Game Freak on making Pokemon - designs rarely canned, approach to evolutions, why eyes have changed, more - Nintendo Everything

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Game Freak on making Pokemon – designs rarely canned, approach to evolutions, why eyes have changed, more

Posted on August 10, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

Game Informer published the next piece of its Pokemon-related coverage after taking a trip to Game Freak’s offices in Japan. The latest entry focuses on the actual creation of Pokemon.

Game Freak co-founder and Pokemon director / producer Junichi Masuda had plenty to say about this subject. He noted that designs are rarely scrapped, how the team thinks about evolution, why the eyes for Pokemon have changed over the years, and more.

You can read up on Masuda’s words below. Find the full article from Game Informer here.

On how pitches for Pokemon come from all over Game Freak…

“The graphic designers are obviously going to be the ones finalizing the look, but it’s not just the graphic designers who come up with ideas or draw the Pokémon. These ideas come from a lot of different places, the gameplay, the visuals, the story, and in the end those ideas just get centralized and designed.”

On how there are few rules about what a Pokemon can/can’t be…

“One thing we always really pay attention to is treating them like living creatures so you have to try and imagine where it would live in the environment and why it looks the way it does, what would it eat? When designing Pokémon, and not just from a graphic design perspective, there must be a reason for why it looks the way it does and you have to think about why it might live in the Pokémon world.”

On how Pokemon designs are rarely canned…

“Once you’re in the middle of creating it and someone were to say, ‘No!, that’s not a Pokémon,’ and the design process gets killed? That doesn’t really happen that much. Usually, instead, maybe the person who is directing the game might say it won’t work in its current form, but maybe if you did this and adding ideas onto it might make it work better.”

On evolution…

“One thing that happens a lot – well, not a lot – but happens sometimes, is that you start out with a cat, and when it evolves one easy idea is to say, ‘Okay, now there’s more heads.’ We always want to make sure we think, ‘Why does that happen?’ And when it evolves why does it have three heads? So that’s just something we’re always trying to think of – what’s the reason for what changes and how it looks?”

On how Pokemon’s eyes have changed over the years…

“It’s definitely conscious of the evolving design, but some of the reason behind that, for example, is in the beginning, the Game Boy had a really limited palette and a very small amount of pixels to express the designs. It was hard to make circles so that was one reason a lot of them had a similar look. As the technology evolved we had more options for expression with different shapes and more variety, so I think we’ve focused on trying to have a lot of variety in the eyes, for example.”

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  • ChaosNocturne

    we know you dont throw designs away we saw gen 5 worst gen with stuff like the sets of ice cream and gear pokemon

    • Bap

      Gen 5 was a tribute to gen 1 to a tee, so I guess that means gen 1 is pretty bad, or right that’s just the nostalgia goggles.

      • Princess_Eevee9

        I expected a comment like this, but making fun of them is fun.

        • Bap

          I have no problem with gen 1 or gen 5. I find it funny that most people who love gen 1 hate gen 5.

          • Princess_Eevee9

            I found that the fanbase made new hates Kanto, but the I listened to music from the Generation and reminded me why I love it.

          • Reggie

            You can still love Generation I but not be blind to its faults. Generation I is a broken mess with bad mechanics and a non-existent balance. Also not all of the Pokemon designs were great. I’m aware of all these faults, but I still like it.

        • RoadyMike

          Making fun of newer stuff cuz it’s new

      • Tlink7

        Gen 1 wasn’t full of designs that were uglier versions of already-existing ones. Just because somebody makes bad copies doesn’t mean the original is crap

        • Bap

          Like Gen 1 doesn’t have its share of ugly designs.

          • Tlink7

            I never said gen 1 didn’t have ugly designs 😉 at least even the ugly ones weren’t lazy copy pastas

    • Princess_Eevee9

      Hey guys look I found the wannabe edgelord!

    • Yolkghost

      How are there still people that think like this and nitpick out the designs that would be in gen 1. In fact all of gen 5 felt like gen 1 designs.

    • Carlos

      I like how people always bring up these Pokémon as to why gen 5 is bad, but think Pokémon like a pokeball, crab, and blob are good designs.

    • Adrián Alucard
  • Princess_Eevee9

    This was a great read, and as much as people like to rag on designs GameFreak has gotten immensely better than the Kanto days. I love the way they add the little details such as markings, eyes, additional limbs, and various ways on how to use objects to express a Pokémon’s type. Didn’t know that accepted designs from all over their departments neither that’s really neat. Also there’s some great advice in here, explains why I think Fake Pokémon designs are garbage.

  • Roto Prime

    Lets get Ken off his lazy butt and make him go old school again, As punishment for this he should draw all Pokémon by hand and water color them to perfection like the first 150 <3

  • Meadowtronic

    I wonder what was the justification for pokemon that went from quad to bipedal or just lost their limbs completely.

    • Reggie

      Game Freak taking on more designers, that’s what.

  • GMB

    I wish they would go back to make the eyes “vertical” again and color with oil colors like in back in the day.

  • Tlink7

    I miss the old eye style, it makes them look more like animals. And maybe they should have canned some in gen 5… God, so many of them were just terrible

  • MagcargoMan

    ““Once you’re in the middle of creating it and someone were to say, ‘No!, that’s not a Pokémon,’ and the design process gets killed? That doesn’t really happen that much.”

    Would explain why Gen 7 has the worst designs overall by far.