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Game Freak on the Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire demo, Pokemon Snap, and more

Posted on October 15, 2014 by (@NE_Brian) in 3DS, General Nintendo, News

CVG has published a new interview with Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda, which covers a wide array of topics. Masuda was asked about the Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire demo, fan requests like the return of Pokemon Snap, and more.

Read on below for a few excerpts from the discussion.

On why Ruby/Sapphire are so well-loved by fans…

Masuda: It’s difficult for me to know the exact reason other than them being good games, but ever since I started Twitter three or four years ago it’s really been the title everyone’s been talking about: “Hey, when are the Ruby and Sapphire remakes coming?”. So maybe, this is just my theory, but maybe a lot of the younger folks who use social media like Twitter and whatnot proactively were born around the time at which Ruby and Sapphire would have been their first Pokemon game, so maybe that might be one of the reasons.

On how Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire’s new content was put in place to entice older players…

Masuda: Definitely. We’re making new games here, we really wanted them to have a lot of surprises. We didn’t want to just have a straight port with new graphics. Of course, there would still have been a big nostalgia factor for a lot of people if it had just been a straight port, but one of our goals was [to make things different for] people who had played the originals and experienced a lot of things that left a good impression on them.

For example, Ruby and Sapphire was the first time a Pokemon game was on a GBA instead of an 8-bit Game Boy so we wanted to try to recreate that feeling of entering into this new graphical style and how we could make people have that memorable experience again in a new way. It’s also why we decided to have Pokemon appear on the map more than ever before, to give you this feeling that you’re surrounded by Pokemon in the environment, so there’s a variety of things we’ve fleshed out and new features we’ve added to surprise people.

On the thinking behind the Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire demo…

Masuda: We really just wanted to try a new thing with the special demo version. One of the core defining characteristics of Pokemon is how, obviously the games are enjoyed by everyone, but another part of the fun is the surrounding community and the conversations that happen outside of the game. So we kind of thought of this special demo version as one of those outside elements. It’s not part of the main game, it’s an external element that people around the world can play and talk about what they found in the special demo version. You’ll also be able to play it multiple times and bring the Pokemon you find in it into the main game. So it’s just another one of those surrounding elements of the overall Pokemon brand that ties into and makes the core game more fun.”

On releasing the Pokemon games worldwide at the same time…

Masuda: The idea of releasing the games at the same time around the world started a little over seven years ago, really. We were talking with Nintendo Of Europe and they were telling us that having the games come out later in their territories was just not a great experience for their users. “At least could we get it at the same time as North America?” was the original discussion.

One of the main reasons for this is that as the internet, even just in the last seven years, has become more and more widely available, that kind of element of discovery – you get the game for the first time, you find all the new stuff, you see the story – that all gets kind of put up online really quickly and you can even find people playing through the entire game on YouTube. So making sure that discovery element could be shared worldwide was something we really wanted to do.

It just took a long time to get there from an organisational perspective: we just had to do a lot of reorganising of who would handle which responsibilities. For example, The Pokemon Company International now handles localising everything directly from Japanese to each different language: that’s one of the changes we implemented to allow the localisation to go much more quickly.

On Twitch Plays Pokemon and other fan activities…

Masuda: Well, from our perspective as developers, we spend three years or more on a project, working really hard the entire time, so regardless of how players are playing it, as long as they’re enjoying the games we think that’s just awesome. We spend so much time creating the projects so it’s just great to see people having fun with them.

On fan requests and Pokemon Snap…

Masuda: It’s always great to hear from the fans and as a game player myself I can relate to what they want: they’re always wanting cool new things and obviously it would be great if we had the resources to develop all of these things but that can be difficult. For Pokemon Snap specifically, that wasn’t originally developed by Game Freak so… as a player I definitely want to play a cool new version of Pokemon Snap but at the same time I also think if it was just a remake with better graphics I don’t think it would be as interesting as a lot of people are imagining. I think whoever… if someone was to end up developing it they’d have to come up with some cool ideas to really make it a good game for the current generation. It’s sort of like what I was saying about Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. If it was just a direct port that would be kind of neat as well, but having new elements is definitely important.

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