Pokemon director explains MMO hesitance and sticking with handhelds

By Steve Watts, Sep 19, 2013 1:00pm PDT

Pokemon X and Y are marked visual changes from previous Pokemon games, especially due to the updated 3D art. Mechanically, though, the game is still following a familiar pattern on familiar platforms. Game director Junichi Masuda, who has been involved since the very beginning, recently explained his reasoning behind not taking the MMO plunge, and sticking with handhelds as the main platform of choice.

"Of course, we hear all the opinions we get from our fans about an MMORPG," game director Junichi Masuda told Venture Beat. "But right now, we're still unsure whether this core gameplay at the center of Pokémon--catching the Pokémon and raising them--would really translate well or really match the MMORPG format. Right now we think the best way for the widest possible audience to enjoy the games is the way we develop them now."

If Masuda seems tentative regarding an MMO, he's much more certain about handhelds being the proper home for Pokemon's main series. He explained that since the root of the franchise formed around trading, handheld devices are the best way to do that. Even though technology has allowed players to trade and battle online, remaining on Nintendo handhelds means kids can easily do those functions face-to-face as well.

"So one thing that we think is great about handhelds is that they facilitate both of these styles of play--going somewhere in real life and interacting in person as well as being able to play with other players over the Internet," he said. "So that's why we continue to develop on the handheld platforms."

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