August 28, 2019

We Interview DeNA’s Yu Sasaki about Pokémon Masters

DeNA’s Yu Sasaki shares some insider details about the new Pokémon Masters game.

Pokémon Masters is the exciting new battling and strategy game for iOS and Android devices, and it's a whole new take on the world of Pokémon. To find out more about what went into the creation of this game, we went straight to the source: producer Yu Sasaki from DeNA, the game's developer. Here's what he had to say about Pokémon Masters!


Getting Started

Pokemon.com: What other games have you worked on previously?

Yu Sasaki: Previously I worked on Final Fantasy Record Keeper, another DeNA mobile game.

Pokemon.com: What was your experience with Pokémon before you began working on Pokémon Masters?

Mr. Sasaki: I have played Pokémon since the very first game came out.

Pokemon.com: What was it like to collaborate with Ken Sugimori?

Mr. Sasaki: It was a great honor to have artwork drawn by Ken Sugimori himself for this game.


Trainers of Pokémon Masters

Pokemon.com: How did you choose which Pokémon Trainers to include in the game at launch?

Mr. Sasaki: We looked at a variety of factors, such as the popularity of individual Trainers, but Pokémon is also a franchise with a long and storied history, and we wanted to make sure we drew on Trainers from throughout that history, without having too many Trainers coming from just one area.

Pokemon.com: How do you flesh out characters who have had minimal screen time in the Pokémon RPGs? Did you work with people at The Pokémon Company to make sure your new details were in canon?

Mr. Sasaki: We have worked with The Pokémon Company closely on details in the game, and they have of course checked our new details to make sure they fit in the world of Pokémon. One of the major new features of this game—and the content that we want to highlight—is the interaction between various Trainers. Players will be able to enjoy new and exciting interactions between Trainers who may not have interacted before.

To create these interactions, we considered the personalities and backgrounds of these Trainers and made sure that our content did not deviate from that. If a character would never say or do a certain thing, we made sure that they do not in our game.

Pokemon.com: Are you planning to add characters from spin-off Pokémon games, like Pokémon Snap or Pokémon Colosseum? Will any professor characters make an appearance?

Mr. Sasaki: We are looking into the possibility of featuring some of the professor characters in the future. At this point, we have nothing to share about featuring characters from the spin-off Pokémon games.

Pokemon.com: Tell us about the design process of creating a new team of villains in the Pokémon world. What are the characteristics of Team Break?

Mr. Sasaki: The villainous organizations are a core feature of the Pokémon world, so from the beginning of the design process for this game we have been in discussion with The Pokémon Company about how to bring them into the game. We do not have a lot to share about Team Break at this moment, but they do all wear masks.


Digging into Details

Pokemon.com: What are the plans for new content in Pokémon Masters? How often do you plan to reveal or release new content?

Mr. Sasaki: We are planning to release new content every month for players to enjoy.

Pokemon.com: Why did you go with 3-on-3 battles and not 2-on-2 battles like the popular RPG Double Battles format?

Mr. Sasaki: We wanted to highlight the strategy element for the Pokémon battles in our game, and after various considerations—including that our combat is in real time—we decided that 3-on-3 battles would be best.

Pokemon.com: How challenging do you expect Pokémon Masters to get at its most difficult? Do you plan to reserve truly challenging gameplay for higher-level Pokémon players?

Mr. Sasaki: At launch, we have some difficult gameplay for the higher-level Pokémon players, and going forward we plan to add new challenging content for these players to enjoy.

Pokemon.com: Who is the music composer? What other games have they worked on? Is the music original for this game, or is the soundtrack comprised of new arrangements of classic Pokémon music?

Mr. Sasaki: Unfortunately, we cannot share details about the specific composer, but I can tell you that the soundtrack for the game includes both original music and classic music from the world of Pokémon. For example, some of the Trainers already have particular music from other games that we have incorporated into our game.


One Last Thing...

Pokemon.com: If you were a Pokémon master, which Pokémon would you choose to be your partner?

Mr. Sasaki: When I played Pokémon for the very first time, I chose Squirtle, so I would choose to partner with Squirtle again.





Many thanks to Mr. Sasaki for taking the time to answer our questions about the development of Pokémon Masters. For more information about this new release, be sure to check out the official site.

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