Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver may be remakes of ten-year old Pokémon games but this pair of adventures are two of the most exciting releases of the year. You see, not only are Game Freak reaching out to Pokémon fans who loved the originals but by adding elements from Pokémon Platinum they have also created the ultimate Pokémon adventures. This was something the chaps at Game Freak were keen to point out during our exclusive interview.
Answering our questions were Shigeki Morimoto, the director of HeartGold/SoulSilver who has been with Game Freak from the beginning; Junichi Masuda, the producer of HG/SS who has been involved with Pokémon since the first game; and Shigeru Ohmori, Game Freak's planner who is responsible for game design.
They answered our questions honestly, telling us why they remade Gold and Silver, if they would consider reinventing the series and why everyone should buy HeartGold/SoulSilver!
ONM: Why did you decide to remake these Pokémon games in particular and did you realise how much love fans have for the originals?
Shigeki Morimoto: It has been ten years since Gold and Silver launched and we felt it was the best timing to create remakes since there are more people who have not played the original Game Boy titles.
The originals are loved by fans because we believe we added so much fun gameplay that we couldn't when we created Red and Green (Red and Blue outside of Japan).
Junichi Masuda: It was our second major release and I think the new gameplay we added was more extensive than players expected. I also believe adding the Kanto Region played a big role in why it's a fan favourite.
ONM: Why did you introduce the Pokéwalker? Do you think it will make Pokémon fans more active?
Shigeru Ohmori: Pokémon Pikachu (a Pikachu-themed pedometer) went on sale at the same time as Gold and Silver. We thought those who played Gold and Silver had great memories of both. That's what influenced us to think about including it in the game.
The Pokéwalker is different from Pocket Pikachu. You can walk with any Pokémon you like. I really enjoy seeing what Pokémon other players travel with.
Shigeki Morimoto: I think it will make Pokémon fans more active. Many of my friends told me they bring their Pokéwalker with them any time they go out.
ONM: Pokémon haven't followed the main character around for the whole game since Pokémon Yellow Version. Why did you decide to reintroduce this?
Shigeki Morimoto: In the new games, I wanted to make the Pokémon world richer and having a variety of Pokémon with you throughout the journey helps achieve that.
ONM: Pokémon is now over 15 years old. In that time have you ever considered reinventing the series or do you think fans like the fact that it's familiar?
Junichi Masuda: If we thought totally reinventing the series would be attractive enough, we would definitely try. But, if we want to simply try something new, then, I just add those ideas to a new series. (laugh) I always try to create a game that anybody, including those who have never played before, can enjoy.
Shigeki Morimoto: I consider every possibility. I think the games need something familiar combined with new elements.