More Than 500 People Worked On Pokémon X And Pokémon Y

By Ishaan . December 26, 2013 . 8:30am

Pokémon X and Pokémon Y took roughly 3.5 years to develop, says Game Freak director Junichi Masuda. In the latest post to his Game Freak blog, Masuda touches upon the development of the two Nintendo 3DS games and how their names came about.


The basic concepts for Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, Masuda says, were “beauty,” “bonds,” and “evolution”. The game was developed with the idea of players “raising their Pokémon with love”. However, Masuda adds, “There’s an even bigger theme to the game, however; one that I’m always thinking about when I’m directing Pokémon games, and one that I think applies to the real world: ‘Let’s create a better world together’.”


Masuda feels that the one’s life depends on the chance encounters that they have with other people. Encounters based on your age or interests or other factors. These encounters, Masuda says, shouldn’t be about fighting, but rather about making a better world together.


“The titles ‘X’ and ‘Y’ come from this idea,” he reveals. “The letters ‘X’ and ‘Y’ suggest lines on an axis. The lines of both letters head in different directions, but there’s a point at which they cross, or intersect. I used the letters with the idea of intersection in mind; the idea of the common points we share with one another, rather than our differences.”


Finally, Masuda reveals, “It took three and a half years to develop this game. Taking into account the localization groups for each language, more than five hundred people were involved in the development.”


This is an interesting comment, because Game Freak, the studio that develops the Pokémon RPGs, has just 85 employees itself, a number of whom were hired specifically for X/Y. That means over 400 other staff members across Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, and other firms were required to see the games through to completion.

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  • Raltrios

    The got the ‘beauty’ and the ‘evolution’ parts right. But the ‘bonds?’ I just didn’t feel it. The vast majority of the characters – even recurring ones – were just husks.

    But at least the gameplay’s great.

    • Nightstar1994

      inb4 people will complain that the game is still not completed

    • SlickRoach

      So true. I wanted to feel a connection since more characters were involved but it just boiled down to the fat guy who always talks about dancing, the short guy who always talks about filling his Pokédex and the ditzy, chipper girl. They all seemed so one-dimensional but it’s a Pokémon game so I wouldn’t harshly judge it for story or characters.

      • ShawnOtakuSomething

        Emma had the Most character in this.

      • DeadLineDance

        And yet Black and White gave us nuanced characters and a more complex story. Cheren and Bianca grow and change during their journeys, while the rivals in this game stay one-note characters. Ghetsis was truly menacing and N was sympathetic, and their philosophy produced conflicting emotions in the player. Lysandre babbled about Malthusian ethics but ended up making about as much sense as a Saturday morning cartoon villain. And AZ was so forced it hurt.
        B/W proved that they can do better than this.

        • FlyingPony

          Give them a break, they are jumping into unknown territory with the 3D graphic and 3D effect on 3DS, so something have to be sacrificed.

          I’d say they nailed on the essential stuff, like the new monster design, the new evolution, the new battle (horde and sky battle), pokemon’s animation is all done well.

    • PreyMantis

      Sad, but true. It’s especially hard to care for them specially if all they talk about is almost the same thing over and over. The other sad thing is that they had little to no character development. Even the ghost from Black/White had better story than most of them.

      • Renaldi Saputra

        it’s pokemon after all, many ppl only see if the gameplay is good then the game is good overall, nothing more

    • DeadLineDance

      The graphics were amazing, the environments were lush, the Pokemon models were fun… it all felt alive. And the music was super-cool, possibly best music of any gen.
      However, the story was utterly lifeless and forced.

      • Raltrios

        I preferred Hoenn’s music, myself, but this is certainly better than the majority of Gen 5’s tunes.
        You’re right about the lush environments, though – and if the Hoenn remakes are ever indeed made, I might just faint from seeing those gorgeous Hoenn jungles, caves, and oceans in 3D :3

    • Lucky Dan

      I think you got your priorities mixed up he didn’t specify bonds with the characters or humans as it would of been named human monsters.

      He’s referring to the Pokemon, where you do the training, raising and petting the Pokemon in the mini-games which was supplied in the game to raise its EV values and so forth so they become much stronger if you raised them through battle rather than raise them thru rare candy splash.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Black and White arc had the best story … this story felt rushed and Az a Major character just showed up out of the blue with forced feels with no time for him to grow on us. Other then that The Gameplay is improved thanks to Super training and Pokemon-anme <3

    • Renaldi Saputra

      agreed, B/W series had the best story amongst pokemon main series

      • ShawnOtakuSomething

        gen 5 felt like it was short lived :/ and underrated.Its my favorite gen next to gen 3

        • Renaldi Saputra

          N is my only favorite character in all pokemon series. the others are just meh and more meh

          • ShawnOtakuSomething

            N was badass

          • Renaldi Saputra

            the only character who got serious problem, touching backstory, and more character development in the end, even he changed in B/W 2 becoming better, he isn’t just badass

          • Symbol de Au

            N? Meh. Looker’s the best.

          • Renaldi Saputra

            who is looker?
            for me the other characters are just
            1. destroy/conquer the world
            2. battle with me and I’ll win
            3. steal his/her pokemon

            only N which doesn’t include to those 3 aspects

          • Symbol de Au

            You don’t know who looker is? Neither does anyone else, and that’s the way it should be.

            EDIT: He also doesn’t match any of those characteristics.


    • Grape Monet

      It’s to be expected, though. Black and White took four years to make on hardware the team already had experience with; there was no way they were going to make a better game in three and a half years on new hardware, even with the extra team members. The game is still great, of course, and from a pure gameplay perspective it’s arguably the best in the series, but it’s obvious they had to sacrifice a few things to get it done on time.

