By GR staff

Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda explains why the ‘Pokemon’ franchise formula has remained largely the same, but is it time for the series to make some serious changes?


Evolving Pokémon Games

Evolving Pokémon Games

The Pokemon The franchise has been around for over 14 years and yet each new release still manages to be a smash hit for Nintendo. The next Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2 have already sold gangbusters in Japan (moving over 1.6 million units the first two days it was on store shelves), and its popularity doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Yet even after all these years, many fans believe the show may be getting stale and it’s time for a change.

Gamasutra recently interviewed Game Freak director Junichi Masuda and they asked the famous Pokemon director how his team go about trying to keep the show fresh even after all these years. Rather, Masuda defended the all too familiar nature of each iteration of the Pocket Monster franchise, comparing the series to sports such as basketball and soccer as examples of games that have changed very little over time.

“Finding that balance every time is very difficult. But when you think of games, just like playing, say, football and basketball, these are games that have been around for a very long time. The basic gameplay of those here – the core of how you play basketball and football – hasn’t really changed. Over the years there have been regulatory changes or rule changes for these games, but the Core gameplay doesn’t really change for these, and that’s what we think of Pokemon as though. ”

Junichi’s comparison of Pokemon to real-world sports is strange, but readers will understand where the game director came from. Specifically, Pokemon is comparable to annual video game franchises like FIFA and Call of Duty, where little change occurs in order to provide the primary audience with a very familiar, but somewhat different, gaming experience, while still being within the time constraints imposed by publishers.

There is certainly no debate that the series does not have, ironically enough, evolved a lot over the years, but there have been some notable changes to the base game mechanics since the original Pokémon Red and Blue games launched in 1998. Game Freak added online trading and fighting, new creatures, and improved combat mechanics to their franchise, and it turned out well too – that’s evident after reading our review of the last year Pokémon Black and White Games.

At this point, consumers know exactly what they are getting when they buy a new Pokemon game, and many like it that way. But as long as fans continue to shell out cash for the final installment, Game Freak and Nintendo will stick with the proven formula that made the property so successful in the beginning. In an industry where many say originality is scarce, it’s safe to say that longtime fans with a ‘I have to catch them all’ mentality don’t really feel the need to fix something that isn’t. broken, and the gameplay formula that millions of people have continued to support for over a decade is far from on the brink of obscurity.

That being said, there are still a few things that can be fine-tuned, and the switch to Nintendo 3DS should act as a good catalyst for many new improvements and additions to the game. Pokemon series. Now hopefully we can see how much has changed between the original Ruby Pokémon and Sapphire and their (hopefully) next 3DS remakes in the near future.

Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2, the latest kernel additions Pokemon series, will be available on October 7, exclusively for the Nintendo DS.

Follow me on Twitter @The RileyPetit.

Source: Gamasutra


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