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Original Pokemon games almost didn’t have multiplayer battles

Posted on June 12, 2022 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

Pokemon multiplayer battles

According to Pokemon producer Shigeki Morimoto, the original entries in the series almost left out multiplayer battles.

That news comes from a Japanese Pokedex book from 1996, which was recently translated by Did You Know Gaming. Morimoto mentioned how he thought multiplayer battles “would be a pain to program”. Additionally, Game Freak was running out of time. Nintendo, however, essentially demanded for the feature to be included.

Even after Nintendo’s requests, battles were originally planned to be very straightforward as it’d be something players watched rather than actually doing. But with feedback provided during development, that idea was found to be “boring”. Eventually Game Freak made it so there would be traditional battles with the Game Boy Link Cable.

“President Tajiri had wanted us to implement battling for a while, but I personally didn’t find the idea very interesting, and just thought it would be a pain to program. It looked like we’d run out of time and would have to scrap the battling feature, but Nintendo made it clear they wanted battles in the game, so we had to make it happen.

So I just thought, ‘well no choice then, it has to be done,’ and the early battles were something you just watched. You would just see there was a battle and who won and who lost. We showed that to Nintendo and the surveys we got back called it ‘boring.’ I guess they were right, but we were cutting it close to the deadline trying to add in battles that the player commands. Ultimately, it’s what everyone wanted, so we got it to work with the Link Cable and made it a reality.”

Pokemon Red and Green originally debuted in Japan in February 1996, with Blue following a bit later. Red and Blue saw their western debuts in 1998.

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