Pokemon devs on Mega Evolutions – criteria, Slowbro over Slowking more
This month’s issue of Nintendo Dream has a lengthy interview with some of the folks responsible for the Pokemon games. The magazine chatted with Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire director Shigeru Ohmori, Ken Sugimori (art director), Shigeki Morimoto (battle director), Kazumasa Iwao (game designer).
Some of the most interesting comments came about when the interview focused on the topic of Mega Evolutions. Nintendo Dream asked about things like criteria for Mega Evolutions, why Slowbro was chosen to go through the process rather than Slowking, and more.
Head past the break for our full translation of Nintendo Dream’s Pokemon Mega Evolution discussion.
ND: Was there some kind of selection criteria for new Mega Evolutions?
Ohmori: There were some criteria, but we started by handling Pokemon that we wanted to Mega Evolve for the needs of the story. Like organization leaders’ Pokemon such as Maxie’s Camerupt and Archie’s Sharpedo. Others were chosen while considering things like popularity and battle balance.
ND: Do you create a Mega Evolution by making the design first? Or are there cases when you wanted some ability for a Pokemon and created a Mega Evolution from that?
Ohmori: There are many Mega Evolutions for which the design was a priority. It differs from creating a Pokemon from scratch as you expand the existent design.
Sugimori: However, not every Mega Evolution got its abilities from its design. There isn’t a fixed procedure and each case is different.
Morimoto: There are also cases when we wanted increase things like attack or speed with a Mega Evolution. Those were decided first and it affected the design.
ND: There are many Normal/Flying types in the Kanto region, but out of those only Pidgeot was chosen to Mega Evolve.
Ohmori: Pidgeot is one of the Pokemon that the rival sends out in Pokemon Red and Blue, so it’s a very popular Pokemon. We wanted to give Pidgeot some spotlight one more time, so that’s why it Mega Evolves.
Sugimori: We wanted to create a great variety of Mega Evolutions, rather than making two similar ones.
Ohmori: There is quite a bit of trouble in creating a design for a Pokemon (strained laugh).
Sugimori: For example, there are Pokemon that were rejected as a Mega Evolution candidate because it’s like they couldn’t evolve any further design-wise.
ND: It feels like Mega Salamance is pretty strong even among new Mega Evolutions.
Ohmori: Although Mega Salamence was created by giving priority to the design, the designer was told to work within an image of “tough and fast”.
Sugimori: The shape of Salamence’s wings is a characteristic of the Pokemon, but for Mega Evolution, they were given a more interesting meaning.
ND: “Tough and fast” was also materialized in that, right?
Morimoto: When it comes to the battle system, having the same speed as Mega Kangaskhan wouldn’t be interesting, so we wanted to create differences by having some differing attributes.
Iwao: Speed was raised due to the thought “when the shape of wings change, Salamence can control its speed freely”. Mega Salamence hides its front legs inside the armored part of the body, which gives an impression of toughness and raised defense. When a small kid sees a glance of Pokemon like Dragonite or Tyranitar, the first thought is “I would win if I used this strong Pokemon”. Having an image that is easy to understand was also important for Mega Salamence.
ND: The speed of Metagross is boosted drastically with a Mega Evolution. What was the reason to prioritize speed?
Iwao: We considered simply boosting attack more or giving a Levitate ability as the Pokemon floats midair, but we decided on raising speed as that broadens battle strategies.
ND: Why does Slowbro Mega Evolve instead of Slowking?
Ohmori: “Wouldn’t it be interesting if a Shellder was biting Slowbro’s body and not just the tail?” That idea came up when discussing with designers, so Slowbro’s design was extended.
Sugimori: We wanted to have a reverse framework for a Mega Evolution. Isn’t an appearance which looks like being almost eaten just that? (laughs)
Ohmori: Slowbro was more suitable for that purpose than Slowking.
Iwao: The situation is similar to Cloyster. I wanted Mega Slowbro to have a similar stamina as Cloyster, so that’s why defense was boosted.