How Pokémon Black/White 2 Were Developed “For The Fans”

By Ishaan . September 27, 2012 . 4:00pm

Pokémon has always had an interesting duality about it. On the one hand, the main Pokémon series of role-playing games has always emphasized customization by encouraging players to form their own unique Pokémon teams and try out different movesets. On the other, the games also make it possible for less invested players to make their way to the end through persistent grinding and sheer brute strength, which is a large part of why they’re so accessible.


Pokémon Black/White 2, the upcoming sequels to Pokémon Black/White, take a slightly different approach. The games call for the player to be a little more tactical and are also more accommodating of players looking to level their way up into the 80s and beyond, once they’ve completed the main story. Additionally, they also give you a bit of an easier time influencing your hidden stats.


For years, an incredibly hardcore community of Pokémon players has invested in exploring the under-the-surface workings of the different games, which centre around hidden stat values known as EVs and IVs. EVs and IVs are invisible stats that influence the visible ones, such as Speed, Special Attack, and so on. Training the best Pokémon you possibly can means making sure it comes with—or obtains—the highest EV and IV stats you can find.


In the past, EV training wasn’t really accommodated or mentioned within the games themselves. In Pokémon Black/White 2, however, this is no longer the case. The upcoming games allow invested Pokémon players more convenient ways to grind to higher levels as well as influence their EV and IV stats. In fact, the move to a more streamlined game has been in effect since the original Black/White, which not only made single-player battles faster, but also made them a bit more of a challenge.


We asked Seth McMahill, Assistant Manager of Product Marketing at Nintendo, who has worked exclusively on Pokémon localization and marketing throughout his career at the company, why the change to accommodate older and more invested fans is being made now.


“That’s a great question,” McMahill replied. “I mean, there’s even areas [in Black/White 2] in Join Avenue that specifically will lower and raise EV values. I actually found that out online, but if you look at Black/White 2, there’s a lot that really relates directly to that. Like the unlimited dungeon, where you can go and continue to level up, fighting Pokémon that are at an equal level to yours, and continue to get experience points.”


McMahill admitted: “Pokémon fans, in the past, always had to deal with what we call ‘grinding the grass,’ where after you get around to beating the Elite 4, it’s like, ‘What we do now? Keep going through that, or go fight in the grass where characters are 20 levels below?’”


He continued: “But this time around, this is a sequel. And all the core fans knew about [EVs and IVs] already. They’ve been talking about it constantly, and it was a big part of Pokémon. And although it was in the undercurrent before as you mentioned, this time we decided, let’s bring it out into the open. Let’s open up the complexity of Pokémon for people who want it.”


McMahill feels that this extends beyond just stats and training, and into the kinds of Pokémon that are included in Pokémon Black/White 2 as well.


“If you look also at all the Pokémon that are included, like non-Unova Pokémon—Mareep’s in there, one of my favourites from Gold/Silver—they really kind of made this one the Pokémon player’s game,” McMahill pointed out. “It’s really aimed at a player of the core series. A fan. Look at Join Avenue, an area where shops open up the more you communicate with other players. There’s the World Tournament, where you can fight old Gym Leaders. Misty’s in there. That takes me back to the Blue version, before I even worked at Nintendo.”


“So, although this game appeals to anybody—obviously, I have to say that, as I work at Nintendo—as a Pokémon fan myself, when I first picked it up and started playing it, I was absolutely blown away. I was like, ‘This game is made for the fans.’ Anybody can play it, but a fan is going to love it, because they’ve opened up all those things.”

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  • $30632660

    I’ve always seen EV Training as a boring exploitation method.It’s usually slow to accomplish with all the Pokemon you like, but once it’s down you’re looking at overpowered pokemon under your belt.

    I’m glad the developers made it easier for players who don’t like wasting time grinding the Elite Four, which I always did to level up, or fight even weaker opponents to make their pokemon stronger.

    • EdgeKun

      I’d hardly call it exploitation myself. If somebody wants to put in the extreme amounts of time to get a proper EV training set up going as well as EV training a given pokemon, i’d say they’ve certainly earned any edge it may give them in the battle. 

      If anything, I love that EV Training allows you to show who has put more time and care into training and refining their Pokemon. (A big recurring theme of the series and anime, from what I recall of my youth anyway) It’s a way for dedicated trainers (so to speak) to show devotion and stand out from the rest of the herd.

