Game Freak chose to name the latest installments in the Pokemon franchise X and Y after the world's axis, as a way to convey the idea that all players exist on the same plan despite our differences, director Junichi Masuda said in a recent Iwata Asks feature.
According to Masuda, X and Y represent the x horizontal axis and the y vertical axis. These two axis will always intersect somewhere, and Masuda explained this is the cross-section where people who have different views meet. All languages, cultures and mindsets, no matter what environment they are in, will overlap somewhere.
"The world holds people with all sorts of ways of thinking, and you can get a sense that they exist in different dimensions," Masuda explained. "But if you think of them as people who think on the x axis and people who think on the y axis — horizontal and vertical axes — then they intersect somewhere.
"We may think differently, but we all live on the same planet, so everyone eats, sleeps and goes about their business day after day just like everyone else," he added.
Masuda added that using letters to convey this idea of cultural meeting points – and a simultaneous international release — was easier to convey with letters than colors. This is why the new 3DS Pokemon games don't carry color monikers.
"So we consulted a lot of people, like [character designer] (Ken) Sugimori-san, and eventually decided this route was simple and easy to understand," Masuda said. "And while the pronunciation of the letter may change by country, the shape of the letter is the same the world over-for example, we say 'ekkusu' for the letter X in Japanese, but in French they say 'ix'-so in that way too, it was an appropriate way to name these games."
Pokemon X and Y will launch worldwide this Saturday, Oct. 12. Read Polygon's review here.