Interviews// Tsunekazu Ishihara: The Pokémon Interview

Coming up with new Pokémon is a very, very difficult task.

Posted 14 Jun 2007 16:24 by
SPOnG: Following on from the videogame, obviously there is the TV series, the trading cards, the movies and the various events and theme parks we’ve already seen in Japan – at what point did you realise that you had a runaway success story, internationally?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: When I look back to when we were first developing the original Pokémon Red and Green, looking at the details, the design, there were many things that suggested to me then that this game would be successful. However, I never imagined at that point that this game would be successful outside of Japan.


SPOnG: Why was that?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: Essentially because I only knew my own country, and what the children were like in Japan. Also, Nintendo had no plans at that time to release it outside of Japan, so it was very difficult then to imagine how it would be received outside of Japan.


SPOnG: With every new generation of Pokémon, what inspires the new names, appearances and powers of all the new Pokémon? What’s the process of developing these?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: Coming up with new Pokémon is a very, very difficult task. One of the things, this is first and foremost, is to make the Pokémon attractive. In the sense that it is appealing to the user. But at the same time we have to make sure it is in no way similar to any existing Pokémon, to make sure it is new and exciting. So, in order to achieve this difficult task we go to a number of sources for inspiration, its very energy consuming.


SPOnG: As part of that inspiration, do you have any input from your users who are playing the games?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: No. We never use the opinions of consumers or users or players. The same goes for referring to other games as well. The inspiration tends to come from the natural world around us.


SPOnG: We mentioned the TV series, the movies, the theme parks and so on – what’s the latest news there?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: As far as the movies are concerned, every year there has been a new film. This year we’ve reached the tenth film. This features some of the new Pokémon, coming out in Japan on July 14th. A release is still to be confirmed for the West.

As far as the TV animation is concerned, in Japan they’ve already switched to the new Diamond and Pearl version of the TV series, where the protagonists are exploring this new world, called the Sinnoh region.

SPOnG: And what about the Pokémon theme parks? Any plans to take these outside of Japan?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: Last year, for a three month limited period only, we set up a theme park in Taipei in Taiwan. At present we have no plans for a permanent theme park outside of Japan. I am currently researching what possibilities there are in this field.


SPOnG: Can you say anything more about where this might be? The US? Europe?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: At the moment I cannot comment.


SPOnG: Obviously we’d love one in London!

Tsunekazu Ishihara: [laughs]


SPOnG: Okay, enough about the history, lets talk more about the two new DS games that are out in Europe next month Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl. What are the sales of these games to date in the US and Japan?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: To date, in Japan, Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl combined have sold in excess of five million units. Last month in the US, over a million units were sold in five days. So the expectation to exceed the Japanese sales [in the US] is very high.

And obviously next month the European version will be released and, looking at the market, it’s more dynamic than in the US, so the sales expectations are even higher.


SPOnG: Can you say what your sales expectations are for 2007?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: [laughs] Not in terms of our sales expectations, per se, but I do expect Europe to exceed Japan.


SPOnG: So more than five million in Europe?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: Yes.
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Comments

Ditto 15 Jun 2007 11:27
1/11
I haven't played the two latest editions, but I felt Ruby/Sapphire were a real step down from Gold and Silver. The first Pokemon games established a formula that was simple, addictive and polished, and in my mind Gold and Silver improved the formula (although there were too many Pokemon).

I found Ruby and Sapphire annoying to play - too many Pokemon, too many HMs (to the point where most of my Pokemon's moves were HMs) and no real innovation or worthwhile improvement over the formula established previously.

How do these new games fit in? Has SPOnG reviewed them?
Cat333pokemon 16 Jun 2007 08:22
2/11
The newest Pokémon games are the ultimate Pokémon games. They are an excellent step up from the previous iterations, especially Ruby & Sapphire. They bring back many elements from Gold & Silver like the Day/Night feature as well as many from Ruby & Sapphire, like Natures. It is a great game, especially with Wi-Fi. I can't wait to get a Wii and Pokémon Battle Revolution so I can battle in beautiful 3D ŕ la Pokémon Colosseum and XD.
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Adira 17 Mar 2008 23:29
3/11
Uhm, Tsunekazu Ishihara, I made up some pokemon myself, so can you put them in and ACTUAL game? I already did the pokedex. There are 156 of them. I'll draw them out. I'll tell you the starter pokemon: Sprout: Human leaf, Ragflint: Fire rabbit, and Aqaun: Water bear. I'll tell you their evolution later. But promise you'll write back okay? Ciao! (^0)
Tim Smith 18 Mar 2008 12:19
4/11
Adira wrote:
Uhm, Tsunekazu Ishihara, I made up some pokemon myself, so can you put them in and ACTUAL game? I already did the pokedex. There are 156 of them. I'll draw them out. I'll tell you the starter pokemon: Sprout: Human leaf, Ragflint: Fire rabbit, and Aqaun: Water bear. I'll tell you their evolution later. But promise you'll write back okay? Ciao! (^0)


Hi Adira,

Go on, tell us about them. In fact, send us pictures of them!

All the best

Tim
Adira 20 Mar 2008 20:22
5/11
I'll try but it'll take quite a while. How's about sending me the address and when I'm finish them, I'd send them to you ASAP. I promise!
Adira 20 Mar 2008 20:55
6/11
Adira wrote:
I'll try but it'll take quite a while. How's about sending me the address and when I'm finish them, I'd send them to you ASAP. I promise!


