Pokemon Platinum: Developer Interview!
GP: The Pokemon Video Game Championship: What does it mean to you personally, with the insane growth of people playing against each other that now has turned into a full-fledged battling phenomenon?
Masuda: That was my wish. My wish was to go to see people playing at the World Championships, so it's almost like a dream come true if this video game championship is realized. Definitely, this is great that things are coming along.
GP: As a developer, is there anything that you learn from watching the players using different Pokemon in all of the tournaments? Is there anything you learn about the gameplay that you didn't know?
Kawachimaru: Definitely. I've been to see a lot of video game tournaments in Japan, and I've seen a lot of players having different combinations of Pokemon. Definitely, there are [some] interesting combinations. But, it's not anything that we didn't know, it's just something interesting to see, that they're using "that" particular Pokemon.
Ideally, I want each player to have different Pokemon. I don't want to see everybody using the same Pokemon. That's my ideal situation. So, if I see somebody uses Pokemon that normal people don't use, I would love to support that particular player and give a cheer for him or her.
GP: For people that are just picking up Pokemon for the first time, do you have any personal tips that you want to throw in, for people just getting their hands on Platinum?
Kawachimaru: For the beginner players, we have been focusing not just on Platinum. In past games, we have [also] been focusing on new players. So, once he or she starts the game, I would recommend going into the bushes or areas where you can meet wild Pokemon. Please, meet as much as you want! There might be something interesting that happens, and meet with different people. That's something I recommend.
GP: What's your number one favorite Pokemon?
Masuda: My favorite is Piichu.
GP: Do you have a preferred type [of Pokemon] that you use when playing the game. What is your preferred lineup? What are your heavy hitters?
Kawachimaru: We have an internal office tournament, so whenever we battle, I predict what my opponent will have, and then decide what my Pokemon will be. But my favorite Pokemon to use in the tournament... there are two of them I regularly use. One is Weevile and the other one is Gengar.
Masuda: The type I always use is actually Water Pokemon, because Water Pokemon have strong moves, such as Surf. That's my favorite move. Also, I get involved in creating Pokemon itself, so I get involved in naming, get involved in the design of the Pokemon, so there's so many Pokemon that I have so much energy put into, so those are the Pokemon that I always want to use. But, that's not necessarily a strong Pokemon for the battle.
"I'm 22 years old and I'm still playing Pokemon! Hell Yeah!"
GP: Is it ever hard to keep coming up with new names and designs?
Masuda: Yes, it's incredibly difficult! Especially [coming] up with a name [that] is universal here, in the U.S. or Europe, such as Pikachu, Dialga, Palkia, and Lucario. Those are the names that you have to come up with, appealing to all of the audiences. That's very difficult.
Another thing, especially coming into the gameplay, the first three Pokemon [are difficult], because they're the ones who the player actually first meet, so you have to come up with really good names and characteristics and everything.
GP: For the Pokemon Championship, does the winner get to battle you guys? Do you plan to compete off to the side?
Masuda: We haven't done it yet!
Kawachimaru: Probably, they're going to beat us.
GP: Can you tell me the name of the next Pokemon title? Are we even thinking about that yet?
Masuda: We're thinking about it, but not yet!