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Game Freak goes over the challenge of creating, and the design process for new Pokemon

Trial and error, trial and error...

Pokemon Sword and Shield is only a few weeks out from launch, and it's going to introduce Pokemon fans to a whole new world of pocket monsters. After so many installments in the franchise, how does the team at Game Freak still come up with ideas? Game Freak's James Turner explained in an interview with Game Informer.

- this start off with a simple request for an artist
- this involves “a concept of a Pokemon for a particular scenario” or “a specific direction for a new creature”
- the artist will make “quick sketches with few details, which are shown to the team” for approval
- feedback provided will lead to several iterations of the design
- the gaps between the feedback sessions get longer and longer as the artist hones in on the final design
- about two or three out of every ten Pokemon drawn are used in the game
- ones that are scrapped often appear later on in the series

“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.”

Categories: Interviews, Consoles
Tags: eshop, pokemon, switch

Comments

Top Rated Comment

What about that is contradictory?

Klefki is a fairy that is drawn to types of metals, which it collects around its arms/horns. From its pokedex entries,

Long ago it lived in mines, but once the minerals that make up its diet became scarcer, Klefki began appearing in human settlements.

It inserts its horn into chinks in metal, absorbing metal ions.

Some dex entries of the "ice cream cones":

The temperature of their breath is -58° F. They create snow crystals and make snow fall in the areas around them.

When the morning sun hit an icicle, it wished not to melt, and thus Vanillite was born. At night, it buries itself in snow to sleep.

Snowy mountains are this Pokémon's habitat. During an ancient ice age, they moved to southern areas.

Seems to me like they thought out these pokemon beyond "does it look cute" or "does it look cool", as James Turner is saying here. To the point of exploring exact temperatures, metal chemistry, past eras in geologic time, and personification in folklore.

All that isn't disingenuous just because you personally don't like them.

a1eejandro
Sun Oct 13 19 05:09am
Rating: 2

I just had to cancel my preorder on this one. Disappointing..

Sorry but there are plenty Pokemon who would call BS on this design process...

It's going to be a rough couple months for people insistent on hating GameFreak and these new games, if even this innocuous news post about their creative process earns downvotes and snark.

The Pokemon themselves have always been a strength of this series, and my biggest criticism of the last few gens has been they haven't introduced ENOUGH new pokemon. Early indications suggest gen 8 will get back to having around 100 new mons, like gens 2 and 4, and that would be exciting.

seansneachta
Sun Oct 13 19 04:29pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

I’m excited for Sword and Shield but this statement about the creative process of every Pokemon can’t be genuine. Sure they take time and effort into most, but then you have literal ice-cream cones and bunch of keys as Pokemon.

That doesn’t add up with what the guy is quoted at saying.


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.

What about that is contradictory?

Klefki is a fairy that is drawn to types of metals, which it collects around its arms/horns. From its pokedex entries,

Long ago it lived in mines, but once the minerals that make up its diet became scarcer, Klefki began appearing in human settlements.

It inserts its horn into chinks in metal, absorbing metal ions.

Some dex entries of the "ice cream cones":

The temperature of their breath is -58° F. They create snow crystals and make snow fall in the areas around them.

When the morning sun hit an icicle, it wished not to melt, and thus Vanillite was born. At night, it buries itself in snow to sleep.

Snowy mountains are this Pokémon's habitat. During an ancient ice age, they moved to southern areas.

Seems to me like they thought out these pokemon beyond "does it look cute" or "does it look cool", as James Turner is saying here. To the point of exploring exact temperatures, metal chemistry, past eras in geologic time, and personification in folklore.

All that isn't disingenuous just because you personally don't like them.

From what I've seen, Pokémon themed on manmade objects tend to draw the most dislike, at least from the western fans. In addition to these, you got the Trubbish line, the Klink line, and the Litwick line. (For some reason, the Magnemite line, Voltorb line, and Honedge line get a free pass.) There seems to be this notion that Pokémon should be themed strictly on natural objects. This is not reflected in the Japanese fanbase, where Chandelure, of all things, was voted to be in the Pokkén Tournament roster.

By the way, since James Turner was the designer for the Vanillite line, he has spoken of the design process for that one. It was actually one of the last Generation V Pokémon to be created. Since Unova would use only Pokémon from that generation until the postgame, they found the Cold Storage area to be lacking in Pokémon. Turner was brought to the project to do the spinning camera in places like Skyarrow Bridge, but since he had a background as an illustrator, they asked him to design a three-stage line for an Ice-type Pokémon that looks like it might belong in a refrigerated warehouse. He submitted in a few ideas, and Vanillite was the one chosen, which he expanded upon to make Vanillish and Vanilluxe. (These became favorites in Japan too. I have a Vanillite plush as redesigned by Kanako Eo, another Pokémon designer.)

Oh, but sludge with eyes is totally fine.

i hope so until now all the Pokémon that the Pokémon Company and Game Freak have revealed have amazing designs, if gen 8 have around 100 to 120 new Pokémon introduced incluinding Galarian Form all with the amazing designs we all be receiving so far i will be so happy, because so far the design of the Pokémon of gen 8 have been all amazing.

Early indications suggest gen 8 will get back to having around 100 new mons, like gens 2 and 4, and that would be exciting.

There is no "early indications" of the sort. That is all purely conjecture on your point.

Their track record over the past 2 generations indicates the EXACT opposite of what you're insinuating.

Pretty sad that GoNintendo has become a place where I have to tell myself to avoid the comments on anything Pokémon-related.

Enjoy boycotting Sw/Sh, I'm gonna have a blast with my guy Sirfetch'd in November.

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