Anyone who’s been keeping up with recent developments pertaining to Pokemon X and Pokemon Y knows that there are quite a few changes in store for the franchise. Not only do the games feature full 3D battles, a first for the core series, but they also add new mechanics such as Mega Evolutions to the fray – effectively deepening the strategic element of the games. There’s a lot for fans to look forward to, but Game Freak has reiterated that, despite all of the change, the tried and true formula is still very much intact.
During an interview between VentureBeat and Game Freak’s Hironobu Yoshida and Junichi Masuda, the duo clarified that much of what fans love about Pokemon will remain untouched. Referring to the importance of connecting with other players, that trend will remain in the new games. Of course, the technology in the Nintendo 3DS allows Game Freak plenty of other options – Pokemon Bank being one of them – showcasing that an old dog can still learn new tricks.
“Players would meet up and trade Pokémon with each other. That’s also why we had two versions, just so there would be different Pokémon in the versions to encourage players to trade. That’s also why we had the Pokédex and all these other elements, to encourage people to want to trade Pokémon and communicate with other players in real life.”
“The great thing about handhelds is, of course, that you can go meet people and play with them in real locations. With Pokémon X and Y, we have the Player Surf System this time, the PSS, where icons of players near by will show up as they’ve decided to express themselves. If you dress up your character, that face will appear. You can tap on that person and interact with them – trade, battle. You can make friends that way easily, we think. But you can also go home and turn on the internet mode and interact with players from around the world and do the exact same things – trade and battle with them.”
“So one thing that we think is great about handhelds is that they facilitate both of these styles of play – going somewhere in real life and interacting in person as well as being able to play with other players over the Internet. So that’s why we continue to develop on the handheld platforms.”
Despite the ability to connect with other players being a focal point for the series, the Game Freak employees quickly dismissed the idea of a Pokemon MMO. Both Masuda and Yoshida feel that the way each installment of the series is currently developed is the best way to go about it, and made it sound like they have no plans to shift away from Nintendo’s handhelds at any point in the near future.
“Of course, we hear all the opinions we get from our fans about an MMORPG. But right now, we’re still unsure whether this core gameplay at the center of Pokémon – catching the Pokémon and raising them – would really translate well or really match the MMORPG format. Right now we think the best way for the widest possible audience to enjoy the games is the way we develop them now.”
Despite featuring the concept, evolution has never really been a common occurrence with every new Pocket Monster title. Things have indeed changed since Pokemon Red and Blue first hit the Game Boy in 1998, but not nearly in a fashion as dramatic as other franchises in the same amount of time. That said, The Pokemon Company makes an insanely tidy profit every time a new set of core installments make their debut, so its cookie-cutter development cycle won’t be changing anytime soon.
Pokemon X and Pokemon Y will be hitting the Nintendo 3DS this October 12th.
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