For anyone who ever doodled up their own Pokémon on their school papers, getting a chance to create real monsters for new games in the series might seem like a dream job. Pokémon X & Y graphic designer lead Hironobu Yoshida doesn’t dispute this, but he doesn’t say it’s an easy task, either.
In an interview with Gamasutra, Yoshida went into the process of coming up with new Pokémon. A team of 20 at developer Game Freak is dedicated to the endeavour, making organization an important necessity:
Since there are 20 of us and we're working all on our own ideas, we want to make sure we're not overlapping ideas. At Game Freak, we have an internal server where we can upload our designs and share them with everyone else on the team. This allows us to see what everyone else is working on and get ideas from each other.
Ultimately, a committee of five people decides which Pokémon designs make the cut. From how Yoshida describes things, it sounds like a designer must be comfortable with letting go of the majority of their ideas by the end of the process:
It's very difficult work every time. There are probably five to 10 times the number of ideas that are rejected as the ones that make it into the final design, so it's a very difficult process.
Yoshida also added that there is a certain affection for and attention paid to the starters in each game, whom many players learn the basics from and end up taking with them through the end of the story:
I think they're absolutely necessary to the Pokemon games. Personally, I think they're the ones that should be on the packaging. They're really the face of that generation, and I think even as designers, they feel a bit more special to us than some of the other Pokemon.
The full interview over at Gamasutra is an interesting read and goes further into some of the intricacies involved in the Pokémon design process.
What are your favourite examples of Pokémon design, and which do you think could have been done better? Let us know below.