      • Revorse

        Can’t you just use the Vitamins? saves some time.

        • DuskSharkEX

           You realize those are pricey, right?

          • Revorse

            Action replay. As long as it’s just cash. Or you could go through the whole annoying process of EV.

          • DuskSharkEX

             Luckily, it gets somewhat better with Pokerus and Power items. I can provide the former if you need it.

          • Kefkiroth

            Using AR codes is pointless if you’re only doing it for money. Might as well just hack the EVs in too while you’re at it.

          • Kefkiroth

            I remember a certain rich person in Diamond/Pearl who gave you a lot of money after beating him. It’s pretty easy to farm money using the Vs. Seeker on him. Plus, I always had a lot of money left over from the countless hours I’ve played, so it’s pretty easy to get Vitamins.

          • Ty Arnold

            Or you can get them dirt cheap (for 1 BP) at the Battle Subway.

            And money isn’t exactly hard to come by anyway.

          • DuskSharkEX

            Good point.

    • Asura

       EV training takes 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes tops (depending on what EVs you need) if you know what you’re doing.

      And all it does is redistribute 127 stat points how you prefer instead of having them be randomly assigned based of what you randomly fought.

  • SirRichard

    I hadn’t heard about that dungeon where the Pokémon equal your level before now, that’s one hell of a lovely addition to the game. Hopefully the Pokémon in there are as accommodating as can be of as many types.

    I’ve been messing around with White and Platinum, laying the foundations for a proper competitive team for use in White 2 while also experimenting with ‘mons I mostly ignored in the past. The variety of wild Pokémon already sold me, but the whole game being welcome to that really helps.

    • Something I loved about Black/White is the crazy type combinations they added. Water/Rock? Psychic/Fire? Those are crazy powerful.

      • SirRichard

        They really seem to like experimenting and loosening up the game in general in the fifth generation titles, B&W introduced a lot of cool and very strong Pokémon through unique typings, useful abilities and just raw stats on some of them. Nearly every other new Pokémon has something that gives it an edge, it’s wonderful.

        B&W2 seems to be their attempt at revamping the post-game and streamlining the more competitive and hardcore aspects while just adding all sorts of neat little touches (letting you use a new repel without digging through menus when one runs out, for instance) that just speed up the game and make it more…well, just plain fun, really.

        • Yeah, I was very surprised when I would occasionally find half my party being annihilated by some random wild Pokémon. I’m probably not going to play Black and White 2, but mostly because I recently went back to SoulSilver (it was this inexplicable itch that I needed to scratch!) and I’m also just really, really excited for the eventual 3DS game.

      • OverlordZetta

        Water/Rock’s been a combination since the first generation.

        • Oh yeah, I forgot that Omastar and Kabutops were half Water-type. Tirtouga is who I was referring to in B/W. Like O and K, he’s a fossil Pokémon, but for some reason, he just stands out so much more. 

      • Asura

         Crazy powerful? By what standard? Having like 1 weakness and tons of resistances or getting STAB off stuff that hits everything makes you powerful. Neither of those two combinations fit that quota.

      • komiko12

        The more powerful ones are Dragon/Fire(Reshiram) and Water/Ghost(Jellicent)

        While Water/Rock is quite weak. This combination is weak to Grass, Fighting and Ground Type which are all common.

      • komiko12

        The more powerful ones are Dragon/Fire(Reshiram) and Water/Ghost(Jellicent)

        While Water/Rock is quite weak. This combination is weak to Grass, Fighting and Ground Type which are all common.

  • キロ

    I like how they still manage to not lean one way or the other, keeping the charm for both extreme players and non extreme ones alike ^.^/ do not miss out on this game when it comes out there!

  • Godman

    Better brush up on EVs. I can’t wait for B2W2

    Man all this series needs is a custom trainer creator so I can really feel more in a pokemon world

  • Suicunesol

    Damn. Do I really have to buy this? Really really??? I wasn’t planning to get BW2, but this article almost makes me reconsider.

  • Time to do what I always do.  EV train a Machoke(who will be traded twice for EPIC Machamp) that will make all Psychic Pokemon run in fear of the almighty Cross Chop.  Fools will crap their pants when Pokemon’s GILGAMESH comes to lump some chumps. I AM EXCITE.  ALL YOUR POKEMON IS FORFEIT TO ME!  *obtains Magikarp*  >_>  I FEEL SO BETRAYED!

