Home / Content DB / Iwata Asks Interview - Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2 Versions

Game Details:

Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo / The Pokémon Company
Platform: Nintendo DS
Release Date(s): June 23rd, 2012 (JPN), October 7th, 2012 (USA), October 12th, 2012 (EUR), November 8th, 2012 (KOR)
Mode(s): Single player, Multiplayer
Rating(s): CERO: A (JPN), ESRB: E (USA), PEGI: 3+ (EUR)
Controller(s): Nintendo 3DS
Extra Contents: Black 2 and White 2 Main Page - Dream World Furnishings - C-Gear Skins - B2W2 Wi-Fi Competitions - Musicals - Iwata Asks B2W2

The following is a transcription of an interview conducted by Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata. It was originally posted on the Official Nintendo website.

Interview Table of Contents

  1. Two Sequels Two Years Later
  2. One-Hundred-Player Multiplayer Gaming
  3. Pokémon Space Fantasy
  4. A Pokémon Center in the First City
  5. What Pokémon Values
  6. Three Sacred Treasures

1. Two Sequels Two Years Later


Iwata: I've gathered you all here before release of Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 for the Nintendo DS system. Thank you for coming.

Everyone: Thank you for inviting us.

Iwata: I would like to jump right in by hearing how the idea for Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 came about. Ishihara-san, if you would, please.

Ishihara: OK. I'm Ishihara from The Pokémon Company

1. Pokémon Diamond Version and Pokémon Pearl Version2 were followed by Pokémon Platinum Version3, and Pokémon Ruby Version and Pokémon Sapphire Version4 were followed by Pokémon Emerald Version5, so we discussed what kind of product would come together after Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version6. 1. The Pokémon Company: In addition to brand management of everything related to Pokémon, the company operates seven Pokémon Centers around Japan. Founded in 2000. Headquarters: Tokyo.

2. Pokémon Diamond Version and Pokémon Pearl Version: Video games released for the Nintendo DS™ system in September 2006.

3. Pokémon Platinum Version: A game released for the Nintendo DS system in September 2008 as the new version of Pokémon Diamond Version and Pokémon Pearl Version.

4. Pokémon Ruby Version and Pokémon Sapphire Version: Games released for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance system in November 2002.

5. Pokémon Emerald Version: A video game released for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance system in September 2004 as the new version of Pokémon Ruby Version and Pokémon Sapphire Version.

6. Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version: Games released for the Nintendo DS family of systems in September 2010.

Iwata: Like a difference in color—for example, "How about coming out with Pokémon Gray Version?"

Ishihara: Yeah. But lots of players were expecting us to follow the same pattern, so for the first time we decided to try adding a "2" for a pleasant surprise.

Iwata: Something else that's different from the pattern so far is that you're releasing two games. When I first heard that, I couldn't help but say, "Huh? Two?!"

Ishihara: That sort of surprise is what gives this product its newness. I'd like to have Masuda-san and Unno-san talk about what we aimed for in sequels to Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version.


Iwata: All right, Masuda-san?

Masuda: I'm Masuda from GAME FREAK7. As for why we're releasing two, we thought of a game mechanic to put in when we were developing Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version, but we didn't have enough time to do it. We needed two games for that, so this time we decided to make two.


7. GAME FREAK inc.: The video game developer responsible for the Pokémon series and other titles. Founded in 1989.

Iwata: So that's why you made two.

Masuda: Yes. A little later, we thought of making them sequels. When you told me that if we were going to release something for the Nintendo DS system, we had to come up with something new, I was really worried. (laughs) Then I thought, "How about sequels?"

Iwata: For games to have sequels is nothing unusual, but we'd never taken that direction with Pokémon, so it was new.

Masuda: Yeah. And as for why we made it for the Nintendo DS system instead of Nintendo 3DS system, we wanted to make the same gameworld. Both games are set two years later than the first two.

Iwata: It's also two years later in the real world since Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version came out.

