How Giga Wrecker And Pokemon Developer Game Freak Prototypes New Games



Game Freak was showing their indie developer spirit at BitSummit. Their marquee game was the recently released PC Steam title Giga Wrecker, a 2D action-puzzler where you literally wield junk and debris like a prosthetic limb to solve massive environmental puzzles and engage in blistering combat. It’s a fully featured game with skill trees, lovely 2D art, voice-acting, a level editor, but what else would you expect from the creators of Pocket Card Jockey, Pulseman, Drill Dozer, and Pokémon?


Siliconera got to sit down with Game Freak’s Masayuki Onoue, director and programmer of Giga Wrecker, and Hiroto Itou, Giga Wrecker’s main planner, to talk about Game Freak’s internal indie game ideas system, insight into their latest title, and the reason why their games tend to be 2D.


What were the origins of Giga Wrecker?


Hiroto Itou, Main Planner: It was a merging of ideas between Onoue-san and myself.

Masayuki Onoue, Director: I wanted a physics-driven game with lots of objects and items, while Itou-san wanted an action-puzzle genre hybrid, so we put our heads together on it.


As someone who is most familiar with Game Freak’s output being Pokémon games, it’s great to see games like Giga Wrecker coming out and showing a broad range of genre talents. What kind of development environment is there within Game Freak to foster this output?


MO: We have a system within Game Freak called the Gear Project, where anyone in the company can come up with an idea to propose it, and they are given three months to create a prototype. If it passes an evaluation, more time is given to develop the game and, as more evaluations are passed, we eventually commercialize it. Giga Wrecker is one of many products of this Gear Project System.




What led to the decision of a female protagonist for Giga Wrecker?


HI: We have the Pokémon game projects, and those are for all-ages, for kids and adults. In one way you could say it’s kinda tame. With Gear Projects, we want to do something unique and different, so one idea was to have a fighting, beautiful young girl as the main character, and we wanted to test our limits and try to do something completely different from Pokémon. That’s kinda part of the reason why we chose Reika to be the protagonist.


Throughout the history of Game Freak, until the Pokémon games hit 3DS, your games were predominantly two-dimensional. Is there a guiding philosophy within Game Freak to try to maximize 2D?


MO: It’s not really a company philosophy, it just kinda happened to be that way. For Giga Wrecker, we originally wanted to create it for mobile platforms, so the specs were on the lower end. We were thinking to use a 2D physics engine, but eventually it became a bigger game and now it’s on PC. It started off lower, which is why it is 2D.




What do you want to say to your fans?


MO: Giga Wrecker is selling quite well now on Steam. We’re planning on an update around next month, with a new playable character and new features as well. Please look forward to it!


HI: Asagiri, the concept designer, came up with awesome levels and awesome parts, but it’s really hard to portray in mere words. You really have to see it in action or play it. Hopefully, more people will see more videos of Giga Wrecker, learn more about it and get into it. I hope there’s a growing fan base for Giga Wrecker.


MO: Indeed, it’s really hard to portray the enjoyment one can get from the game with screenshots or text alone. I want more people to learn of Giga Wrecker through videos, so if anyone wants to stream the game, it would be very appreciated!

Joey Chiu