Game Freak Director Junichi Masuda On The Making Of Yoshi And Pokemon

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Game Freak has released a new video on their Youtube channel, focusing on the making of the NES title Yoshi, as well as some details behind the making of Pokemon Red/Blue with director Junichi Masuda.


Here are the highlights:

  • Keen-eyed people may notice that the items on Yoshi‘s main menu will move accordingly to the music. Masuda programmed this himself and spent a lot of time on it.


  • Because this sort of dropping puzzle game doesn’t have an ending or credits, not many people know that Game Freak developed it. In fact, it was Ken Sugimori who came up with the gameplay. Also, because Game Freak was making action games mostly back then, at the very start they had nearly no idea how to make an RPG.


  • Game Freak wanted to add in a realistic sounding Yoshi voice, but it got turned down by Nintendo.


  • It was during the making of this game that Masuda learned about the “wave” design of difficulty curve, where after a particularly hard stage, an easier stage comes after to let players bask in the accomplishment.


  • For making action games, Masuda states that developing and balancing them feels like taste-testing in cooking, where you can try it and tweak it immediately. For RPGs, the usage of time is different as it takes maybe 3 hours before you really get into the groove and see what needs fixing.


  • Masuda reminisced about how shocked people would be back then when finding out just how fast storage capacity limits would improve. That said, he says there are some things about having limited memory. For example, if there were infinite memory, game developers would probably keep adding in new things and the game would never get done. There were other fun things that could only be done thanks to memory limits, like thinking of Pokemon names that could be fit in the 5-character limit (in Japanese).


  • In order to get the voices of the original 151 Pokemon done, Masuda had to use certain tricks in order for it to work, and he would probably have been told off it he weren’t the main programmer on the game.


You can watch the full video below:


Yoshi was originally released on the NES. Pokemon Red and Blue released on the Game Boy.

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Image of Alistair Wong
Alistair Wong
Very avid gamer with writing tendencies. Fan of Rockman and Pokémon and lots more!