Masuda: Yes. Then I appointed Unno-san to be director and had him start the project.

Iwata: Unno-san, would you please introduce yourself?

Unno: Sure. I'm Unno from GAME FREAK. I was director of Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2. It's nice to meet you.


Iwata: It's nice to meet you, too. How long have you been involved with Pokémon?

Unno: It's been exactly ten years. I first worked on Pokémon Ruby Version and Pokémon Sapphire Version. Since then, I've been involved with almost all of the main titles, like Pokémon FireRed Version and Pokémon LeafGreen Version8.

8. Pokémon FireRed Version and Pokémon LeafGreen Version: Remakes of Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Green Version with various new elements added. Released for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance system in January 2004.

Iwata: After ten years, a big role came your way. Has it changed a lot?

Unno: Yes, quite a lot. I had experience as art director, but this time I was in a position to offer instruction regarding the game's fundamentals, so while it was worthwhile, it was a struggle at first.

Iwata: Masuda-san, why did you have Unno-san be the director?

Masuda: I think highly of his ability as an art director, so I thought he would be able to further reinforce the visual sense of Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version. I thought if someone lent support in planning, we could leave the directorial part to Unno-san. He was all for it, so I asked him to do it.

Iwata: So you pulled him out of his comfort zone to have him grow another step. Unno-san, when he first assigned you, what did you think?

Unno: I was surprised, of course, but I had told Masuda-san before that I wanted to be director. Every time we made a game, I thought, "Next, I want to develop this kind of gameplay!" Even when we made Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version, which were supposed to be a grand culmination, I thought strongly, "There are still so many ways to expand this!"

Iwata: At the time of Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version, I thought it was amazing how many elements you had packed into games for the Nintendo DS system, so this time, I couldn't imagine how you could ever develop it this much further. But this is how it turned out in response to the players two years later.

Unno: Yes. We put a number of new play ideas that use communication features into Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version, but this time we also challenged ourselves to develop new gameplay that would have further evolved.

Masuda: And having the setting be two years later was just right. Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version had a communication feature on the bottom screen called the C-Gear, and it was easy to imagine how that would evolve two years later.

Iwata: In other words, having those various elements—a solid foundation, with a clear direction for expanding it, the idea of setting the games two years later, and the new style of making two sequels—may have made it easier to make progress.


Unno: Yes. The keyword this time for Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 was "resonance." In Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version, you communicated with each other in a kind of "interference," but this time it's resonance, so we adopted gameplay that broadens each other's worlds.

2. One-Hundred-Player Multiplayer Gaming


Iwata: Unno-san, before you started working on Pokémon, were you a fan?

Unno: Yes! I loved it so much that when Pokémon Gold Version and Pokémon Silver Version9 went on sale, I lined up at about five in the morning. (laughs) Because of that personal affection, I had the opportunity to go observe the Pokémon World Championships10 a few times. People from all kinds of countries gathered, and I was surprised at how they could trade Pokémon without any trouble and play the Pokémon Trading Card Game even though they didn't speak each other's languages.

9. Pokémon Gold Version and Pokémon Silver Version: Video games released for the Nintendo Game Boy Color system in November 1999 in Japan. By appearing on the Game Boy Color system, it allowed Pokémon to appeare in various colors for the first time.

10. Pokémon World Championships: An official tournament that determines who's the best in the world of the Pokémon video games and Trading Card Game.

Iwata: Pokémon is a kind of common language for people from different countries who speak different languages. How many years has it been since the Pokémon World Championships began?

Ishihara: They've been going on since 2009, and their forerunner, the Pokémon Card Game World Championships, started in 2004, so it's been about eight years. Japanese people have stopped winning recently. The winners have been from America or the Netherlands, and not long ago it was a kid from Brazil.

Iwata: It's a valuable occasion for confirming with our own eyes just how much has been accomplished as Pokémon spreads around the world. A long time ago, when Ishihara-san began localizing Pokémon, he said that he thought it would be great to hold world championships, and that has come true!

