The exclusion of a possible feature to a game is something that’s rarely worth writing about. Primary features take more time than expected. The budget gets cut short. The team loses key developers. Lots of fun things can leave half-finished or untouched features. However, from an interview with Masuda Shigeru1:
Q:We noticed ORAS had a lower difficulty level compared to previous Pokemon games. What bought you to this decision? Any chance that future games will have the possibility to adjust difficulty level as seen in Black and White 2?
A:What? How come you’ve already played the games? hearty laughter [the games were supposed to come out in Italy the day after the interview] We created a “balanced” game that was suited for our time and age, where everyone is very busy and young people have various means of entertainment. Using smartphones and other devices they can access a great number of games, so the time they dedicate to a single game is less than in the past. The player can choose to keep on playing after the main story and continue to the post-game, where the difficulty rises and there are much more difficult Trainers and challenges to overcome.
Q:Why wasn’t the Battle Frontier in the remakes?
A:This question is connected with my previous answer. We didn’t put the BF in ORAS for this very reason. Interviewer’s note: In short he means that they didn’t include the BF because only a very small part of the players would have fully appreciated and made use of this feature; nowadays players get bored and frustrated more easily and they aren’t interested in things that are so demanding/challenging.
Read that for a minute. Think about that. Game Freak did not add in end game content because of their target audience’s attention span and inability to accept challenges. It also doesn’t fit in with the audience that play mobile games. If I may say something a bit loud? The Pokemon RPG is something that’s not supposed to compete with mobile games. A popular mobile game typically gives you the opportunity to make meaningful progress in 5-15 minute chunks (people who play Candy Crush understand why I say opportunity instead of just saying make meaningful progress). An RPG that can manage to get meaningful progress in such small chunks consistently is likely to suffer in gameplay or suffer in story. An RPG pattern is not really one to thrive in those conditions.
Now, I am just a humble player. However, if Game Freak were to go to me and ask me how to get a game that feels like Pokemon but is accessible to the target audience, here’s what I would tell them.
Go back to Pokemon Battle Revolution. Your hardcore fans hated it because it wasn’t Pokemon Stadium 3, and it had some other issues on top of it, but it’s exactly the pattern you want here. Give the player a short introduction, and then hand them their choice of a pregen team, each of which have a mascot (I would say Pikachu, one generation’s worth of starters, Eevee, and Riolu), and let them go to town with this team. Essentially, you’re getting rid of a lot of decision points early, and making it all about the battles. Focusing the progression on clumps of battles where you’re shooting for enough points to get to the final match (people who know Yu-gi-oh the show should be familiar with this format) and small elimination tournaments focuses the game on the 10 minute clumps and 30 minute clumps that you’d really want to do for a mobile style game.
From here, players have the opportunity to earn higher rank battles (with teams of more impressive Pokemon, up to and including legendaries), customization points and free agent Pokemon for their rank (allowing Stadium-like rental customization), different battle styles within the ranks, and even special challenges (like Stadium 2 teaching challenges, Pokemon XD’s challenge battles, and Pokestar Studios) keeping the focus of the game in these small chunks.
In all of this, you have a game that people who put some time into it can enjoy, people can progress in 10 minute chunks, and a path where you can keep difficulty controlled until people decide they want to progress further. Now this is what I’d love to see from a game that needed to appeal to mobile players.
If Nintendo were to release a game like this, would you consider playing it given no massive implementation problems? Give your thoughts below.
1:Original Article: http://www.pokemonmillennium.net/articoli/1345/intervista-eslusiva-junichi-masuda-e-shigeru-ohmori-ci-
Fan translation: http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/2olmtb/interview_with_masuda_on_oras_and_why_there_is_no/