      • ShawnOtakuSomething

        super training, Pokemon anme and custom character is a great and much needed addison to the pokemon series.

      • DeadLineDance

        Hmm, I wanted to complain about them having that many people and that much time, but you just put it into perspective for me. Still, I think it’s a shame that post-E4 content was sacrificed for graphics and stuff like Pokemon Amie. I mean, both B/W and HG/SS had nearly half of the map left to explore! It’s a bit of a letdown for me, honestly.
        The graphics were gorgeous and the music was great, and stuff like buying clothes and petting your ‘mons was fun, though.

    • DeadLineDance

      100% agree, 5th gen is my favorite… despite having played Pokemon since the beginning. The gameplay was great and X/Y looked amazing, but the story was a huge leap backwards.
      AZ… I honestly hated him. Never has a character been so forced upon me. I was actually upset when he showed up at the parade.

    • coolcatkim22

      What are you talking about? Black and White had a terrible story line. It had the worst character motivations, unnatural dialogue, and the ending made no sense what so ever.
      The only reason people liked it was because of N, and people only liked N because he looked pretty/cool.

  • malek86

    People always assume that a portable game is automatically gonna have a lower budget than an HD game. I guess this goes to show that it’s not always true.

    • Tom_Phoenix

      To be fair, as big as Pokémon is, its development budget probably WAS much smaller than if they had to make a comparable game on an HD console. But when it comes to big mainstream titles, development is nowhere near the only or even the biggest expense, since such games also require significant marketing, localisation and distribution budgets.

  • I think the EXP Share ruined the ‘bonds’ part a bit since you could indirectly dump tons of experience into inactive monsters but hey that hasn’t stopped me from playing for 200+ hours

    • DarkRoxas

      Or you could turn off the EXP. Share and grind like in Gold/Silver/Crystal.

  • Aside and related:

    PokeBank shut down until further notice. Didn’t even last two days.

    At least I got my Chimchar and Chikorita I wanted.

    • MrTyrant

      Seems that was one of the causes that I cannot access Nintendo Eshop now.

      • Yea, apparently the entire network was hit pretty hard:

        I’m pretty sure though it was more of the problem towards the PokeGenned ‘mons getting in there and screwing things up than anything else. I mean you could have seen that influx coming. Japan and Australia seemed all over it last night and I was sitting on a 4 hour Skype call last night with a few buds just doing massive amounts of Wonder Trading to get what I got.

  • heartless141

    still haven’t solved the breeding thing
    morally there are a lot of stuffs that sounds so wrong if you put it into words
    doesn’t stop me, but i explained it to a few friends and they went nuts about it.

  • Death Saved

    but how many employees were actually there from beginning to end?

  • JMaster3000

    Am i the only one here who didn’t like XY?

    • you are not alone, even with that long development time the product still feel rushed

    • komiko12

      I liked it. But definitely not as much as the games before it. The graphics and the in depth mechanics are the only aspects really improved.

  • Kalis Konig

    500 people and 3.5years development? The game was great for its new features and much needed update to the series but it was still rather lacking in a lot of areas and hearing those numbers made me hope it would have felt like a more complete package. I loved the game but hopefully the next one leaves me overly stuffed and not just satisfied seeing as how most of the major assets are complete.

    • DeadLineDance

      Totally hear you, should’ve gotten more than one lousy town and a one-building excuse for a Battle Frontier after beating the E4 when they’ve been able to give us more than that since… y’know, Emerald, from 2004.

      • coolcatkim22

        -_- …
        First off, that’s a Battle Tower not a Battle Frontier. Battle Frontiers are an addition to the Battle Tower added as an extra feature in the third versions.

        Secondly, did Diamond and Pearl have a Battle Frontier? I mean, that came after Emerald. No, you know why? Because they were busy trying to adapt to a new console.
        You sound like a spoiled brat, “Oh they totally revamped the entire game from almost scratch but I wanted a Battle Frontier.” Grow up and wait for Pokemon Z.

  • Ryuki

    So many people yet the post story content was lacking…Anyone else felt like the game forgot about AZ at times? I mean, this guy shows up outta nowhere, talks about the past and we never hear from him again till near the end of the game.

  • Anewme…Again

    So many peoples and such a long times for a product so-so like that.
    Well it was their first times making a pokemons games of the main series in 3D, so now that they have experience hopefully the next pokemon games will be better and bigger.

    • komiko12

      It reminds me of how the DS games evolved. From the ugly and slow Diamond and Pearl, then the much improved Platinum, the aesthetically great HGSS and so on.. you get the idea.

      XY might be a very middle tier product, but there is a lot of set up if they decided to the BW2 route and make a sequel like Lumiose Press’ editor in chief, Emma, etc.

  • Bobby Jennings

    Hard to believe they worked on this for 3.5 years and yet Black/White have a much better story than this. It was the only Pokemon game in whichI believed I was actually in the world. N was great and Cheren was one of my favorite characters.

    • FlyingPony

      Think about the new platform (3DS), the new graphic (3D model, 3D effect), the new battle (fly and horde encounter), the new Pokemon animation/cry (no 6 bit sound anymore), the new pokemon design, and the fact it was made with 5 language available at launch.

      The 3.5 years development will make sense.

      • Bobby Jennings

        No..still doesn’t Sky battles were just battles with flying Pokemon, hordes were useless imo. The rest you said doesn’t even add up to nearly 4 years of work.

  • Pichi

    Kind of disappointed with the lack of new pokemon. I think they could have added more given the amount of time they had.

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