Er, here are the gym leaders with their pokemon and attacks:
Stonebridge City Gym badge: Gravel Badge
Sign: I’m the master of rock! ~ Steve
Pokemon:
Tyrannarock: Level 12
Attacks: rock throw
Quick attack
Defense curl
Rock slam

Roufe: Level 10
Attacks: Rock throw
Tackle
Rough edge
Stone tackle

Geodudette: level 10
Attacks: Quick attack
Defense curl
Rough edge
Skull bash
Digledude: Level 11
Attacks: Dig
Earthquake
Defense curl
Ground tackle

TM (when you win): Rough edge

Woodbridge City gym badge: Wood badge
Sign: Get your act together! Don’t let your guard down! Not even or a second! ~ Luke

Pokemon: Loggin: level 16
Attacks: Log roll
Timber
Cut
Grass knot




Sudowoodo: level 15
Attacks: Cut
Defense curl
Quick attack
Twig slap
Twiglly: level 14
Attacks: Grass knot
Grass whistle
Cut
timber
Woodoo: level 17
Attacks: Timber
Log roll
Log-o-lanche
Defense curl

TM (when you win): Log roll

Hydro City gym badge: Waterfall badge
Sign: Don’t let your spirits turn to rain! ~ Tiger
Pokemon: Oasis 20
Attack: Hydroblast
Water gun
Hydro pump
Surf

Phish 21
Attack: Brine
Sewage water
Ice water
Drip

Neptine 23
Attack: Muddy Water
Hot water
H2O
Tide


Hydrosian 25
Attack: Watery lick
Splash (does something this time)
Water slap
Dizzy punch

TM (when you win): H2O



Tumboring City: Fight badge
Sign: Fight your way to victory! ~Bruno
Pokemon: Boppity 27
Attack: Mega punch
Mega kick
Supreme skull bash
Light ball

Boppu 30
Attack: Offense curl
Wallop Punch
Mega slap
Roar

Machamp 32
Attack: Seismic toss
Rapid punch
Triple punch
Hi jump kick

Meditite 35
Attack: Psychic punch
Confusion
Amnesia
Meditate

TM (when you win): Supreme Skull Bash



Lightning City gym badge: Spark badge
Sign: I’ll put a spark in your spirit! ~ Molina!
Pokemon: Angela 40
Attack: Thundershock
Lightning
Spark
Thunder



Tunder 43
Attack: Indignation
Thunderstorm
Volt tackle
Slap


Lightenin 46
Attack: Thunderbolt
Shock
Lightning
Offense curl

Sparkim 47
Attack: Bounce
Sweet kiss
Play dead
Shock

TM (when you win): Shock


Treeleaf City gym badge: Pollen badge
Sign: I’ll burry you in leaves! ~ Yuseong
Pokemon: Sprout 50
Attack: Leaf cut
Sharp edge
Poke
Magical leaf
Twiggleaf 54
Attack: Leaf cut
Dry leaves
Magical leaf
Grass beam

Apulum 51
Attack: Bullet seed
Bite
Leaf drain
Ingrain

Autom 55
Attack: Grass tornado
Cut
Leaf blast
Leaf throw

Torterra 57
Attack: Earthquake
Leaf cut
Grass beam
Grass tornado

TM (when you win): Grass tornado

Glacierburg City gym badge: Freeze badge
Sign: I’ll cool your spirits! ~ Rwanda
Pokemon: Frosticoon 60
Ice beam
Hail
Blizzard
Avalanche

Snocoon 63
Attack: Frost bite
Dry ice
Snow blast
Frozenbolt
Icicle volt

Snorunt 62
Attack: Ice arrows
Glacier
Iceburg
Ice barrier
Abomnosno 65
Attack: Slush
Ice pellet
Ice blast
Icicle volt

TM(when you win): Dry ice


Cinderbridge City gym: Inferno badge
Sign: I’ll put a flare in your eyes! ~ Adira
Pokemon: Ragtorch 70
Attack: Fire blast
Fire spin
Blast burn
Cinder storm
Cyndaquil 75
Attack: Flame wheel
Flame barrier
Flame kick
Cinder bite
Blaziken 80
Attack: Blaze kick
Fire punch
Inferno blast
Flare

Cimchar 73
Attack: eruption
Fire wall
Flame volt
Fire beam
Ain't it crazy?! Just look at the levels! It'll be the hardest pokemon game EVER!! (Even for me!) It'll be the best game ever.
Just to let you know early, the legendary pokemon are: Yin, Yang (twin Pokemon) (like Taichi and Maichi) and Snoban (a snowman Pokemon)

adira 30 Apr 2008 22:38
7/11
Geh, hows about Pokemon: Platimun and Amethyst? Eh, Tsunekazu?? Eh, ehhhh?? ^-^ reply back to me if you have further questionnns! (sing song)
Rob 6 Jul 2008 12:26
8/11
Are you going to create a new pokemon game with all the worlds (Kanto, Jotho, Hoenn and Sinnoh) in it?
Ryan Lynn 17 Jun 2009 00:05
9/11
I WOULD LIKE TO ASK I DONT YOU COMBINE ALL THE POKEMON GAMES INTO ONE HUGE GAME. ALL THE FOUR WORLDS U HAVE CREATED. PUT THEM ALL INTO ONE GAMES AND START FROM KANTO LIKE ASK DOES.
Lucariofan 7 Jan 2010 17:43
10/11
Dear Mr ishihara the pokemon games are a part of my life and always will be i wanted to know if you could make a new pokemon evolution thanks!
vanyoucef 25 Oct 2010 23:05
11/11
Come see my drawings Pokémon new generation
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=8069&id=100001758482045&fbid=101265396608743
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