Nintendo Power Interview
July 2000, Volume 134
I saw something a bit unexpected about the history of Mew on
, citing this interview as a source. I did a bit of digging (thanks to
; the relevant pages are
), and it turns out that yes, whoever was quoting the article had mis-attributed the quote and botched everything up. It's okay though; the article used color-coded initials, which is unnecessarily confusing. I'm transcribing the article below for everyone's future reference, and I will use the full names (rather than initials), for your reading convenience! The article also typos "Junichi" as "Juinich"; I will correct that below.
Pokécenter: All Pokémon, All the Time!
Nintendo Power was at the E3 Conference in May, and we had a chance to talk with the team that created Pokémon Gold and Silver. While they wouldn't tell us all of their secrets, they did give us some inside information about developing the precious paks.
Nintendo Power Chats with Pokémon Bigwigs Creatures:
Tsunekazu Ishihara: General Producer
Junichi Masuda: Sub Director, Planning and Music
Ken Sugimori: Character Design and Graphics
Shigeki Morimoto: Programming
Tsuyoshi Ichinose: Sound
Takenori Ota: Programming
The first Pokémon games came in three colors: Red, Blue and Yellow. Is there any reason you chose Gold and Silver for the new Pokémon games?
We wanted it to be very different from the previous Pokémon games. Gold and Silver aren't just colors, they're also real, material things. Precious things.
How many people worked on Gold and Silver, and how long did it take?
Approximately 20 people, I think. We started three years ago, right after Red and Green [Blue in the U.S.] were finished. We developed the Japanese Blue version and the Yellow version after the original game, too, but we were developing Gold and Silver at the same time.
That note about the Green version being equivalent to the US Blue version must have been added by Nintendo Power to avoid confusing kids who'd want to play a mysterious Green version that was not released outside of Japan. However, it makes the chronology here a bit misleading! The international versions of Pokémon Red and Blue were actually made using the enhanced code from the Japanese Blue version. This must mean that development started on Gold and Silver before even the US release of Red and Blue!
Could you tell us what's new in Gold and Silver?
It's the same Pokémon World as before, but there is a different story. You'll see many new Pokémon. I can't reveal anything more at this time.
What was the hardest part of developing Gold and Silver?
We designed Gold and Silver to be compatible with Red, Blue and Yellow, and making sure all the elements in all the versions worked together was a challenge. The debugging process was also tough.
Making the game easier to understand for everyone was the most difficult part for me. We looked at everything, even how to catch Pokémon. We thought Gold and Silver would be many people's introduction to playing Pokémon, and we wanted to be prepared for that.
Keeping the game fresh was a difficult thing for me. Lots of people have played Pokémon, and Gold and Silver needed to stay fresh and interesting for them, too.
Keeping true to the feeling of the original Pokémon games while creating a brand-new game was my challenge. Everyone has a unique idea of what Pokémon is, and I didn't want to betray that.
This is the first Pokémon game I have worked on, and it was a challenge for me to learn about and stay true to the atmosphere of the original Pokémon games.
I was in charge of programming. I tried to make a programming system that was easier to use. I was able to make some changes, but not all, because we were under a very tight schedule.
Are there any new Pokémon like Mew in Gold and Silver?
(Laughing) Maybe, maybe not.
How do you create new Pokémon?
There are several ways we come up with Pokémon. Some are inspired by a shape, figure or creature that already exists. For others, we tried to consider what kind of Pokémon would be interesting in game play. For example, in Gold and Silver, we'll introduce new Pokémon types. Psychic Pokémon seemed to dominate in the previous Pokémon game, so we needed to come up with new Pokémon and types to make Gold and Silver more balanced. We came up with several hundred new Pokémon, but most of them got cut during development.
What is your favorite Pokémon?
Exeggutor, because I have been using it for a long, long time.
Psyduck. He looks funny.
Hoothoot. It has only one leg. When I was a kid, I had a pet bird. One day, I was surprised to see my bird standing on only one leg. I've learned since that that was normal for that kind of bird, but it had already made a big impression on me and I couldn't forget it. That inspired me to create Hoothoot.
Charmander. Fire-types are cool! I also like Cyndaquil, the new Fire-type Pokémon.
Mew. I created Mew two weeks before we were finished developing the original Pokémon game. I owe a lot to Mew.
We know that
Pokémon Puzzle League and Hey You, Pikachu! will soon hit the US Market, as will Gold and Silver. What is the plan for Pokémon beyond that? Tsunekazu Ishihara:
We are working on a new Pokémon game that will come out after Gold and Silver. We can't say which platform it's for at this time. I was thinking about the different language versions of Pokémon and how you can't trade between them. If we can make them compatible with each other, they would be far more interesting. Pokémon users around the world would be able to communicate through the Pokémon game. A world without language barriers is possible in the Star Trek world (laughing), and if we could do the same thing in the Pokémon world, that would be great!