Posted By GlitterBerri at 7:44 PM on Sunday November 27, 2011
The following interview concerning the then-unnamed Pokémon Gold & Silver was taken from Game Staff List Association Japan, a Japanese site that aims to, among other things, summarize, transcribe, and categorize interviews with video game developers. It took place in 1997, with participants Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoshi Tajiri (the creator of Pokémon), and Tsunekazu Ishihara (the series’ producer). The original source is unknown.
Miyamoto: I’m actually not really involved with Pokémon 2 yet. Since the first games were released, I’ve been busy producing for the Nintendo 64.
Tajiri: We’re currently fine-tuning all the Pokémon we made. We designed more than 200 Pokémon for the first games, then whittled them down to 150. This game will exceed 200 Pokémon, but we already have over 350, which leaves me wondering which ones I should keep.
We frequently run company-wide popularity polls. We’ve only settled on 4 things that we’re going to be making for Pokémon 2. In the game world, there’s a magazine about Pokémon called Pokémon Genre. If you investigate the bookshelves in the game, you can find copies of Pokémon Genre and read the articles published in it. About why Slowking is the way he is, for example. That way you can learn things while you’re playing.
As for the Pokédex, we tried making a number of different prototypes with different functions. In order for an electronic organizer to be useful, it has to be able to increase your knowledge, right? We thought up several ideas, such as being able to search Pokémon by name and categorize them by type, but I wanted to combine all these features into one. We’ve added new functions, of course, but I think the end result will be convenient and lighten the users’ burden.
The way we’ve approached things is to develop whatever we want without paying any heed to how much memory is available, cutting down on Pokémon we can’t fit in later on.
Miyamoto: These games will have 8 megabits of memory. It’s an improvement on the previous games, so I think it’s good enough.
Tajiri: In order to economize on memory in RGB, we made it so that if you were looking at a character from behind, it would appear out of focus in relation to the camera angle. Since we’re now able to use more memory, things will be much clearer. Having twice as much memory doesn’t necessarily mean that there are going to be twice as many Pokémon or twice as many maps.
Up till now, I think RPGs have omitted the question of how, exactly, you run into enemies. Despite their specs improving, nothing has changed in that regard. What I wanted to do was have Pokémon appear in places where you wouldn’t be able to see what was coming due to your height in comparison to the height of the grass.
That’s the sort of thing I want to do to make use of the increase in memory. Create things which allow you to grasp the games in more detail, such as the Pokémon Genre magazine I mentioned before. I want players saying “So, this is what Pikachu’s back looks like,” for example. The information in the Pokédex has changed a little in Gold & Silver, so you’ll be able to understand each Pokémon a little better.
During development, we experimented with a variety of things concerning the games’ connectivity. I was thinking about allowing players to trade Pokémon with money attached, but I gave the idea up in RGB as it doesn’t do anything to increase your understanding of the games. It seems, however, that people caught wind of the notion that it might be fun to trade things, so these games might reflect an increase in the number of things aside from Pokémon that you’re able to exchange. *laughing*
NPC trainers were originally put into the games because at first you weren’t able to complete your Pokédex without using the link cable to trade with your friends. But, then what would people without any friends have done? We decided to build at least a few friends into the game for them. That’s why, as long as there are other Pokémon, there will be other trainers, and why they’ll turn into your playmates.
We plan to add some new parameters into the game as well as new types of Pokémon. There might be monsters who rival your incredibly strong Mewtwo, for example.
Ishihara: You may find that your attacks have no effect.
Tajiri: The games aren’t about raising the strongest Pokémon, but rather about raising the strongest Pokémon team. If you bought both of the previous titles and worked really hard, you’d be able to complete your Pokédex all by yourself, something that’s possible in these games as well. I know there’s a difference between people who buy both versions and trade back and forth between them to get all the Pokémon and people who collect Pokémon by trading with others. That’s why I want to allow players to see the number of people they’ve traded with. I want to give the matter more serious consideration and create a game that doesn’t pick on kids who don’t have friends, but rather helps to increase the number of friends they do have. That’s the play environment I’m aiming for.
Ishihara: Mew was a Pokémon that didn’t appear in the game itself but was instead attained illegitimately. There were quite a few instances of people doing the trick for fun and succeeding in catching it, then trying again and messing up their game. We’re afraid of that happening again, so we need to be more systematic this time. The whole Mew fiasco became much more widespread than we’d first imagined. That sort of thing also divides the people who come to the actual events to trade Pokémon, so we’re fine-tuning things with the intention of making a special piece of hardware called the Pokémon Machine. Also, though it has nothing to do with actual gameplay, we’re also thinking up ways to support other types of play.
(Translator’s Note: The problem of people using the Mew glitch was so prevalent, Nintendo made an announcement about it, warning Japanese players that attempting the trick might erase their game, corrupt their data, and corrupt the games of others if they attempted to trade with them.)
Tajiri: We’re developing the game by gathering suggestions for improvements and recommendations from players. Then we can put everything in. I want there to be answers to the mysteries that players found in the previous games. I want to aim for an even more imaginative game within the confines of the Game Boy hardware, and pay attention to the little details.
Miyamoto: I’d like to do an N64 game that supplement the character portraits and memory capacity of the titles. I’m thinking it might be good enough to have a game that’s merely a glorified Pokédex.
Tajiri: In the beginning, the original Pokémon didn’t have different variations such as Red and Blue. I took the advice of Miyamoto and split it into two, something that was a first for us. This time, I knew we’d have two versions from the start, so I wanted to make a game with clearer differences between the two releases than were present in Red and Green.
Miyamoto: I didn’t suggest splitting the games because it would allow us to sell more copies of the same thing. I just thought it would be more fun for the players if, say, there were 3 siblings and they all owned something unique. That way, they’d be able to communicate. I didn’t want to release separate versions of the games just to increase the marketability.
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