I just want to make my favourite Pokémon strong”,”I want to be the strongest in the world at battling”, it’s all good. Perhaps Pokémon’s greatest feature is the freedom,  it’s not necessary for everyone to have the same goals, there is so much broadness and depth in there.

Masuda: I agree.

Iwata: One of the things that really make me feel that Pokémon is amazing is how astonishingly different people’s tastes in Pokémon are. Usually if there are many characters, the popular ones tend to become clustered together, but when you actually ask people playing what their favourite Pokémon is, there are some very unexpected answers.

Masuda: Yes, the diversity of Pokémon is something we are very conscious of. For example during design when wondering if a character will work, by thinking about what moves to give it, what setting, where to introduce it, it gives of a different charm.

Iwata: Ah, I see. So it’s not all completed during design. Depending on the new attacks, settings and general environment you give them individuality. To each Pokémon an individual charm is born, and with it popularity too.

Masuda: Yes, I believe so. For example in Red and Green we made it so that in Viridian Forest, Pikachu would rarely appear. If we had made it so that it appeared more regularly, it’s hard to tell if it would have become as popular as it did.

Iwata: Indeed, were it a Pokémon that was easy to obtain it may have been left less of an impression.

Masuda: Indeed. Once, at the World Championships etc, Tauros had immense popularity. The reason being that it was ‘strong’. I remember thinking “how popularity comes about through strength is amazing”.

Iwata: There is a definite aspiration and respect for strong things isn’t there. But the Pokémon that Gamefreak produces have such a wide range that you can really feel that the best ones have been weeded out from a joint project worked on by many people.

Masuda: New Pokémon require ideas, so I think that many people doing it is better than just one. Oddly enough it’s the young staff who tend to come up with the outlandish ideas *laughs*

Iwata: A breath of fresh air.

Masuda: If not then flat flounder-like Pokémon such as Stunfisk just wouldn’t make their debut. *debut*

Iwata: Mr.Unno, how do you feel about the way that Pokémon takes care to do things is perceived?

Unno: Well…How I feel after being involved this long is that, as Mr.Masuda says, though there is “variety” it is also very easy to find the ‘entrance’ into Pokémon. For example getting interested by seeing something cute, or in battles, how they’re simple like rock paper scissors, and the story, the typical young guy on a journey of growth. These aspects have been protected this whole time. In this very respect it may look simple at a glance, but in truth the deep meaning within is something that Pokémon takes very great care of in doing.

Iwata: There’s a lot of deep reasoning as to why such simple gameplay has survived this long.

Unno: Yes, Mr.Masuda always tells us that “‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ is a very deep game”.

Masuda: Yes *laughs* I often make them analyse ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’. For example, if you don’t start with “Rock, Paper…” in the beginning then it’s just not a game.

Iwata: For ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ to even work, there are first a lot of factors that must be present.

Unno:  Yes. For it example recently it became a topic as to how it would turn out if you were made to do it blindfolded. Even in regards to Pokémon designs, as living creatures there will always be reasons to why they would have red cheeks or a specific type of tail.

Iwata: When making character products, making sure all products express “why the Pokémon is the way it is” is another special feature of Pokémon isn’t it.

Unno: Yes. Even if they look simple they will always have a meaning behind them, though people may not be conscious of this it is something that they all have in common. Actually, when I first got involved in Pokémon games, Mr.Masuda once got mad about the way I placed a flower in a town. When I placed it in a flashy and beautiful way, Mr.Masuda suddenly said to me ” Unno, If there was a flower here in the middle of town, would you want to tread on it and walk on?”.

Masuda: *laughs*

Unno: It was then that what he meant suddenly struck me. By casually putting a flower in front of a house, we make people living there overly conscious of things like why its there, or whether its big or small. I feel that that its important to ‘live life whilst incorporating things into it instead of emphasising them’.


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