Changes that made Pokemon a better game

Released for Game Boy in 1996, for the franchise Pokemon It has become one of the most successful not only in the gaming industry but also in the entertainment industry as a whole. What not everyone knows is that until much of its development, this game could have been very different from what we finally got.

Credit: Playing / Eric McLean / Paxel

In another great mini-documentary, DidYouKnowGaming? Browse the past of a series of very lovely little monsters and collected interesting information about its production. Among them is the idea that the first title has much more than just two versions (red and green) that ended up in stores.

According to programmer Takenori Oota, the variations will be related to the identification we received when we first launched the campaign. Pokemon, A randomly generated trainer ID that can go up to 65,535. If the concept were to be implemented, the monsters we would encounter along the way and even the scenarios would change according to the number we used.

However, even the random IDs stored in the final version have little effect on the experience, and as Sato Tajiri, the founder of the game’s studio, Grame Freak, explains, the change came after a very important human recommendation. :

“[…] We randomly assign automatically generated ID numbers ranging from 1 to 65K on each gaming cartridge. Once the cartridges were identified, the Pokémon caught in these games carried that number, and until someone traded with another 65,000 different people, the chances of trading with the same person’s were unlikely.

The forest form, the Pokémon that could appear, I wanted to make a game that was different for everyone but difficult. So I consulted with Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto and finally decided to look at the universe in parallel but in a different color – red or green.

Credit: Playback / Ace of Sevens / MobyGames

But while the idea of ​​making each game (practically) unique could seem tempting, Tajiri acknowledged that this concept would not be so easy to explain to the player, and it was here that Miamo’s sensitivity emerged. For Mario’s creator, people needed to be able to distinguish one game from another just by the color or format that caused them Red Pokemon And Pokemon Green – As blue A few months later he was released in Japan and replaced Green In the United States.

With each version featuring several unique little monsters, Game Freak identified one of the mainstays of the series and also urged people to buy a cable that would allow the two Game Boys to connect. The cable also made possible another feature that was not originally intended, the multiplayer.

While admitting fights between players was Sato Tajir’s wish, producer Shigek Morimoto did not want to accept it for long. For him, in addition to being a multiplayer, which he did not find interesting, there was a fear that its implementation would be very difficult. So he did what many project leaders would do: he showed that he was not listening and continued to ignore the request.

The situation will change only when Nintendo itself has demanded battles between players. However, as the development time ran out, the team created a very elementary version of multiplayer where battles took place automatically and players could only watch them. Without influencing the quarrels, the results were random and the idea did not go well.

“We showed it to Nintendo, and polls we came back to called it ‘boring,'” Morimoto said. “I believe they were right, but we were close to the deadline and we were trying to add to the battles that the players were commanding.”

Credit: Playback / Ace of Sevens / MobyGames

If these changes of course had not taken place, at least the first chapter of the series Pokemon It would be totally different and it is hard to know if he would be so successful. Now imagine that you do not have to hunt small monsters as they are available in stores or buy them from other players. Well, it could have happened.

While it was possible to buy one or the other in the final version, Tajiri said their rejection of the game’s main offer was a perception that people choose to save money in the game rather than exploring the world. Catch Pokémon and thus increase your collection. They considered charging a virtual fee for each exchange between players, but due to equipment limitations, they preferred to eliminate this feature.

With more than 440 million copies sold, these ideas may seem far-fetched today, but we have to keep in mind that at the time Game Freak people were still exploring unexplained territory. When the first Pokemon It turned out, there was nothing like it on the market and so it is surprising that the studio made not so significant mistakes.

Part of that, of course, is due to the help of similar figures from Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto, but also the talent of the people who were directly involved with the project. The rest is history.

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