Ishihara: Yeah. (laughs) Now almost 30 countries are participating. All kinds of languages are being spoken, so like Unno:-san said, even though everyone speaks every which way, somehow the conversation hangs together. And they don't feel intimidated either.


Iwata: The players have a common interest and knowledge, so if they have a medium that resonates with both of them—even without being able to communicate through language—they will be on the same wavelength.

Ishihara: That's right.

Unno: That was incredibly striking, so I thought that in the future, Pokémon might become an even bigger global communication tool than it was then. We wanted to keep developing the communication feature called the Entralink that we put in Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version.

Ishihara: We put the Entralink11 into Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version, and we were able to pursue some features that hadn't been there before, like gameplay connecting to the Pokémon Global Link12 and visiting someone else's game. I think it was pretty experimental, though.

11. Entralink: The name of a wireless communicative feature in Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version.

12. Pokémon Global Link: A website in conjunction with Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version that players access via a computer over the Internet.

Iwata: There were things that had to be done for the first time, and some features may not have been fully realized.

Ishihara: But I think that effort led toward a new, better form of play. Getting overeager and doing something new will eventually lead to that new element maturing.

Iwata: Taking a drastic step forward leads to whatever comes next. Now, interacting wirelessly in Pokémon is a matter of course, but I feel like when we suggested introducing a Game Boy Advance Wireless Adapter13 during development of Pokémon FireRed Version and Pokémon LeafGreen Version, because we pushed over the edge during production led to what came afterward. That seemingly reckless effort with regard to some aspect of the game may be one important thing when it comes to Pokémon.

13. Game Boy Advance Wireless Adapter: An accessory for the Game Boy Advance system that made wireless multiplayer gaming possible. It first appeared bundled with Pokémon FireRed Version and Pokémon LeafGreen Version in January 2004.

Ishihara: That's right. But Masuda-san says we shouldn't make that too common. New things are hard on him. (laughs)

Everyone: (laughs)

Iwata: Unno-san raised the theme of resonance. Then how did you get started with that?

Unno: First, I had the whole staff think about what we could do with the theme of resonance. That was when the Funfest Missions came up. The proposal said 100 people should be able to play through the Entralink, which really interested me.


Iwata: One hundred people? (laughs)

Unno: At first, I too thought, "100 people? That's crazy!!" (laughs) It's a form of gameplay in which people gather in the same area and take on various missions without disrupting the flow of the main game. I was attracted to the words "100 people" more than anything, and thought, "We gotta do it!"

Iwata: But wasn't doing that quite difficult?

Unno: Yes. There was a problem with time lags, but we wanted to place importance on how fun it would be if 100 people played. We thought the technology would follow along, so we set a goal and talked about what we could do to accomplish it—which may be why it went well.

Iwata: It would be difficult, physically, for 100 people to communicate in perfect synchronization, but what was really important was that fun experience of resonance in the same field.

Unno: Yes. All the company employees played it, and as they did so, they naturally said things like, "I got the most!" I felt like that was proof of sharing the same space, same time and same game. There were debugging problems, though…

Iwata: Right. The person in charge of Mario Club Co., Ltd.14 must have been at a loss for words at the start (laughs), because he wouldn't be able to do his work without gathering a bunch of people. Masuda:-san, what did you think when you heard about 100 people all communicating with one another?

14. Mario Club Co., Ltd.: This company conducts debugging and testing on Nintendo software during development.

Masuda: I thought they must be joking. (laughs) What bothered me the most was debugging, but I did think there was a value in trying it out as one possibility for multi-person play.


Iwata: Excluding online games, I've experienced multiplayer handheld games for about eight or 16 people. What did you discover in raising that to 100?

