How the New Creatures & 3D models of Pokemon X and Y were Built
It is no secret that Pokemon X and Y is a massive hit worldwide. The game sold 4 million copies in the first two days of its release worldwide (2.3 million of these were in Japan alone). Ken Sugimori, Pokeman’s character art director at Game Freak and the guy behind the look and feel of the character is feeling pretty amazing about it all!
More than anything though, Sugimori expressed in a recent interview that he was so happy they were finally out as the design team had had to have them ready by late 2012.
The director Junichi Masuda was emphatic that the scenes be properly researched and that the team should not just come up with stuff out of their heads. Since the game is set in Europe, the team actually had to travel to France to get ideas for the setting.
3D art director Takao Unno said they took elements of what they saw on their trip, “For example, you see wild hares all over the place in the mountains of Europe, so that’s what led to the rabbit-influenced Bunnelby.”
When asked which of the characters made the biggest impression on Sugimori, he said for sure, Xernaus and Yveltal, these are the two legendary creatures on the covers of each version. He also said that he had to get help with them as he was suffering from a bit of “artist’s block” and so he turned to a fellow art designer Yusuke Ohmura who worked on them for a while and then Sugimori finished them up.
3D Models of Pokeman X and Y
Takao Unno and the 3D team at Creatures had to create animated 3D models for each of the 700 or so Pokemon that have ever existed. That’s a mammoth task for sure! Unno said, “Going 3D for them has been in the back of our minds for a while, but we also all agreed that we didn’t want to go 3D if we’d wind up losing Sugimori’s artistic touch on the Pokemon in the process. So we stuck with pixel art for a while, but as time went on, I think we naturally started to think that it was time, in terms of our 3D skills and in terms of being able to use the 3D screen as well.”
Initially, Sugimori had some skepticism about going 3D — “if you think about it, it was really a madman’s idea,” he said. “It meant basically throwing away all of our 2D skills.”
So what was the reason for their success?
Unno said that it boiled down to an attention to detail. “Right at the very end,” he said, “we begged the programmers to add light or dark thicknesses to the outlines around each 3D model, so they’ll look closer to the 2D illustrations. I think that had a really huge effect on the results. Before that fix, the 3D models looked a lot more robotic, but now I think they’re much more like Pokemon.”
Have a look at this 5 min video review of Pokeman X and Y:
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