Nintendo 3DS

Pokémon Sun & Moon Devs On The Inspiration Behind The Alolan Region, Z-Moves, And More



Pokémon Sun & Moon are just a little over three weeks away from their worldwide release, and producer Junichi Masuda and director Shigeru Ohmori have shared even more information about the development and design choices behind the newest Pokémon games.


In an interview with Nintendo UK, the two devs answered questions regarding the inspiration for the new Alolan region, the powerful Z-Moves, as well as the concept behind the new Trials system. You can read a few excerpts from the interview below.


Nintendo of Europe: Of course, the Alola region is very obviously inspired by Hawaii. Why did you choose Hawaii as your main source of inspiration for this new region?


Shigeru Ohmori: When we were coming up with ideas for the titles Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, what we thought of was this idea of life. For example, the sun and the moon, both being important to all life on earth. So we thought, “Where is an area where both of these are visible and have a big influence?” A place that came to mind was Hawaii. It’s obviously an area with lots of sunshine, which everyone likes, but it also has clear nights where you can see the moon in the sky. It’s a really beautiful place! It was interesting to think what Pokémon might live in an area like this. That was an inspirational place for us when we were thinking about the region for these games.


Junichi Masuda: As we’re commemorating 20 years of Pokémon, we wanted to look at and think of the Trainers and the Pokémon as living things and express that in a better way. We looked at a place where this idea of life is really abundant and Hawaii came to mind as a great place to reflect that.


NoE: Where did you get the idea for the powerful and flashy-looking Z-Moves?


SO: In Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, we introduced Mega Evolutions which makes one Pokémon really strong. This time, we wanted to go for something that allowed players to use a wider variety of Pokémon. So rather than have an individual Pokémon that players can focus on and make it strong, we’ve got a system where any Pokémon can use these Z-Moves and be stronger and more relevant in battle. With this, we hope that players will find their own way and think, “Ah! With this move, this Pokémon could be used in battle, and if I use this particular technique then this can work well together.” By discovering this, we hope that players can broaden their experience of Pokémon and get used to a whole wide range of different ones, instead of focussing on the few that they have done so far.


NoE: Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon introduce a new form of progression which is through each island’s Trials. How do these change the Pokémon formula that players are familiar with?


SO: As we’re commemorating 20 years of Pokémon, we wanted to go back and reconsider Pokémon from the ground up. One thing that has not changed from the start until now is Gyms – the way that you go and battle Trainers and get badges. When considering new ideas for the game, not just the difficulty but also things that could be changed, we thought, “Why not focus on the relationship between people and Pokémon a bit more?” This is something you’ll see in the Trials. Another thing is the style of battle, if you like. You’ve got these Pokémon who appear at the end of a Trial called Totem Pokémon that can call in support Pokémon to help them out. In all these different ways, we tried to change and give players new experiences. We really focused on that.


NoE: What advice do you have for any of our readers who are preparing to embark on their first Pokémon adventure with Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon?


SO: We want people to go in and enjoy the Alola region. We’ve created this area with a real focus on nature and the closeness of people and Pokémon working together. We’ve put a lot of effort into making the sights and sounds of all the different towns really clear and vivid. We want people to go into that and enjoy that and maybe feel like, “Ah, maybe I’m even in Alola myself!” while they’re playing. If we’ve achieved that, then we’ll be really happy.


JM: Another thing is that some players might be difficult to choose between the two as we’ve got these two really cool mascots, Solgaleo and Lunala, on the cover. Something that separates the two versions is the 12-hour time difference. One thing that some players might be able to experience with Pokémon Moon is playing during the day, while in the game world it’s night. That’s a unique fun thing, playing with time itself, that we hope players can enjoy. Also, for people who have never played a Pokémon game before in their lives, we want them to experience the fun of the first time they’re shown how to throw a Poké Ball and catch a Pokémon. Hopefully they’ll get the same buzz out of it as people have before.


To check out the full interview with Nintendo UK, you can visit their official site.


Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon will release for the Nintendo 3DS worldwide on November 18th and in Europe on November 23rd.