Unno: With wireless communication, the range is limited, so the degree of excitement is different compared to network games. It's like you're closer and can feel each other. It was mysterious how increasing from a few people to about 100 felt like it came with a greater degree of intimacy. I haven't really analyzed it well for myself yet, but…

Iwata: When there are lots of people, they all encounter the same special situations at the same time. With four people there are fewer moments when special things occur, but with 100 people something is always happening to somebody, so it may be easier to convey a special excitement and energy.

Masuda: Yeah, that's why it feels like a festival!

Unno: I hope lots of people have that mysterious experience. Please, gather 100 people and make 100 friends!

Everyone: (laughs)

3. Pokémon Space Fantasy


Iwata: Masuda:-san, earlier you said there was a game mechanic that didn't fit into Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version. What was that?

Masuda: When you completed the game, you would get a sort of key. It was a mechanism by which you could unlock the other game. Then, because of that, when you played the second one, you would get a different impression.

Iwata: By getting the key, your motivation for and experience in playing the game change.

Masuda: Yes. We wanted to make a mechanic whereby after you played one game, you could play the other in a deeper way, like with slightly stronger Pokémon appearing.


Unno: For example, if someone just can't seem to complete the game, someone who is better at it could say, "I'll help you out," and use the key to change that world. The gameworld of Pokémon opening up that way fits the keyword of resonance perfectly. I had heard of that specification before the word resonance came up, though.

Iwata: So just when you were thinking about making the theme resonance, you realized that the task Masuda-san had set fit that perfectly.

Unno: Yeah, it was too good to be true. (laughs)

Iwata: Yeah, I'd say. (laughs)

Unno: After Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version, I think everyone on the staff was certain that we could develop the gameplay further. So when I had them plan it out, they came up with stuff extremely quickly.

Iwata: Just like you couldn't use the game mechanic that you had thought of, everyone thought there were lots of elements and ideas left over—unused—in the foundation laid by Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version, and that had been building up in the staff as a starting pool of energy.

Unno: Yes. Also, I think the word resonance attracted them like a magnet.

Ishihara: And the story for Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version left a lot of mysteries, so I suppose those making it wanted to supply answers, like, "I wonder what happened to that one guy later?"

Iwata: But when making Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version, you weren't thinking about using anything leftover in a sequel, right?

Masuda: Well, I did purposely leave some unknowns. (laughs)

Everyone: (laughs)

Masuda: But luckily, we got to use them this time in the sequels.

Iwata: Stories don't always solve every mystery, but I suppose that as game makers you just can't let them go. Unno:-san, from your point of view, what was challenging aside from the Funfest Missions?


Unno: With regard to resonance and expanding the gameworld, it was Pokéstar Studios, in which you make Pokémon-themed movies. It was an idea that came from the whole planning staff, but as a graphic designer, I had always wanted to broaden the gameworld of Pokémon in the main game with something aside from collecting Pokémon, battling, communicating, and trading.

Iwata: Up until now, like in Pokémon Snap15, there have been new attractions outside the main game, but you wanted to put an element like that in the main game.

15. Pokémon Snap: A camera-action game released for the Nintendo 64 system in March 1999. Satoru Iwata was involved in development.

Unno: Right. If the gameworld were a movie, anything would be possible, so I thought I could broaden the gameworld.

Iwata: What do you mean by "anything would be possible"?

Unno: Like a space fantasy that wouldn't usually be possible in the Unova region.

Iwata: Huh? A space fantasy in Pokémon? (laughs)

Unno: Or romance.

Iwata: Huh?! Romance in Pokémon?! (laughs)

Unno: Yeah! (laughs) But I wasn't sure how far I could go. There is, of course, the worldview that The Pokémon Company has preserved, and GAME FREAK treasures certain things, so when I submitted the proposal, I was pretty nervous.

Masuda: The first page of the specifications had Pokémon with an Adamski-type UFO16! I was like, "What's this?!" (laughs)

16. George Adamski took what he claimed were photos of UFOs in the 1940s and '50s. These famous images defined the UFO craze of that time.

