Pokémon Sword & Shield director Shigeru Ohmori and producer Junichi Masuda talked about working with updated graphics for the new generation, working on the tall grass, and more in an interview with Famitsu.
Famitsu: With Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! being the first titles on Switch, this time we’ll have the first completely new title in Pokemon Sword & Shield. With that in mind, can you tell us about some parts you focused on?
Shigeru Ohmori, Director: “The resolution has greatly increased on Nintendo Switch compared to the Nintendo 3DS. Moreover, that further broadens the expressions we can challenge. The first thing to come to mind from all that is the ‘expression of size.’ Thanks to the increased resolution, that means we can show even more details for the smaller things, which allows for a better comparison with larger things.”
Famitsu: I see, when I hear about the increase in drawing abilities and broadening expressions, I think of “Making big things even bigger” but rather, the broadening of expressions also means you can draw the smaller things more properly. So such element is what gives us the “Dynamax” and such.
Shigeru Ohmori: “Yes. We can now have more trainers appear on the screen, and we had all kinds of ideas flowing, such as implementing a full-on cooperative play. And of course since you can play on a large television screen with the Nintendo Switch, it makes it easier to see the difference in size compared to playing handheld. As for Dynamax, we hope you all get the opportunity to check out the giant Pokemon on the big screen.”
Famitsu: We saw this with Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, but getting to play the Pokemon series on a TV certainly brings something different that we’ve yet to experience.
Shigeru Ohmori: “I agree. With Pokemon Sword & Shield, kids will play on their living room TVs, so I think there will be many cases where you’ll have parents checking it out. If they check out Pokemon becoming huge with Dynamax and such situations as a way to communicate together, that would really make me happy.”
Famitsu: I can totally see conversation starting like “Huh? Pikachu is so big now!” [laughs]
Junichi Masuda, Producer: “That was also the occasion during the development of Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, as we thought about playing on a TV, so we emphasized the point of having kids play while their guardians can feel at ease. When you think about Dynamax that turns Pokemon huge, you might think that it could be a bit scary, so we kept that in mind for its direction. We made all kinds of adjustments, and I think we ended up with something that looks good.”
Famitsu: The other day during the early access demo event for the media I got a chance to try it out, but when I saw the game screen for Pokemon Sword & Shield, I saw some stuff that made me feel at ease, and there’s just something mysterious about the power of picture. I couldn’t help but gaze into it.
Junichi Masuda: “We put a lot of attention on ways of looking at the screen. Although we had trouble on lighting, glass reflections, and such… [laughs wryly]”
Shigeru Ohmori: “For example, one of them was the ‘tall grass,’ which took us about a half-year of disagreements until it took its shape.”
Famitsu: Half a year for the tall grass….!
Shigeru Ohmori: “The tall grass in the world of Pokémon are places were the users and Pokémon meet. As for the game, it’s part of the core way of playing that tells you ‘There’s tall grass there so you might find some Pokémon, let’s check it out,’ so it is very important. How much should we make its distance, how much space, how much graphics should we use to present it. It’s a part that affects game characters, so we really put in a lot of time on that.
Pokémon Sword & Shield release for Nintendo Switch on November 15, 2019. Check our previous report for a look at a recent trailer showcasing all the new Pokémon revealed for the Galar region thus far.