Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon aren't far away on 3DS, and the more we learn about the new titles the clearer it gets that they're offering more than minor expansions. The Pokémon Company and Game Freak have emphasised that there'll be an expansive storyline, and in a new twist to previous expansions these games will also introduce entirely new Pokémon.
Recently we got a chance to ask Game Freak's Kazumasa Iwao and Shigeru Ohmori (both serving as Directors on the title) some pertinent questions about what these games will have to offer, and why Pokémon Sun and Moon fans shouldn't look past the new releases.
Check it out below.
For those of you that prefer text to video, the transcript is below - enjoy!
What made you decide to introduce new Pokémon in the middle of a generation, for the first time ever?
Iwao-san: So one of the big things of Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon is exploring the Ultra Wormholes that appear. By going through there you'll ultimately discover some new Ultra Beasts that you haven't seen before, and gradually solve the mystery that is the Ultra Wormholes. Naturally as part of that we decided to add in the new Pokémon.
Why have you returned to the concept of an "enhanced version" rather than a straight sequel?
Ohmori-san: I worked as the director on Pokémon Sun & Moon, and as such worked on creating the new Alola region, and I really thought "can't we expand this world even further?". So I went to Mr Iwao and said I'd like to be the director of Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon, so we could explore the Alola region even further. In terms of the games themselves, Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon are probably closest to Pokémon Emerald in its relationship to Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire in terms of the core concept, but to give a new experience in surprising some of our players we decided to make the two new different versions as if we're making a new game, and that way people can still enjoy battling and trading in the same way that they do with a new entry in the series.
What key elements do you feel differentiate Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon from Sun and Moon?
Iwao-san: If we go too far into this it could get quite long, but the first real big point that you'll see is that the story is quite different. This time around it focuses on the character you'll see on the boxes, Necrozma, and the two different forms of it; as that appears the story develops from there. You'll also see returning characters in Hau and Lillie from the original Sun & Moon, and this time around we get to see a new side of them, so that's quite different from Sun & Moon. There are also some gameplay additions, you can see the Mantine Surf feature has been added, so players can enjoy riding on top of Mantine, and there's also the Alola Photo Club, where you can take pictures of the Pokémon that you're adventuring with, turn those pictures into decorations, and share those with other players through the Festival Plaza, so there's quite a lot of big differences.
What element of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon do you think will surprise fans the most?
Iwao: There are lots of features and one in particular that I'd love to be able to talk about, but unfortunately I can't right now. Something that's really great is that after you finish the story, there's a big post-story scenario that the players can really get into and enjoy, and another feature that's hopefully something that'll be really good for players to discover is that you can go and visit other worlds through the Ultra Wormholes. There's Pokémon you can encounter and amongst them is actually Mewtwo, a strong Pokémon that players will be very familiar with who's appeared in the past, and they can encounter and catch that, so hopefully players will really enjoy those aspects.
What would you say to those Sun and Moon players who have perhaps dismissed Ultra Sun and Moon already?
Iwao: This time around in Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon you're able to explore the Ultra Wormholes from which the Ultra Beasts appear, so by playing these games you'll finally be able to solve the mystery of the Ultra Wormholes. In addition to this is the Pokémon Necrozma; in the first games it was a bit of a mystery as to what Necrozma was, so by playing Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon you'll be able to find out exactly what's happening there, so we really hope players will play Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon and solve these mysteries for themselves.
We'd like to thank Kazumasa Iwao and Shigeru Ohmori for their time.
Joe Merrick contributed to this feature.