Even long before Pokémon GO, rival games companies looked on enviously at the Pokémon franchise and wanted to get a slice of the action for themselves. Who can forget Invizimals on the Sony PSP? OK, bad example!
Australian indie developer Nic Watt, from Nnooo which has published multiple Nintendo eShop titles, recently revealed on the GameHugs podcast that his former employer - EA - was actually working on its own Pokémon killer during the DS era, but it ultimately came to nothing. Here's what he had to say:
Working with EA was a completely different experience [to working with a small studio] as we had the longest prototyping period I've had for any game I've worked on: it was amazing. EA wanted this game where the idea [was] it was going to be their Pokémon game. They didn't have an RPG in the handheld space and they really wanted one. We did a lot of paper-based prototyping for the battle mechanics and even made a whole card game. Then we got the people from Criterion - who worked on Burnout and with the studio - in [to test it]. That's the good thing when you have a company of 300 people, you can just ask "do you guys want to come in and play our game for the afternoon." The team did find it hard because the prototyping was so long, and a lot of things got reset from time to time. But by the time I left, it still had not hit full production and I know that was really tough for a lot of people.
It's interesting to think what a Pokémon competitor from EA might have looked like. When we think of EA these days, we tend to associate it with shooters and sports games, but it does have form for making more family friendly games in the shape of The Sims, among others. With the talented folks at Criterion road-testing the game, who knows how it might have turned out if it went into full production.
As always, let us know your thoughts on these Pokémon-beating revelations with a comment below.
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