Recreating Gold and Silver: How Pokemon developers remade a classic
|The following is a transcription of an interview conducted by GamePro Magazine. It was originally posted on the GamePro website.|
Recreating Gold and Silver: How Pokemon developers remade a classicBy Dave Rudden * March 19, 2010 18:15 PM PST
The creators of Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver explain the lessons they've learned on the DS, and how they tackled re-crafting the world of Pokemon Gold and Silver that fans held so dear.
Nintendo's return to the world of Pokemon Gold and Silver has been a successful one, as HeartGold and SoulSilver, released earlier this week, garnering an Editors Choice Award from GamePro and an impressive 87 aggregate score on Metacritic.
Managing to satisfy new gamers and series fans alike wasn't an easy task for Game Freak, but its developers seemed to have pulled it off. We chatted with Game Director Shigeki Morimoto, Designer Takao Unno, Planner Kenji Matsushima, Programming Lead Akito Mori, and Game Designer Shigeru Ohmori about the heart and soul of the latest Pokemon games. Recreating Gold and Silver: How Pokemon developers remade a classic
GamePro: What was it that enticed you to return to the setting and story of Pokemon Gold and Silver?
Morimoto: The look, feel, and approachability of a game are always on our minds when we create new Pokemon titles. It's been 10 years since the release of Gold and Silver and we felt it was time to bring the gameplay of those titles to those who haven't played them before.
GamePro: What lessons did you learn while creating the first DS Pokemon RPGs-- Pearl and Diamond--that you applied towards HeartGold and SoulSilver?
Unno: When we introduced 3D designs in Diamond and Pearl, our goal was to take advantage of this new mode of expression and the possibilities it opened up. Initially, we were worried about it because it was new, but looking back now, there was nothing for us to be scared about. The challenges we overcame when we worked on Diamond and Pearl were all worth it because they gave us new gameplay features and increased visual depth for the future.
Matsushima:We were initially challenged by the dual-screen capabilities but at the same time realized the potential applications. For Pokemon Diamond and Pearl we limited the use of touch screen. For HeartGold and SoulSilver, we utilized it as much as we could.
Mori: The two screens--one with touch functionality were a major evolution from the Game Boy Advance. I think the Diamond and Pearl games made us re-think what elements make up the core of Pokemon games.
GamePro: How does the development of remakes like FireRed/LeafGreen and HeartGold/SoulSilver differ from the creation of all-new games like Pearl and Diamond?
Morimoto: For the new games, more work is done creating new Pokemon and rules. The remakes already have rules that make it difficult to take to the next level without breaking the image of the original.
Unno: For the remakes, the base of the game already exists. The first job is to reconstruct the game in the new hardware. Because of the technological advancements, the breadth of expression extends and makes it possible to create a more detailed world. However, we do need to be careful when designing the game-we need to make sure that we aren't tearing down the world that Gold and Silver players experienced when they first saw it.
Ohmori: I always work on projects with an eye to create something new. If I need to point out a difference, then it would be how to maintain the good memories about Gold and Silver while adding new gameplay. For those who have played the original Gold and Silver; it's nostalgic, and for those who never played; it's a new game.
GamePro: What influenced the creation of the Pokewalker and its integration into HeartGold and SoulSilver? Did you borrow elements from the Pokemon Pikachu virtual pet toy? How does it differ from that item?
Ohmori: Pokemon Pikachu went on sale at the same time as Gold and Silver, so many gamers have good memories of both. That influenced us to include it in the game. The Pokewalker's ability to allow the player to travel with any Pokemon is a key part of the product--I really enjoy seeing what Pokemon other players travel with.
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