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Junichi Masuda Initially Thought “Pokemon Were Too Cute To Be Successful In The U.S”

USGamer has conducted an email interview with Pokemon director, designer, and composer Junichi Masuda. The interview touches on a number of things including the initial concept and how the team thought it would be received in the United States. As we know, it proved to be a huge hit but the team weren’t sure that was going to happen.

“At first, we were told that the Pokemon were too cute to be successful in the U.S. and that we should change the design of the characters. At the time, it wasn’t common for RPGs from Japan to be popular overseas. I remember being worried that players outside of Japan wouldn’t accept Pokemon for what it was.”

“We decided to start with the animated TV series,” Masuda says, “and I think that strategy really paid off.”

“Once I arrived in the U.S., I saw just how many Pokemon products were on store shelves. There were far more products than I expected, and I remember being very surprised,” he recalls. “Seeing the sheer number of products available in the shops was probably the first time I truly realized just how big Pokemon had become.”


18 thoughts on “Junichi Masuda Initially Thought “Pokemon Were Too Cute To Be Successful In The U.S””

  1. It was a pretty fair analysis to be honest. Most cutesier elements from Japan die a horrible death in the west. The west tends to prefer more adult and masculine IP’s. Skyrim and The Witcher beat Final Fantasy boy band teams. The west popularized Mortal Kombat.

    Not a judgement. I love japanese games. I just think a lot of eastern devs have missed out on sales for not recognizing the aesthetic that tends to sell in the west. The Gamecube as an entire generation is a pretty solid example. While Sony and Microsoft were aiming for Grand Theft Auto, Halo, Devil May Cry, and Metal Gear Solid, Ninty was promoting it’s most childish art style for Zelda ever, and Pikmin.

  2. I remember when I first heard of Pokemon.
    They described it as an RPG game where you evolve monsters. I pictured a game similar to E.V.O. The Search For Eden. Where you spend points to evolve the legs, head, body, etc.
    Personally, as cool as Pokemon was to me, I still would like to see the game I imagined.

  3. I hate how they think that we won’t Like the same things in the west as in Japan! We im sure we like the same shizz!

    (remembers japan’s tentacle, youny Girls, video game girlfriends,and panties in vending machine fetishes..)

    Oh yeah..

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