It’s exactly ten years since Gold and Silver were released. The girls and boys who were playing Pokémon then are now fully-grown adults.
But I’ve got a feeling that even people who haven’t played Pokémon in a long time are liable to pick up HeartGold and SoulSilver, thinking: "Ah, this takes me back..."
Right. The new graduates who are entering our company now are exactly the people who would have once played Gold and Silver.
So if new company employees are aged twenty-two, they would have been twelve back then. They would have very much been at the heart of the Gold and Silver generation.
That’s why when you talk with them about the new games, you'll see their eyes shining with excitement as they ask you: "We're going to get to do that again?" Things have come round full circle since that time when they were at their most impressionable, and they really feel they want to give it another go.
In that sense, ten years constitutes one self-contained period, doesn’t it?
I take it you know Ryo Ishikawa, the professional golfer? Well, I heard that when he was at primary school, he wrote: "In the future, I want to be a professional golfer or a Pokémon Master."
I didn’t know that.
I read about it in the paper. Apparently, when Ishikawa-san was young, his father let him try all sorts of things so he could find something he could really get absorbed in. Of course, when his father took him golfing, he found it really interesting. But when he took him to a baseball game, he was already bored by about the bottom of the first innings and did nothing but sit there playing Pokémon. Personally, I’d have loved him to have become a Pokémon Master! (laughs)
Of course, it’s much better that he became a professional golfer! (laughs) He’s seventeen now, so I'd imagine that around the time he entered primary school, he would have played Gold and Silver. So I really want kids who were seven or eight, or maybe ten years old, to play the new Gold and Silver on Nintendo DS now that a decade has gone by. With the addition of the new device, the Pokéwalker, I believe they’ll enjoy it not simply out of a sense of nostalgia but because they can see the way in which Pokémon has evolved.
I’m sure it will feel really fresh and fun to them. Now, to mark the release of HeartGold and SoulSilver, do you have any message for our customers?
Well, the original titles were released for the Game Boy Color, so with the Nintendo DS, the hardware has skipped over the Game Boy Advance to land two generations ahead, so...
So would you say the evolution is rather like that of a Bulbasaur that’s skipped the stage of being an Ivysaur and gone straight to a Venusaur?
It's really developed in a way that makes us want to show off that “staggering power of science”. This is something I definitely want players to enjoy. Also, with these titles, the way in which trainers and Pokémon relate has become a major theme and this has been added to the story. We came up with the titles HeartGold and SoulSilver as we decided these were appropriate to express this theme.
So you’re saying that you'd like players to enjoy the kind of world view that's invoked by the titles HeartGold and SoulSilver?
Very much so. In addition, as I mentioned a little earlier, we’ve been greedy in the amount of gameplay elements we’ve squeezed in there. There’s so much included that I even had colleagues saying to me: “Are you sure you should be going this far with a remake?” In that sense, it's not simply a remake - I think it's more than that. For that reason, I would like to see these games enjoyed by as large a number of people as possible.
Now over to you, Ishihara-san.
I feel that the breadth of the game has been greatly increased by the inclusion of the bonus Pokéwalker. There are so many gameplay elements included that you almost want to say: "Is this really just a bonus add-on?” I’d like to see parents and their children, along with grandparents and grandchildren, enjoying dividing up their roles, saying: “Granddad, could you clip this on when you go out for a walk?”
You can play together with other players or take both roles yourself.
Absolutely. As there will definitely be one Pokéwalker included with each copy of the game, I'm really looking forward to seeing how players will use them to broaden their enjoyment of the game. And then there's also the appeal and excitement of those four-legged Pokémon, Entei, Raikou and Suicune…
Ah, the Legendary Pokémon. If they meet them, the players will be really excited. (laughs) And they’re not easy to catch.
What's really interesting this time round is that there will be players coming from both standpoints: there’ll be players who have memories of all this from a decade ago, and then there’ll be players thinking “What kind of Pokémon is this!?” That’s why I’d like to see players with experience from ten years ago giving newcomers tips on how to play.
What you just said, Ishihara-san, is precisely what I wanted to emphasise. Firstly, I believe that players who have no experience with Gold and Silver will find plenty to enjoy in these titles, approaching them as entirely new Pokémon titles. At the same time, those people who played the game ten years ago, and who may well have memories of devoting huge amounts of time and energy to it, will be able to enjoy it all over again thanks to the “staggering power of science”. As Ishihara-san just said, I think it would be incredibly exciting to see HeartGold and SoulSilver acting as methods of communication between the new generation of Pokémon players and those who played Gold and Silver ten years ago. Whether it’s parents, older brothers or sisters, or in some cases grandfathers and grandmothers, I’ve got a feeling that, for the first time in a long time, this is a game that can bridge that generation gap. What’s more, with the bonus addition of the Pokéwalker, this looks like another medium with which to enjoy communication. I'd love to see people with pedometers shaped like Poké Balls out and about around the town.
Ah, there’s just one more thing I want to add. Pokémon Trading Cards have also come full circle and there’s an all new series being released in October28. We've experimented with new types of artwork, which I hope everyone will enjoy. 28The English version of the latest release went on sale all across Europe in February 2010. The French, German, and Italian language expansions will be available beginning in May 2010.
Ishihara-san, when you made Gold and Silver ten years ago, you said you thought of it as the finish line. But the way you’re talking now makes it sound like that finish line is still a long way off! (laughs)
Do you know what? I think you’re right! (laughs)
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