How Pokemon are born

We interview Platinum's creators about Pokemon design, Pokemon rejection and the future of the franchise

Are there any specific plans for Pokemon on the DSi?

Masuda: We haven’t really considered it, but we certainly feel as if something fun could be done by utilizing the camera.

Has any serious consideration been given to bring a core game to a home console, in his case, the Wii?

Masuda: No, we are not thinking of going into development for the Wii because we feel the core idea of Pokemon, communicating and trading with friends and other trainers, is best represented by being able to go anywhere and bring the system with you. This core concept of Pokemon is tied very closely to the portable system.

Do you feel that at some point in the future when the online capabilities of a console system are more prevalent, that this idea of communication, trading and community could be done in a strictly online context?

Masuda: Yes I believe there is a potential that a home console might have a match for our Pokemon concept, but as I said the basic concept is that you trade, you communicate, you want to remain mobile. If that challenge is met by the home console, then we would consider development, but at this point the portable system is the best match for the Pokemon games.

Since the DS has allowed Pokemon to incorporate online features, are there any new ideas or things you would like to incorporate using the online connectivity?

Masuda: With Platinum we have created the Wi-fi plaza and the Battle Video feature which allows you to share your battles with other people or watch their battles, so for the moment we are content with our utilization of online features.

The story of Diamond and Pearl had a very heavy focus on the mythological side of Pokemon and their history. What inspired this, or how did you decide to create this story?

Masuda: When thinking about the story and scenario for Pokemon, I wanted to make an ideal world, for example a place with no war, no energy problems, no inflation or economic problems. When I think about “What makes the ideal world?”, I thought it’s something basic about human beings … So the mythology for me came from the urge to create an ideal world.

I’m sure you are both very busy, but what games are you playing currently, if any?

Kawachimaru: I myself am playing many, it’s very difficult to pick one, but the most recent was Fallout 3.

Masuda: I’m currently playing Mario and Luigi RPG 3. Everytime I play a game I think “How did the developer come up with this idea?” In this Mario game you have the upper and lower screens, and I was thinking about how they coordinated the screens as I played. It’s sad, (Laughs) but it’s my job to always be thinking of games in terms of design.

Do you feel as more Pokemon games come out, that you have to balance characters that might be more powerful than others to keep a level playing field, or do you feel it’s more important to maintain the personalities of the Pokemon?

Masuda: That’s a very good question, because we always have a difficult time determining balance. Do we want to have the specific Pokemon be powerful or do we want it to remain closer to its character? There is one staff member that deals with that and I always have lots of discussions with him. Basically when we make a decision, we ask ourselves if the player will enjoy it and if it will make the game more fun, if so then we go for it.

Mar 19, 2009


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