Iwata: Whoa! (laughs)

Masuda: But if you looked closely, the UFO was hanging from a thread! That was really interesting, and it looked like the possibilities were endless, so I let them do whatever they wanted.

Iwata: But you needed to really figure some things out to actually make it playable.

Masuda: Yeah. They really thought hard about what kind of gameplay to have. The movies have options for the plots, and if you don't know the type of Pokémon, the plot doesn't move forward well.

Iwata: So that way if you're playing and have a lot of knowledge about the Pokémon type, it comes in handy in the game.

Masuda: Yes. Those who are more knowledgeable will be able to film more smoothly—so knowledge comes in handy—and those who don't know much will learn.

Unno: We'd actually had a problem before in duels with how the Pokémon series was getting more and more for hard-core players. You have to remember the Pokémon and move types, so some were of the opinion that battles were difficult to understand. Something we discussed was how people playing for the first time learn the essentials.

Iwata: Over time, the battles get complicated, so you have to remember more.

Unno: Yeah. Then when we were thinking about the Pokéstar Studios plan, we thought that if selecting the wrong lines or moves when making a movie would result in a different ending or audience evaluation, then you would naturally learn the mechanics of Pokémon, and the ideas came together. So when you play Pokéstar Studios, before you know it, you naturally learn the enjoyment and depth of battles.

Iwata: When something fun you think of and a separate problem snap together, things change. That's just like what Miyamoto-san says about an idea being something which solves multiple issues at once.17


17. These words came up in a discussion titled "The Definition of Idea" between Shigesato Itoi of Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun and Satoru Iwata.

4. A Pokémon Center in the First City


Iwata: The games are set two years later this time. You weren't creating the setting from zero, so did you have trouble achieving the right balance between newness and the previous games?

Unno: Yes. Even though these are sequels, if all the same stuff appeared, they wouldn't feel new, so we decided to portray the games from a viewpoint different from that of the previous games, mainly with new characters, new towns, and a new story.

Iwata: You travel through the same gameworld, but from a different viewpoint.

Unno: Yes. It will be new to people playing for the first time, and those who have played the previous games can see the story again from a different viewpoint. In the previous games, the enemy group Team Plasma was fighting among themselves due to differing schools of thought, so I was extremely interested in how each person on the team viewed the Unova region. I wanted to tell a story from a different viewpoint than in the previous games.

Iwata: That's what you really wanted to show this time.

Unno: Yeah. I thought players could take another look at the story from a different viewpoint and find their own answers.

Iwata: Pokémon games always have players who are playing for the first time as well as others who have been playing ever since the series appeared, so a fine balance is necessary for the introductory explanations. But when making the games this time, this was your first time to make proper sequels, so there was no model.


Masuda: Yes, that's right. Everyone on the team wanted to at least make the games so that people playing for the first time would be able to easily understand them.

Iwata: Of course, everyone at GAME FREAK knows everything about Pokémon, so isn't it difficult to make the game while trying to guess how people playing for the first time might feel?

Masuda: Yeah. As I play the games, I think about each thing as if I'm an elementary schooler playing for the first time. And especially at the start, I gave them a strict check and made subtle alterations.

Unno: Another thing this time—something we hadn't done yet for some reason—was putting a Pokémon Center18 in the first city.

18. Pokémon Center (in-game): A facility where players can heal their injured Pokémon and keep Pokémon they aren't actively playing with in storage.

Iwata: How did having a Pokémon Center in the first city change how the games feel?

Unno: With a completely new game, you have to explain a lot of things at the start of the game, which means spending more time getting into the gameworld. But since these were sequels, putting a Pokémon Center in at the first city makes it easy for newcomers and people who have played so far to have a good time as they learn about the gameworld and do so in a short period of time, so the story moves along smoothly as well.

Iwata: Players of Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 will come in two types: those playing for the first time or for the first time in a while and those who played the previous games. Ishihara-san, what would you say to attract each type to Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2?

