Horde Encounterscreenshot3

With Pokémon X & Y now just days away, or hours if you ordered from a cheeky online retailer, Nintendo's lining up its final marketing push for the title's global release alongside the 2DS handheld. One part of this is a new Iwata Asks, which is a follow up to the dedicated Nintendo Direct video that was broadcast recently. As such, it's a discussion between Satoru Iwata, Game Freak director Junichi Masuda and The Pokémon Company President and CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara.

Much of what's discussed treads over familiar ground, such as the choice of the X & Y naming convention as a bid to accommodate a global launch and, therefore, have letters and shapes commonly recognised across different cultures, as well as the challenge of modelling and producing 'mon in a 3D graphics engine. There are some interesting parts, however, such as this segment that covers Sky and Horde battles — Sky Battles are restricted to Flying types and only some others, while horde battles involve taking on multiple wild Pokémon at once.

Iwata: Along with the addition of the new Fairy type this time, there are new battles called Sky Battles and Horde Encounters, so the gameplay would change a lot, too.

Masuda: That's right. As for Horde Encounters, we tried to create a sense of life.

Iwata: You mean of how the Pokémon live?

Masuda: Yes. We thought it would be interesting to get a glimpse of how the Pokémon live.

Iwata: As in nature, animals often group up.

Masuda: Right. In Horde Encounters, five Pokémon may suddenly show up, but if you observe closely, they each have different characteristics, so you may think, "I'm going to capture that female." In this way, you can enjoy battles of a different nature than before.

Iwata: You can also enjoy the tactics, right?

Masuda: Yes.

Ishihara: For the Sky Battles, in addition to Flying-type Pokémon, only Floating-type Pokémon can participate. Because of Sky Battles, you have to adapt team lineups that you thought were impregnable, which was fun when I tried it.

Iwata: You think about your Pokémon team composition, and even if you think it will be all right, there's this new situation of aerial battles, causing you to rethink your composition.

Ishihara: Yes. For example, some people who like the Ghost type may assume that you can't use them in Sky Battles and give up. But if you try one, you might be able to use it.

Iwata: Oh, because they can levitate.

Ishihara: Right. Something to look forward to this time is making new discoveries about which Pokémon you can use in Sky Battles.

As is the norm for an Iwata Asks article, there's a fair amount of jollity on hand, so as we've done in the past we'll share one of our favourite (laughs) sequences.

Iwata: We are releasing both games simultaneously around the world for the first time in the series, something we have wanted to do for a long time. How does that make you feel Ishihara-san?

Ishihara: That has been a goal for years, so it's inexpressible. But simply put, when development began, I thought it might be impossible! (laughs)

Iwata: Even though it was your idea, you thought it would never work. (laughs)

Masuda: I questioned it at first, too.

Iwata: You too?! (laughs)

Masuda: Yeah! (laughs)

Iwata: Actually, I thought that, too. (laughs)

Everyone: (laughs)

Just think everyone, you'll soon be playing Pokémon X & Y, and you won't get at all addicted! (laughs)

[source iwataasks.nintendo.com]