No. 15

Well, Kyushu (the southernmost of Japan’s four major islands)
is a great place.

My father and mother both are from Kurate county
in Fukuoka (a prefecture in Kyushu),
so I have many relatives living in Kyushu.

When I was a kid, my family went back to Kyushu during
summer vacation.
We would dive into the sea and catch fish
with spears, collect shellfish and crabs,
go fishing with rods, or with a net,
go to the river to catch crabs and shrimps,
catch sleeping fish in the river with hands at night,
and go hunting for beetles.

Now I realize all that we did was to catching something.
I had a great memory of all this.

Kyushu has a lot of mountains and also
the sea and the rivers are very clean.
So you can find lots of wildlife there.
And most importantly people are very friendly.
There is no place like Kyushu.

The Hoenn region in Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald is
modeled after Kyushu because I wanted to recatch
my memories of summer in Kyushu.

The concept of the Hoenn region is a place where
Pokemon and humans get along well, and also where
people can meet friends and develop relationships
with other people.
We designed the region with the importance of human
relationships and the warm heart of the Kyushu people
in mind.
(Ho in “Hoenn”「豊緑」means ‘rich’ and Enn means
‘green’ in Japanese kanji.)

The reason why the island is rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise
is because we thought it brings a better playability that way.

OK, Kyushu.ツ? I’ll visit there again.
Of course, on the way I will play Pokemon Emerald.


No. 14

Maps in Pokemon games look somewhat peculiar, don’t they?

The thing was, in order to include many graphics
of Pokemon and to save the ROM capacity,
our programmers had to sacrifice something.
To cope with the problem, we came up with the idea of
using roads.

Oftentimes limitations like this can make a game
more entertaining.

For example, the maximum number of letters
you can use for Pokemon names and moves are fixed.
Also, the player can carry only 6 Pokemon
and 4 moves at hand.
This kinds of limitations I think contribute greatly
to the playability of the game.

When we were developing Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire,
we went back to where we started
and discussed changing the number of Pokemon
you can carry, or the number of moves Pokemon can learn,
but in the end we came to the conclusion that
the original numbers were the best, and that
not one more or less would make the game more fun.

Limitations force us to think harder and
they can bring many difficulties, of course,
but I try to think that they are what “forces us to
think of ways to polish up our products so that
they are of the highest quality.”
So, limitations are important to us.