Ishihara: Players of Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version will wonder how different the new games are. They'll be like, "This is what the towns are like now?" and "These kinds of Pokémon show up in the grass this time?!"


Iwata: The differences are overwhelmingly bigger than they were with the color changes so far.

Ishihara: Yes. There are more new types of play and the story is completely new, so I think people will be continually interested and think, "How is this going to develop?"

Iwata: These games truly are new games showing the same world from a different viewpoint, with story, settings and characters different from the previous ones.

Ishihara: Yes. And those who haven't played Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version will be surprised when a lot of new Pokémon appear that they've never seen before. And I bet they'll be interested in how Pokémon Black Version 2 is connected to Pokémon White Version 2.

Iwata: What do you think, Masuda-san?

Masuda: You start in a new city, so I hope people who have played Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version will look forward to that. The way that a different route makes the gameworld look new is like the way that the same trip will look different when you're traveling if you take a different route.

Unno: I think there will be fresh surprises for people who played the previous games. Put another way, there are lots of elements that will make people who haven't played the previous games wonder what they were like.

Iwata: So people who have not played Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version will want to play those as well.

Unno: Yes. The enjoyment of comparing the two pairs is one extremely big element this time. We put in a lot of small changes that will make you smile when you stand in the same spot in the same town as in a previous game and take a look around, so I hope players will look for those places.

5. What Pokémon Values


Iwata: As we discussed earlier, Pokémon has become a communication medium that transcends language around the world. When you make a Pokémon game, what do you pay special attention to?

Masuda: I pay attention to how readily someone who has never played the series can play it.


Iwata: For a lot of children, the first game they get is a Pokémon game.

Masuda: Yes, so I try to put in lots of elements that are easy to understand. For battles, I pursue depth, so I create a building like a tower and have players who want to battle enjoy that, but I don't mind if others who aren't interested just pass by.

Iwata: You can try to collect cute Pokémon or all types of Pokémon, or to complete the story, or to strengthen your favorite Pokémon, or to be top of the world in battles. Not everyone has to play toward the same goals. It may be a characteristic of Pokémon games to be open to all types, have depth, and allow players lots of freedom with regard to central goals.

Masuda: I think it is.

Iwata: Something that I have always thought was amazing about Pokémon is how everyone's favorite Pokémon are so different. Usually when there are lots of characters, opinion tends to solidify around certain ones, but when I ask players about Pokémon, there are some surprising favorites.

Masuda: Yeah. We pay a lot of attention to the variety of Pokémon. For example, when we've thought, "Is this all right?" in character design, a different appeal will come out depending on the moves we give them, their settings and where they appear.

Iwata: Oh, I see. The character design doesn't complete the Pokémon, but rather the moves, settings and gameworld also generate their characteristics, so they each have their own distinctive appeal, giving rise to popularity for each one.

Masuda: Yes, I believe so. In Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Green Version19, Pikachu hardly ever appeared in Viridian Forest. I'm not so sure Pikachu would have been as popular if they had shown up more frequently.

19. Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version (which was called Pokémon Green Version in Japan) were released for the Game Boy system in February 1996. They were the first games in the Pokémon series.

Iwata: If Pikachu was an easy Pokémon to get, people wouldn't have so much affection for it.

Masuda: Right. At one point, Tauros was super popular at tournaments like the Pokémon World Championships because of its strength. I thought popularity because of strength was amazing.

Iwata: People do admire and respect strong things. But GAME FREAK has a staggering array of ways to make the Pokémon it comes up with distinctive, and as a result of many people making the game together, Pokémon have the strength to endure.

Masuda: Ideas are necessary for thinking up new Pokémon, so rather than doing it alone, it's better to do it in large numbers. Surprisingly, the young staff members come up with the wildest ideas. (laughs)

Iwata: They bring a breath of fresh air.

Masuda: Yeah. Otherwise, Pokémon that are flat like a flounder, the way Stunfisk is, wouldn't come up! (laughs)

Iwata: Unno-san, what do you think about what the Pokémon games value in appearance?