    • DuskSharkEX

       We must battle! A duel between Machamp! Your Gilgamesh versus my Alcaeus!

      •  Let me see them!  Show me your POKEMON!

        • Syn

          *Random guy jumps out of grass* I call BATTLE ROYALE!! Go VAPOREON

    • natchu96

       . . .you’re the Magius Necros from gamefaqs, aren’t you? The speech patterns match . . .

    • PreyMantis

      How dare you diss the godly magikarp! Here’s an image to explain how magikarp is a god amongst gods:

      And here’s a video proving just that:

  • Listen, listen- I’mma let you finish; 

    …But Misty was the best Gym Leader of all time! 

    • Detrimont

      but byron has the coolest gym of all time

  • Göran Isacson

    While I can’t say I’m a superbig Pokemon trainer who knows about EV-training and what not, I have to admit I’m a little bit lost here. Are they making the game a little more complex for the experienced trainers? That’s what my interpretation is, an if so… I am torn. On the one hand a more challenging, complex Pokemon DOES sound like something relevant to my interests, but would it mark the beginning of this series becoming more “hard-core” and more insular? Or maybe they’ll change their model around a bit: they’ll release one new generation that will be open and easy, and then give each generation a sequel that will be more for the hardcore. I have NO idea if this is financially sound thinking, but it’s a possibility…

    •  I believe what the article is saying that those aspects you had to work for and grind for are now more easily accessible and more in the open.  It’s not really anything changing, but just a veil, so to speak, being removed, I think.

      • Asura

         Let me know when it says on the Pokemon stats screen how many EVs they have in each stat and what their IVs are. That’s pretty much as open and accessible as you can get.

  • Bio_liquid

    Not only that. Vitamins don’t EV train your pokemon to the limit, they stop less than halfway

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Man Pokemon came so far <3

  • Shiki

    As a hardcore pokemon fan , this made me PROUD!
    I’ve been playing the franchise since the beginning , and i know how the man feels when he said ” BLOWN AWAY ” .. it’s a big word , and the meaning is bigger
    for 14 years , i’ve been blown away by every pokemon game that been released , playing it as if it is like my first game ever , while i re-played the games more than one time
    As a hardcore fan , releasing a new game ( especially if it was a new generation ) is making me reach a new type of happiness in my life , and trust me by that , i’ll be hyped up till i get the game and after i get the game too , until they release a new game , then i start a new type of being ” hyped up ” , haha
    Pokemon , for me , isn’t just a game , it’s a part of my childhood , my adulthood , and after adulthood , lol , i dunno if i can call it obsession , but i even dream and daydream about pokemon , haha XD
    And this game right here , is what I DO BELIEVE , that it was made for the real fans .
    What i feel is .. my whole life with Pokemon is summarized by this game , especially after reading the speech!
    As a new way to introduce a new pokemon game , a sequel was a HUGE thing for me , and made me wonder what i’ll expect to see in the game ( Frankly , I loved every pokemon game , that i can’t even pick my favorite one ” maybe red because it started everything? lol dunno” ) .. but this game , which i believe that it is made for the real fans , will be something special in my Pokemon Life , and now after he said that EV training now is more obvious in the game , I hope new fans will start doing it , it’s the REAL gaming here , it’s fun , easy , and will make you proud of your pokemon , and you’ll be able to compete in the online battles , which is VERY VERY VERY FUN , because the games isn’t just ” beating the story and leveling your pokemon to 100 ” , actually it starts a new begining after beating the game!
    Can’t wait to play it! <3

  • As a hardcore fan since the days of GSC the tact with the puns still tenders my heart

     Kyouhei and
    Kyoumei was awesome as its derived from kyomei which means Resonate. So
    the localized the names a Rosa and Nate

  • Snorlaxation

    It makes me happy to know that they’re listening. I mean, I  don’t know nearly enough about the IV’s and  Evs but its still nice to know that unlike some game corps  Nintendo and Pokemon are taking our advice for what we want… So that we continue to dole out the green.

  • Good for Game Freak to create the games cartered for EVs and IVs for competitive battling. :) 

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