The latest Iwata Asks is in, and this time it’s about our cute, loveable pocket monsters and their foray into the unknown mystery dungeons. Satoru Iwata sits down with The Pokémon Company’s CEO Tsunekaz Ishihara, and Spike Chunsoft developers Shinichiro Tomie and Seiichiro Nagahata to talk about the latest instalment in the series, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, how it still works as a modern format, and how you came to play as the Pokémon protagonist.
Development for a Pokémon ‘roguelike’ dungeon-crawler had been in the works for some time, but it was Tomie who originally came up with the idea that the player is transformed into a Pokémon, in order to bring out the charm of the franchise.
“Ultimately, the question I sought to answer was: ‘How can I bring out the charm of the Pokémon?’ Actually, the first script I wrote was not one where you become a Pokémon, but something altogether different,” Tomie says. ”When I showed this script to Ishihara-san, however, I said I had another idea of my own and proceeded to tell him about it…”
Ishihara simply loved the idea of the player becoming a Pokémon, and that was when the spin-off series found a place of its own among the main franchise development. It allowed a certain charm and heart that no other ‘roguelike’ dungeon-crawler had experienced before, giving the player something to grasp onto when in a dire situation, and knowing that they couldn’t just give up when the fate of the world rested on their in-game success.
Later, Iwata asks why the team decided to bring ‘an ultimate version’ to the table, instead of two separate versions like the title’s predecessors. The developers chimed in by saying that they evidently thought it was unnecessary to bring a game with so much content by separating them into two different versions, so they gave us a much bigger version.
Ishihara said: “Simply put, we felt that one package was enough. The game already contains a number of different elements, including an enjoyable story, an adventure that involves scanning round objects, co-operative play, StreetPass features and more. We therefore thought it was simpler to just have one version – an ultimate version, if you will.
“I think this is our richest and densest title yet. Even if you get stuck on the story at some point, there are so many different ways of playing the game, it’s possible to try a different approach and still make progress.”
Iwata continues to ask the developers about a whole host of things throughout the interview, including how to create the perfect blend of easy and difficult modes for modern gamers, and how the Magnagates and AR were implemented to progress gameplay even in the trickiest of situations. To read Iwata Asks in full for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, you can see it here.