The DS console's time is nearly over, but it's certainly going out on a high, with Pokémon Black & White sure to sweep all before it in the sales stakes this year. GameFreak director Junichi Masuda spoke to Eurogamer about the title's Western appearance and where the series might go from here.
Masuda revealed that the localisation process was vastly different for this title: whereas previous entries in the series were translated from Japanese to English, and then from English to other European languages, this time the game was translated directly from Japanese to French, German and so on. This naturally streamlined the process, but there was still a six month gap between the title's Japanese release and its appearance on Western shores, which is also down to one tricky but crucial issue: Pokémon names.
Acknowledging that it would be easy to translate names directly from Japanese, Masuda explained that the company's focus is to "create the best video game experience" for everyone:
We can all adapt Japanese names to Europe, but then sometimes it wouldn't mean anything to the European kids and players. So we always take all the processes seriously when we localise.
Masuda was less forthcoming about the series' future on 3DS however, only stating that the team had come up with some ideas but that nothing is fixed.
Gamers in Europe get to take the new Pokémon for a spin on 4th March, with North American players picking the title up on 6th March.