Unno: Let's see… Having worked on the games all this time, I think—as Masuda-san mentioned—what's important is variety, but also simple approachability. Examples would be becoming interested because it's cute, or simplicity like rock-paper-scissors in battle, or preserving the classic storyline of a normal youth growing while off on a journey. I think something the Pokémon games value is how a lot of meaning is packed in even though they look simple at first glance.


Iwata: When simple games stick around for a long time, they are actually deep.

Unno: Yeah. Masuda-san always says that rock-paper-scissors is a deep game.

Masuda: Yeah. (laughs) I always analyze it, like, it isn't really a good match if you don't start by counting off at the beginning.

Iwata: A number of elements are necessary to pull it off right.

Unno: Right. For example, we talked about how it would be to play it blindfolded. When it comes to Pokémon design, the way they look as living creatures is significant, like why one has red cheeks or why one's tail is a certain shape.

Iwata: A characteristic of Pokémon is that when you make character-related products you always ask what makes it this particular Pokémon.

Unno: Yes. They look simple, but have meaning. Players naturally accept that and share it unconsciously. When I first became involved with Pokémon, Masuda-san got angry at me for how I placed the flowers in town. I had them placed in a flashy, pretty way, and Masuda-san said, "Unno-san, if you put flowers in the town here, does that mean you would walk on them?"

Masuda: (laughs)

Unno: Then I noticed that instead of just casually placing flowers in front of the houses, you have to pay attention to the fact that people live there, why flowers are there, and whether they're small flowers or big flowers. I think it is important to present what we see and feel in our daily lives without having it stand out.

6. Three Sacred Treasures


Iwata: Ishihara-san, what do you think Pokémon values?

Ishihara: I wonder… Like the other two just said, I think how interesting the games are—like gameworld details and gameplay logic—are incredibly important. Stunfisk, which came up earlier, became a hit product at Pokémon Centers.20 (laughs)

20. Pokémon Center (real-world): A store specializing in sales of Pokémon goods. Pokémon Centers are operated by The Pokémon Company, and there are currently seven such stores in Japan.

Iwata: I have to say that normally Stunfisk would be a hard sell on its own. (laughs)

Ishihara: Yes. (laughs) But by making something that draws upon its flatness, like Stunfisk rice crackers, we were like, "This'll work!" You could say that's what's fun about product development. When we made metal charms, we thought that a set of the three Pokémon that the player first chooses from would sell the most, but actually the set with Litwick, Lampent, and Chandelure was the top seller by far.

Iwata: At the time, you said that production couldn't keep up.

Ishihara: Yeah. I was like, "Huh? Why?!" But store personnel said "Of course it would sell! Litwick is cute and Chandelure is strong!" and I was like, "Oh, is that so?" (laughs) One charm of Pokémon is how people come to like certain Pokémon for all kinds of reasons, like because they're strong or cute. In product development as well, it is important to discover something new and keep on inventing.


Iwata: Lots of people like Pokémon, but there are few occasions for thinking about why they do, so what you all have to say is interesting.

Ishihara: And one more thing is a new feature called Pokémon Dream Radar21 or people playing on the Nintendo 3DS system. We made download content specific to the Nintendo 3DS system.

21. Pokémon Dream Radar: Downloadable software for the Nintendo 3DS system scheduled for release via the Nintendo eShop starting October 7, 2012 (Sun). Iwata: What is Pokémon Dream Radar like?

Unno: It's a kind of game in which you use the Nintendo 3DS system's augmented reality22 technology to catch Pokémon that appear to be flying around in the real world. The project began with the question of what Pokémon would look like if they really existed. This may be a simplistic impression, but while the Pokémon are heading from the Nintendo DS system to the world of the Pokémon Global Link, you imagine strange things like, "Maybe they're passing through this world!" (laughs)

Everyone: (laughs)

22. Augmented reality (AR): Technology for combining virtual data with images of the real world.

Unno: And at the exact same time, one of the graphic designers came up with Forme changes for Legendary Pokémon—like Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus—that appear in Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version. The designs were great, so I thought, "I wanna get those Pokémon up and flying and catch them!"


