CEDEC2023 Pokemon Conference
Image via Game Freak

CEDEC 2023 Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Presentation Looked at Design Decisions

A session at Computer Entertainment Developers Conference (CEDEC) on August 23, 2023 displayed various technologies that used on Pokemon in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. The presentation was hosted by Keiichi Maezawa, the director of CG technology at Game Freak. In order to differentiate these entries from previous titles visually, subsurface scattering, gel shading, highlights, a “damaged/dirty” system, and light dispersion technology was used. [Thanks, Game Watch!]

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Subsurface scattering was mostly used on Pokemon skin. Basically, it’s a visual technique used to simulate scattered light bleeding in through a shadowed area. Larger Pokemon with dense bodies would be darker with more shadows, while smaller Pokemon with thin body parts used more light. These textures were also applied to the gel shading. In Quaxly’s case, a soap bubble effect appeared.

CEDEC2023 Pokemon Conference

Image via Game Freak

Miraidon, the legendary from Pokemon Violet, had a model that utilized a system in which shimmering particles were made to look as if they were moving three-dimensionally. To do this, the CG designers had to use a texture that specified a sense of depth while using a 4 x 4 pattern animation.

CEDEC2023 Pokemon Conference

Image via Game Freak

Highlights were applied to the eyes of the Pokemon in the game. These were designed to move depending on the direction the camera was pointed in. The overworld lighting was also adjusted so that no matter what time of day it was in-game, the highlights would always show.

CEDEC2023 Pokemon Conference

Image via Game Freak

The new Terastal phenomenon that occurs when Terastallizing Pokemon in the Paldea region visually reflects the cut of a jewel and the dispersion of light. For the “terastal” effect, the original models of the Pokemon went unchanged. Instead, a mesh was applied over the body that gave the effect.

CEDEC2023 Pokemon Conference

Image via Game Freak

In addition, a system in which Pokemon become dirty over time was introduced. As players journeyed with characters, eventually they would get covered in dirt after taking damage. They would also visually show snow covering them in areas like the Glaseado Mountains. This visual effect was achieved by overlaying a pre-made render of the elements on the original models.

CEDEC2023 Pokemon Conference

Image via Game Freak

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are available worldwide on the Nintendo Switch.


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Staff writer, content creator, artist - all of these are titles held by Lauren Palmer. But, she would just tell you she's someone with a passion for fashion. Has been seen raving about Japanese video games - specifically ones from Atlus and Spike Chunsoft. Will not shut up about anime.