The latest episode of the Japanese program Imagine-Nation featured an interview with The Pokémon Company president Tsunekazu Ishihara and Bandai Namco’s Katsuhiro Harada about Pokkén Tournament.
In it, they touch upon various topics, including the possibility of a western release.
You can find their quoted comments below.
On the game’s audience:
“Considering that many of the people in the generation who experienced Red and Green are now nearing their thirties, and those who were in elementary school then are now in university, we aimed to make a game for those who grew up playing Pokémon—rather than just target children. The bottom line is, we want to show adults that this is the new Pokémon, and get them to play.” – Ishihara
On how it’s tough to make a game where you manipulate Pokemon directly:
“Players want to move around with a great deal of freedom and do a wide range of things, but the operability needs to be smooth as well. That’s probably the most important point. To be frank, with both Tekken and Soulcalibur, I’ve worked for the past 20 years on the pursuit of how to best organize copious amounts of animation into a product that can be animated smoothly and comfortably by players. That work has led to where I stand now, meaning I’ve given everything I’ve got to pull this off.” – Harada
On how it’s difficult to compete in the arcade game market:
“Players can quit a game after just one try if they find it boring. Seeing people quit after spending a hundred yen or even watching them play from behind and hearing their reactions firsthand can be very tough. There’ve been countless games that have been unable to re-coup their production costs after customers say things like ‘this is not fun’ or ‘this isn’t good at all!’ I mean, it’s all for nothing if nobody wants to play, even after spending a stupendous amount of money to develop the software, to cover the cost of the expense of the chassis, and the costly system that serves as the base. It can really be an unforgiving market.” – Harada
On the controls:
“Envisioning that our customers were Pokémon fans and maybe new to arcade games, we decided to forego the usual buttons-and-joystick approach common to arcade games, and opted for a controller people would be familiar with from home gaming, with the D-Pad, four buttons, and the L and R buttons. When they visit an arcade and see this controller, even those who play at home—which is now the trend—might just think ‘I can play this one’.” – Harada
On the possibility of a western release:
“I think the possibility definitely exists. Basically, as an arcade game we would like to push the boundaries of combining familiar Pokémon characters with new and unexpected ones in battle. We want to show people different kinds of Pokémon characters that they can actually use.” – Ishihara