Ishihara: Pokémon Dream Radar is downloadable software just for the Nintendo 3DS system. Not only do you get to catch Pokémon in Formes you haven't seen before, but you can then take them into Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2. Some pretty surprising other Pokémon show up that make you think, "Huh?! There are Pokémon like this?!"

Iwata: Creatures23 had been looking into AR technology, and it was implemented in Pokédex 3D24, so that connected smoothly.

23. Creatures Inc.: In addition to being involved in making Pokémon-related video games and the Pokémon Trading Card Game, this company has also developed such games as Nonono Puzzle Chailien (Game Boy Advance) and Personal Trainer: Walking (Nintendo DS). Founded in 1995. 24. Pokédex 3D: Downloadable software released via the Nintendo eShop in June 2011 for the Nintendo 3DS system. It allows players to view Pokémon that appeared for the first time in Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version from various angles. Pokédex 3D is no longer available for download, but the new Pokédex 3D Pro will be available for purchase from the Nintendo eShop beginning November 8.

Ishihara: That's right. Players on Nintendo 3DS systems can not only enjoy Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2, but also download Pokémon Dream Radar, and just about one month later download Pokédex 3D Pro. 25 If they play them like the Three Sacred Treasures26, Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 will be more fun.

25. Pokédex 3D Pro: An upgraded version of Pokédex 3D available for download via the Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo 3DS system starting November 8. Players will be able to view information on all of the Pokémon that have appeared so far, including Pokémon newly added to Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2's Unova Pokédex.

26. Three Sacred Treasures: These items are the imperial regalia of Japan, consisting of a sword, mirror, and jewel that are traditionally presented to the emperor of Japan when he takes the throne.

Iwata: Indeed, they are like the Three Sacred Treasures! (laughs)

Unno: Yeah. You can actually bring rare Pokémon you caught with Pokémon Dream Radar into Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2, and with Pokédex 3D Pro, you can easily check info on the Pokémon you encounter as you play the two games.

Iwata: Come to think of it, it's our first time to try to bring out a new core game just before a movie27 comes out.

Unno: Yeah. I'm really nervous! (laughs)

27. Movie: In Japan, the games were released alongside the premiere of Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice, which will air in the United States on Cartoon Network on December 8.

Iwata: You have them bring Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 to the theater.

Ishihara: Yeah. This time, you begin playing the game in June and then take it to the theater. Of course, we've prepared it so that people who bring Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version as well as those who bring Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 receive the Pokémon at the theater.

Iwata: These days, working in conjunction with movie theaters is nothing special, but since it was unprecedented, gaining the theaters' approval at first for receiving a Pokémon at the theater was quite difficult.

Ishihara: Yes, it really was. We visited movie theaters one by one to explain. (laughs)

Iwata: But thanks to you going around to all the theaters, they cooperated. When those involved who were not sure about the idea at the start saw how many people were enjoying it, they changed and said, "Won't you do it next year, too?"

Ishihara: We began by asking, "How many movie theaters are there in Japan?" (laughs)

Masuda: The end credits for the movie list the names of all the movie theaters, but those who aren't in the know might wonder why the names of movie theaters appear in a movie.


Ishihara: All the theaters that cooperated are listed.

Iwata: It is unusual for end credits to feature the names of lots of movie theaters. But that, too, is part of the Pokémon movie experience.

Ishihara: That's right.

Iwata: A lot happened on the way toward making that happen, so we could talk just about cooperating with the movies for over an hour! (laughs) Let's continue to tackle new things with Pokémon. Thank you for today.


Everyone: Thank you!
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Last updated 20 Jul 2015 04:51 by Sunain.
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