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Game Freak on the process of making new Pokemon, challenges involved; scrapped designs return later

Posted on October 13, 2019 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

It’s no secret that the Pokemon franchise has a ton of different creatures. We’re just about ready to enter the series’ eighth generation, and over 800 designs currently exist.

As noted in the latest issue of Game Informer, the whole process kicks off with a relatively simple request to an artist involving “a concept of a Pokemon for a particular scenario” or “a specific direction for a new creature.” That artist will then make “quick sketches with few details, which are shown to the team requesting to see if they’re heading in the correct direction.” Feedback provided will lead to several iterations of the design, “with the gaps getting longer and longer each time as the artist adds more detail with each iteration.”

As far as the challenges involved with making a new Pokemon, art director James Turner told Game Informer:

“There are a lot of Pokemon. To me, it’s like trying to park in a really crowded car park or something. You’re going this way, there’s a car there. You’re going this way, there’s a car. You’re trying to find some unique space. This color scheme has been used before, this animal has been used before. You’re trying to find something unique. That’s important.”

“You can’t just come up with a cool looking design or a cute-looking design that hasn’t got any logic behind it. This Pokemon has these cool, big horns, and it looks mean and tough, but why would it have these horns? How does it live? How does it exist in the environment? That’s really important. If there’s no meaning behind the decorations, then they’re not really necessary for the design. We have to think about how this creature exists in the world and how it lives in the world.”

Turner said that about two or three out of every ten Pokemon drawn are used in the game. However, ones that are scrapped often appear later on in the series. Turned explained that such Pokemon may not be a fit within the region or haven’t been fully realized at the time. He said: “So they will go away with that design, and then the next region, the next game will start and they’ll bring it back, and maybe they’ve modified it a little bit, or maybe it fits better within the lineup, and those designs go ahead.”

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