From the “Hm, That’s Interesting” Department: Electronic Arts was once working on a Pokémon competitor! Nic Watt, the very successful* founder of game development studio Nnooo, was a former developer at EA and shared a few details about the game that was supposed to take on Pokémon and dominate the handheld market:
“EA wanted this game where the idea and it was going to be their Pokémon game. They didn’t have an RPG in the handheld space and they really wanted one. We did a lot of paper-based prototyping for the battle mechanics and even made a whole card game. Then we got the people from Criterion – who worked on Burnout and with the studio – in [to test it]. That’s the good thing when you have a company of 300 people, you can just ask “do you guys want to come in and play our game for the afternoon.” The team did find it hard because the prototyping was so long, and a lot of things got reset from time to time. But by the time I left, it still had not hit full production and I know that was really tough for a lot of people.”
It’s interesting to speculate about what a monster catching game from EA games would have looked like and whether or not it would have given our favorite juggernaut series any serious competition. It appears that this was back before Nnooo was founded in 2006, so it is likely that the game has been indefinitely shelved, but who knows what the Nintendo NX may inspire them to resurrect?
Speaking of Pokémon competitors, did you see the new trailer for Digimon World Next Order?