Today marks the second day of the Pokémon World Championships 2023 in Yokohama, an event that is already becoming one of the biggest Pokémon events in history. With side-events to celebrate the championships, game dev Atsushi Nagashima managed to find time to sit down with the press and pull back the curtain a little bit.
Among the topics of discussion, the game dev veteran discussed how certain Pokémon are chosen as features, what their design philosophy is, and even revealed he pretty much "knows" what a meta is going to be.
Check out below all questions made:
We credit ScreenRant, IGN, TheGamer and Meristation for the interview.
First, could you explain what a director does? - IGN
"So as the executive director of the card development team, I oversee mechanics, game development, as well as art, illustrations, pretty much everything that goes into developing and creating a card." -Atsushi Nagashima
What is the process like of when you put out a really good card, and how you deal with that? And do you specifically design ways to deal with that strong card? - IGN
"So first, to create a strong card for the environment, one, there's an intentional creation, we want to create a strong card. And then there's the second part when there's a deck that seems to just carry on, and so it just lives long, it's been played long. So then we think about how to balance it out with a certain deck. So there are multiple approaches to creating a strong card." - Atsushi Nagashima
"So for the Mew VMAX example, yes, there were some cards that were intentionally created to counter; however, there were other cards that were just in the process of creating. So it's not necessarily that we focus on one thing." - Atsushi Nagashima
I'm curious about how your team handles the introduction of new Pokémon. How early in the process are you involved in that? And do you have any influence over maybe the design or any aspects of new Pokémon? - TheGamer
"So in general, it takes around a year to develop a set. So for new Pokémon I would know about in the middle of the development phase, I would know more details of these new Pokémon." - Atsushi Nagashima
"So the difficult part is that even through that process, details change for these new Pokémon. So that becomes a challenge when creating a game and developing the game. So sometimes I wonder if I remember things correctly because for certain Pokémon, the details may change very quickly." - Atsushi Nagashima
"So the priority of introducing see New Pokémon is to ensure that the characteristics of that Pokémon are shown in the card itself, you really want to make sure that it's true to how the Pokémon are depicted in the game as well as in the card. So when it's a new one, we try to be really true and follow the rules, per se." - Atsushi Nagashima
I was wondering if there were ever any designs that the team really loved that just didn't quite fit into a set, what the process is when that happens? And if you've ever had that and then brought a set or brought a design from the previous one that got discarded and put it into a new set once it fit? - Screen Rant
"So we come up with the varieties of logics, and attacks, and data, at first. And then from there, we piece together, should this come at the first set of the season? Should this come in the later part of the piece? But at the very beginning, we come up with a number, tons and tons, of different ideas." - Atsushi Nagashima.
"So actually, the tag team mechanic and the data was actually initially concepted during the BW era." - Atsushi Nagashima.
Every time you release a new expansion, do you know where the meta is going to go or is just a responsibility of the players? - Meristation
"So in basic terms, I know where the meta is going to go. I will predict that and it will follow that. But these days there are many players and there could be some things that I do not think about. So it could be a variety based on the players too. But in general, I do see. I do foresee the meta." - Atsushi Nagashima