Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! launch this week, and director Junichi Masuda sat down for an interview revealing some extra details about the game just ahead of its release. (Thanks, Bahamut!)
Here are the highlights:
- Voice actor Aoi Yuuki is the voice of Eevee in this game, as a counterpart to Ikue Ohtani’s famous Pikachu voice. As languages across the world have different names for Eevee, they specially instructed her to make sounds that mix together the characteristics of the different names.
- The Let’s Go games have a much more kid-friendly look to them and the music adheres more to the original compositions, as Game Freak anticipated that parents or other people might find the game uncomfortable if there was too much violence or noise from the TV.
- While Masuda wouldn’t elaborate on what’s next, he reminded that there is an all-new Pokemon title coming in 2019. The Let’s Go games are the current priority though and act as a way to bring the Pokemon series to the Nintendo Switch.
- Regarding saves, Masuda admits that because of how the Nintendo Switch is set up, the Let’s Go games save on the console, rather than on the game card, meaning that you can no longer have your save together with your game card at all times. That said, the benefit is that you can have multiple saves for the Let’s Go games just by using a different user account.
- Why the completely new protagonists and rivals? Masuda explains that the idea is so that newcomers to the Pokemon series have their own characters that feel like they belong to them. That said, there are some elements in the games for older fans as well.
- In terms of story, the games don’t deviate much from the original Pokemon Yellow, except for some streamlining of some confusing aspects in the original. The pace of gameplay has been sped up to accommodate the lifestyle of new gamers who grew up with smartphones and YouTube, in ways like the Run button being removed so that pushing the joystick all the way is already running speed.
- Team Rocket (the anime trio) will have a bigger part than before. In Yellow, the trio weren’t explicitly named, while here they are called Jessie and James outright. Some other influences from the anime include how Pikachu sits on your shoulder like how Pikachu did with Ash.
- Masuda spoke a bit on how Game Freak coordinates with the Pokemon anime makers OLM, Inc. They hold regularly scheduled meetings and have a joint planning committee for movies, where two to three Game Freak members participate in the planning, as well as confirm the new Pokemon designs. However, usually they just send out basic details and let OLM do its thing.
- 2P Mode was added into the game as a way for parents to play with their kids or for players to work together with a friend who doesn’t have the game, hence the drop-in nature. If the second player becomes interested in playing the game for themselves, they can easily do so via a different user account.
- Masuda is personally more familiar with needing to lower Pokemon health before capture them, but with Pokemon GO players all around the world with the notion that ‘catching Pokemon doesn’t require battling,’ they had to reconsider this paradigm. That’ why the pleasure in catching Pokemon in this game is derived from the actual ‘catching’ aspect, similar to insect-catching.
- Using the Partner Pokemon for Secret Techniques was a natural evolution of wanting to remove HMs without losing the sense of progression and them realizing that the Partner Pokemon always being together with the protagonist meant they could make the Pokemon learn these Secret Techniques to help out their Trainer.
- The reason why Pokemon are now encountered in the overworld is because Game Freak knew how players would evade tall grass to avoid encounters anyways, so it’s really just giving control back to the player on whether to battle or not. Another benefit is that now you can see how the Pokemon act and move around in the overworld.
- As for why the PC/Box system was scrapped for this game, Masuda reveals that the development team had a lot of discussion over this, but decided it was better to let players be able to use their Pokemon anywhere, since they caught it anyways.
- Eevee knows more exclusive moves than Pikachu, but this is a way of balancing out Pikachu’s advantage of being Electric-type, compared to Eevee’s Normal-type. Without exclusive moves, Eevee would be strictly worse off.
- The Kanto Pokedex once again only contains 151 Pokemon. This was so that things weren’t overcomplicated and so that completing the Pokedex “was an achievable goal”.
- On Meltan being able to evolve: This was a result of Game Freak wanting Meltan to embody the enjoyable aspect of ‘catching Pokemon many times and collecting candy to evolve’ found in Pokemon GO. Masuda stressed that Pokemon GO players are the first people to discover Meltan, the first Pokemon discovered in the real world.
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! will come to the Nintendo Switch on November 16, 2018.