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Image: Nintendo Life

Over the past few weeks, veteran game developer Masahiro Sakurai has been posting videos to his YouTube channel 'Masahiro Sakurai on Creating Games', detailing various aspects of game development and how aspiring creators can apply it to their own work (don't worry though, we won't be covering all of them here!).

In his latest piece, Sakurai goes into how to effectively create in-game assets, using light to add depth to objects to really bring them to life. Interestingly, the key object that Sakurai focuses on for this demonstration is a tree, and he clearly showcases how varying colour hues, light sources, and atmospheric elements can elevate a tree from being a basic cut-and-paste object into something far more tangible and real. He ends this explanation by stating the following:

"To sum it all up: if someone says to make a tree, don't just make a tree and be done with it. Art duties might be divided across several team members, but one way or another, avoid just drawing the asset and calling it finished. The final product, more than anything, should express the light your asset reflects in the environment."

While almost certainly coincidental, don't you think it sounds like he might be subtly referencing Game Freak's work with Pokémon Sword and Shield? If you cast your minds back, you might remember that many Pokémon fans had a lot to say about Sword and Shield's in-game trees, with many stating that the tree assets are comparable to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a game that, at the time of Sword and Shield's release, was already 21 years old.

Pokémon Sword and Shield
Image: Nintendo

Indeed, in our own review of Sword and Shield, we stated that "the Wild Area, for all its mechanical prowess and deliciousness, can look pretty plain and basic for a Switch game, and there are even moments of noticeable frame rate drops around here as well". Elsewhere, we similarly lamented the visuals in the 2022 entry Pokémon Legends: Arceus, highlighting that, yes, the trees in particular look pretty janky once again.

Look, we're not saying that Sakurai is actually throwing shade at Game Freak with his latest video - he's far too professional for that - but it certainly sounds like it, right? Check out the video below and see for yourselves:

Further Reading:

What do you think of Sakurai's latest video? Is the use of a tree to illustrate his thesis entirely coincidental, or is it subtle nod to Pokémon Sword and Shield? Let us know!

[source youtube.com]