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Game Freak on why rivals in Pokemon aren’t jerks anymore

Posted on October 21, 2018 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

Having a rival is one of the more well-known aspects in Pokemon. This has been present in the original generation of games, leading all the way up through Pokemon Sun/Moon. But over time, their personality has changed. Early on especially, rivals acted more like jerks. That isn’t as much the case anymore – especially with the likes of Hau in Sun/Moon.

In an interview with GameSpot, longtime Pokemon developer Junichi Masuda spoke about the shift. He noted how back in the day, you couldn’t express quite as much with visuals meaning they really needed to have character with their dialogue and personality. On the other hand, with the HD visuals of today, making the rival a jerk would leave much more of an impression on players.

Masuda mentioned the following:

“I think the biggest reason that rivals were more of a jerk in the early days is that we were just limited in what we could express with the pixel graphics. There’s not much that you can do with that kind of little sprite on the screen, so we worked harder to characterize them through dialogue and give them certain personalities.

Also, because it’s just dialogue and there’s not a whole lot going on on the screen, it doesn’t give as harsh of an impression even if they’re jerks, I think. Now we have HD graphics and the visuals are much more impressive. If you also made him a jerk, the impression would be a lot stronger on players. Another thing, just my own personal take, is that it feels that people with those kinds of personalities these days are just not as accepted by players as they were back then.”


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