As an old school fan of the Pokemon series who still remembers bringing home Pokemon Blue from Electronics Boutique and playing it on Game Boy all through the night with his little brother (who had his copy of Pokemon Red) all the way back in 1998, it still seems preposterous to say that Pokemon is closing in on thirty years of existence.
If Pokemon COO Takato Utsunomiya has his way however, thirty years will be only be the tip of the Avalugg when it comes to the series’ enduring presence.
“I spend all day every day thinking about Pokémon,” Utsunomiya said when asked what his current role was at The Pokemon Company in a recent interview with The Guardian. “Our goal is to keep Pokémon alive for hundreds of years, making sure it survives well past our lifetimes.”
Utsunomiya acknowledged that it’s important to satiate old school fans of the Pokemon franchise who have been there since the game’s nascency, but that there should be equal importance placed on the difficult task of making sure that younger fans are able to discover and fall in love with the series much like the preceding generations did.
“It’s easy to just focus on adults,” he continued. “They have a lot of disposable income, you can see their reactions in real time on social media.
“But we need to make sure that we are still keeping the younger kids interested. Kids are very honest – they won’t play something they don’t like. If your brand feels old or boring, they will immediately dismiss it.”
One way Utsunomiya believes the game can be kept au courant for younger generations is by placing more emphasis on the different habitats of the myriad Pokemon in the series and how said Pokemon interact with their environments as well.
“In the original games, there’s quite a gap between the descriptions in the Pokédex and what you actually saw in the game,” Utsunomiya said. “But starting with [Pokémon] Legends Arceus and Scarlet & Violet, you see [Pokémon like] Bidoof creating dens in the game, and you have Pokémon travelling in packs.
“So there’s a newfound realism of their setting. When it comes to delivering the descriptions seen in the original Pokédex … there’s a lot more we can do there.”
Do you think Pokemon will be around for hundreds of years like The Pokemon Company COO Takato Utsunomiya hopes? Let us know in the comments.