Pokemon 3D, an independent project to finally bring the 16-year-old franchise into the 3D space — a feat it's heretofore only accomplished with spin-offs of the core series — garnered a lot of attention this week when its first playable build launched.
The game's sole creator is 17-year old German resident Nils Drescher, whose appreciation of the franchise is truly second to none. In an email interview with Polygon, Drescher explained that he's played every entry in the core Pokemon series — that includes every version of any given generation, like Gold, Silver, Crystal and so on.
However, all of the entries in the core handheld franchise — even Pokemon Black Version 2 and White Version 2, which launched earlier this year — have retained the top-down format of the series' first installment, something Drescher (like many Pokemon fans) wished to change.
"It has always been my dream to have a Pokemon game in 3D," Drescher explained. "I was joking around with some friends that I just could create my own game and so I did. I don't blame Game Freak or Nintendo for not making a 3D Pokemon game at all. I am respectful of all their work."
"I think this will be some kind of endless development."
An additional dimension isn't the only element Drescher said he'd like to bring to the series. Pokemon 3D allows multiple players to explore the game world simultaneously, rather than sticking them in standalone lobbies for trading and battling.
"I think trading and battling with a friend are awesome features, and Game Freak implemented those from the beginning," Drescher said. "But what was missing is that you can't adventure the world of Pokemon together with a friend, similar to the anime or manga. You should be able to walk around together, facing each other in battle or just talk to each other in the open world.
"I am not quite sure about a MMO, because people might get annoyed by having too many people around. This could ruin the feeling of Pokemon, where the player is the one and only Pokemon master. So you could limit the multiplayer experience to four-player co-op or something similar."
But Drescher acknowledged that some iconic elements of the franchise — namely, each game's unwavering formula which begins with choosing from three starter Pokemon and ending with a climactic battle with the Elite Four — are too risky to tamper with.
"I think things like that are what people love, and it might not be that rewarding to change those core mechanics," Drescher said. "It would be an interesting experiment though to see how people react to those changes in gameplay."
"Seriously, I would love a sequel to Wario Land 4."
Drescher decided to start down the path of game development nearly three years ago, when he began teaching himself the programming required to get the game to a playable state. It reached that state earlier this week, but Drescher said he wasn't sure when he'll be able to consider Pokemon 3D "finished."
"I think this will be some kind of endless development," Drescher said. "Since the basic gameplay mechanics are done, I want to release full versions and updates for them rather then weekly builds.
"I am very happy that people like my game. There are some bugs, and it's okay when people are complaining about them. But they have to keep in mind that I am developing this game all on my own so it always takes some time for me to fix bugs or respond to feedback.
"Also, I have to worry about my 'real life,' too," Drescher added.
Of course, just because he's not close to being finished with Pokemon 3D doesn't mean Drescher doesn't think about the other classic games he'd like to see redone in 3D.
"Seriously, I would love a sequel to Wario Land 4," Drescher said. "That game was brilliant and maybe you can make it even more awesome by adding a 3D mode to the game. But I don't think that I am going to work on something like that. I'll let Nintendo think about that one."