Posted By GlitterBerri at 1:15 PM on Wednesday May 29, 2013
The Title Page
Let’s start by taking a glimpse at the title page of Capsule Monsters’ project proposal. These unfamiliar monsters may be early designs for existing Pokémon, many of whom went through significant redesigns. (More on that later.)
Another possibility is that they are Pokémon that were not ultimately not included in the final games. Tajiri and Sugimori went into further detail about this aspect in an interview on Nintendo of Japan’s website. (Click the names to see the translated source for each quote.)
Sugimori: “Memory capacity and deciding on a good number of characters became an issue. We actually wanted to have more. We designed around 1.5 times more characters than we actually used.”
Tajiri: We designed more than 200 Pokémon for the first games, then whittled them down to 150. 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.
Now let’s take a peek at the second page, a preface which outlines what Sugimori and Tajiri were hoping for Pokémon to become.
Caption: Pocket Monsters was named Capsule Monsters in the original planning documents. These include a prediction written by Tajiri in story-form regarding how the game would be received and played after its release.
A (Hypothetical) Story Set in the Not-So-Distant Future…
It’s been a month since the release of Capsule Monsters, a monster game that incorporates RPG elements into a dungeon-covered overworld. You know those vending machines that sit in front of candy stores and toy shops selling capsule toys called “gashapon”, right? I guess I could describe the game as being similar to the excitement you get from collecting those capsules.
In Capsule Monsters, 200 types of virtual monsters live in equally virtual underground dungeons on the Game Boy. The game’s hero can befriend these monsters and win them over to his side by increasing his Charisma, a game parameter not yet widely known among Japanese audiences. Charisma is featured in the Wizardry series, but it seems like Japanese games have yet to make use of it. Naturally, Capsule Monsters also allows you to capture creatures alive rather than defeating them in battle, as you’ve done in RPGs up till now.
The roster of over 200 types of monsters includes creatures that you won’t necessarily encounter, creatures who will choose not to ally with you, and creatures who you’ll miss the chance to encounter entirely, and thus never be able to catch. My friends and I call these “illusory monsters”.
It just so happens that I have three Green Dragons, which only appear very rarely in the corner of an underground dungeon, four levels down. In order to catch just one of these illusory monsters, players of a certain level have to spend an average of 2 hours wandering around a particular area. My friend, Takuji, doesn’t have any Green Dragons, but he is allied with 2 Fireflies instead.
In class, discussion about Capsule Monsters really heats up after the bell rings. Who has which illusory characters? How many? We’re not just bragging, exactly. Once my friends and I come to an agreement, we connect our Game Boys via Link Cable and then we can use it to trade monsters. That’s why we get excited, because we’re negotiating which monsters to trade for what, and how many.
Takuji and I finally finished negotiating. He’d agreed to trade one of his Fireflies for two of my Green Dragons. But I still felt like our exchange was a little unbalanced. I asked if he wouldn’t mind adding 5 Powerkings, monsters with the strength you might expect to see in soldiers, and we finally struck a bargain. Powerkings have a high encounter rate, and you’ll quickly run into them if you wander around dungeons. They’re strong, though, and the theory is that, if you have a lot of them, you can put them to work as soldiers when you run into other monsters. Takuji and I hooked up the Link Cable and traded monsters. The Game Boy plays sound effects as the monster data is being transferred, so we could hear the monsters’ cries.
Word of mouth has turned Capsule Monsters into a hit. While I was riding the train to school, I discovered that students from other schools played too. I pulled my Link Cable out of my school bag as I addressed them. “Excuse me,” I said. “I have a Firefly and a Green Dragon. What do you guys have? How about a trade?”
Regarding the type of gameplay that was intended for Capsule Monsters, Sugimori had this to say:
Sugimori: At first, the game was more RPG-like. It was only in the middle of development that the goal of the game became completing your Pokédex.
You also may have noticed that the design proposal makes no mention of two separate versions. This is because the idea for the split originated later in development, on the recommendation of Miyamoto himself.
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.
As for Miyamoto’s reasons, well…
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.
|Page 01||Intro||Life Before Pokémon|
|Page 02||Design Doc||Tajiri’s Pokémon Vision|
|Page 03||Concept Art||Adventuring With Pokémon|
|Page 04||Concept Art||A Battle Between Trainers|
|Page 05||Concept Art||A Day in the Life|
|Page 06||Concept Art||A Battle Between Pokémon|
|Page 07||Concept Art||Trading Pokémon|
|Page 08||Concept Art||At the Pokémon Hotel|
|Page 09||Concept Art||Catching Pokémon|
|Page 10||Concept Art||At the Pokémart|
|Page 11||Concept Art||Status Screen|
|Page 12||Concept Art||Battle Screen|
|Page 13||Concept Art||Opening Sequence|
|Page 14||Concept Art||Overworld|
|Page 15||Sprite Art||Sprites|
|Page 16||Outro||A Brief Conclusion|
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