Long-time fans of the Pokémon franchise may remember the early retro art style of Ken Sugimori, the illustrator of the artwork used for the original Pokémon games. Sugimori’s artstyle is much less bold, vibrant, and polished than the work in early games. That being said, it has its own charm and is fondly looked back on to this day. For instance, fans still love the original chubby Pikachu. But what if we revisited that pen and marker artstyle for a modern Pokémon title? Fans have solved that mystery, and the result is stunning.
A fan account has been posting images of what a Sugimori-inspired Pokémon game mght look like; the bio, which is in Japanese, explains that they are creating fan art of Pokémon from a different time. It’s a way to see characters and creatures from the original games through a new perspective, or bring the potential of an old title to life with modern upgrades. The account’s theme is that they’re producing lost titles from a space-time distortion; it’s a fun way to explore a long-lived and beloved franchise.
It’s definitely fascinating to imagine what a game like Pokémon Legends: Arceus might look like if it was done through this super nostalgic lens. The colors are muted and gentle, and the creatures that Red encounters are downright adorable. It’s worth watching the clip for the 3D chubby PIkachu alone, although there’s plenty of other recognizable ‘mons on the loose.
The account also shares a look at other fascinating alternate realities, like a Sword and Shield-era take on Pokémon Stadium. Characters like Grookey’s evolution Thwackey look very different filtered through N64-era graphics.
With such an expansive backlog of games across multiple systems and generations, it’s no surprise that fans enjoy mixing and matching the different styles from across the ages. While many of us have left the region of Kanto long behind, a video like this gives a big hit of nostalgia — and fans are already clamoring to see what an official take on this concept might look like.