Interviews// Tsunekazu Ishihara: The Pokémon Interview

I don’t see a language barrier...

Posted 14 Jun 2007 16:24 by
SPOnG: You?ve said in the past that you think of Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl as being ?the ultimate? Pokémon. Why are they?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: One of the elements that will make it the ultimate Pokémon is the fact that you can bring all of your Pokémon from the previous iterations to this game and they will be available to play on the DS version. Previously you could only trade and battle your Pokémon on a local basis. Now, with the WiFi mode, you can do that on a global basis. So, the fact that players from around the world can travel together and exchange Pokémon and battle ? this indeed suggests it is the ultimate Pokémon.

SPOnG: Is there no language barrier?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: Well let?s say, for arguments sake, that a Japanese player decides to exchange with a player in Germany. That name will appear in each others? respective language. So, although there are possibly a few limitations as far as language is concerned, generally I don?t see a language barrier in this Pokémon.

SPOnG: On the same topic, can you explain what the Global Trade Station is in the game? And how that works?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: Within the game itself a facility called the Global Trade Station will appear. It?s a fictitious institution in the game where you can trade and exchange your Pokémon with other players. However, this is connected via WiFi to a real server somewhere. So, you put up your Pokémon for trading and likewise someone, somewhere else is doing the same. So this is how you make the trading and exchanging of Pokémon happen.

SPOnG: Talking now more generally about Nintendo?s overall strategy with DS. A big part of that strategy is to increase the appeal to casual gamers or to those who might not previously have been considered hardcore gaming fans. What?s your overall impression of how this has gone to date?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: Indeed, hardware like the DS, which has such a broad appeal, with the fact that anyone can easily and instantly understand it? It?s certainly a ?welcome factor? for such a game like Pokémon which was originally designed with five-year-olds in mind. In that sense this broad appeal and the large installed base [of DS users]? I also hope that Pokémon can contribute to further increases in this [the number of DS users].

SPOnG: The latest figures were something like just over 40 million worldwide?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: Yes, you probably need to check with Nintendo on the exact figures!

SPOnG: Are you confident that the DS hardware will continue to sell at such a rapid rate?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: Well, I feel that Pokémon is a game that always gets released when the hardware is about to become quite mature ? in other words it is continuously selling ? which is what we have done with Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl. So we hope this will contribute to further [hardware] sales.

SPOnG: How many new Pokémon do we get with Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: In total, to date, there has been in excess of four hundred Pokémon and more than a hundred are new.

SPOnG: So what are your own personal favourites from the new Pokémon?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: [grins]These three ? Piplup, Turtwig and Chimcha (pictured here)

SPOnG: Lets talk a little now about about Wii and DS connectivity ? a big feature of Pokémon Battle Revolution is being able to play with DS,

Tsunekazu Ishihara: To put it simply, if you have a DS with either Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl inserted in it, and you are playing with your Pokémon and you have a copy of the Wii?s Battle Revolution, you will be able to use your Pokémon in the Wii version to fight against other Pokémon. In effect your DS becomes like the controller for the Wii.

SPOnG: So what are the plans for future versions on DS and Wii? Anything you can tell us about that?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: At present Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl are the DS games and Pokémon Battle Revolution will be the Wii game. So the emphasis here is to focus on the success of these titles, commercially, and then we will move onto the next project.

SPOnG: Okay, last quick question ? two criticisms I?ve noticed which crop up time and time again are that lots of gamers don?t like Friend Codes within the games and there has also been some criticism of Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl for still being in 2D instead of 3D. How do you respond to these criticisms?

Tsunekazu Ishihara: As you may know Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl include a feature which is very similar which is very similar to an IP, so you can chat to friends over the Internet via the WiFi connection. In this respect we have to be very careful about the security and we want to be careful that it is not possible to talk to complete strangers ? so in that respect it was necessary to have this [friend] code in place as a security measure. This is something I take very seriously.

The other elements that don?t require this code are already in there ? but they tend to be separated, these two - so that you chat with people that you only know and you trust. But other things like casually trading a Pokémon with someone, can be done without even knowing them. So, we have intentionally separated these elements.

Where privacy is needed we have put this measure in place. And where you want to play with lots of people that you don?t need to know, this is also available.

In respect to your second question, if you look at the map [indicates DS screen] you will notice that they are all designed in 3D. We just wanted to maintain the feel of what Pokémon used to be ? so it is the same feeling of walking through the town or the field or the map or whatever. So, we wanted to maintain the original idea of Pokémon being a game that you played on this big map. It is, physically, in three dimensions but it is designed in such a way that it doesn?t look like it is in three dimensions. Intentionally. So that we maintain the original feel of the game.

What most consumers refer to as 3D, they will be able to experience on the Wii version of Pokémon Battle Revolution.

So coming up with something new that doesn?t spoil what originally made it fun is quite a challenge and this is what we have put a lot of effort into, so this is why we decided on these visual effects.

SPOnG: Thank you for you time.
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Ditto 15 Jun 2007 10:27
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 07:22
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
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
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

Adira 20 Mar 2008 20:22
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
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
Tyrannarock: Level 12
Attacks: rock throw
Quick attack
Defense curl
Rock slam

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

Geodudette: level 10
Attacks: Quick attack
Defense curl
Rough edge
Skull bash
Digledude: Level 11
Attacks: Dig
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
Grass knot

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

Phish 21
Attack: Brine
Sewage water
Ice water

Neptine 23
Attack: Muddy Water
Hot water

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

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

Meditite 35
Attack: Psychic punch

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

Tunder 43
Attack: Indignation
Volt tackle

Lightenin 46
Attack: Thunderbolt
Offense curl

Sparkim 47
Attack: Bounce
Sweet kiss
Play dead

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
Magical leaf
Twiggleaf 54
Attack: Leaf cut
Dry leaves
Magical leaf
Grass beam

Apulum 51
Attack: Bullet seed
Leaf drain

Autom 55
Attack: Grass tornado
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

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

Snorunt 62
Attack: Ice arrows
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

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 21:38
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 11:26
Are you going to create a new pokemon game with all the worlds (Kanto, Jotho, Hoenn and Sinnoh) in it?
Ryan Lynn 16 Jun 2009 23:05
Lucariofan 7 Jan 2010 17:43
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 22:05
Come see my drawings Pokémon new generation
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