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Pokemon Dev Says Ruby/Sapphire Were The Hardest Pokemon Games To Make

The series' first GBA installments posed the biggest problem.


Following a successful title is a daunting task for any developer, but that's especially true for a series as popular as Pokemon. Pokemon director Junichi Masuda recently revealed to Game Informer that the series' first Game Boy Advance installments, Ruby and Sapphire, were actually the most challenging Pokemon titles to make.

Part of the reason Ruby and Sapphire posed such a problem for Game Freak was due to the Game Boy Advance's hardware, which was more powerful than what the developers were accustomed to. "With Ruby and Sapphire, the screen got a little longer and it was a different aspect ratio, [and it had] a lot more colors and sound channels so the tech was improved dramatically," Masuda said. "It allowed us to do a lot more and gave us more freedom, but at the same time it made it take a lot longer to do things and was more resource-intensive."

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Now Playing: E3 2014: Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Trailer at Nintendo Press Conference

The biggest challenge, according to Masuda, was following the success of the series' first full sequels, Pokemon Gold and Silver, which arrived during the crest of the Pokemon phenomenon. Following their release, however, many felt the series had run its course. "After Gold and Silver came out, it was a huge hit around the world, but shortly after everyone was saying, 'That's it. The Pokemon fad is over! It's dead!'" Masuda said. "At the time, the atmosphere and general thinking was that the Pokemon fad was over and there was huge pressure to prove people wrong."

Masuda revealed he was so stressed during the games' development that he was at one point hospitalized. "I got really stressed out and had to go to the hospital and had some stomach issues and had to get a camera inserted and they didn't know what it was--very stressful," Masuda said. "The night before release I had a dream that it was a complete failure, a total nightmare."

Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire originally released in the US in 2003. The games would be remade a decade later for 3DS as Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Along with improved visuals, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire built upon the original games with a number of new elements, including Mega Evolution, new story scenarios, and more.

The Pokemon series' next installments, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, are slated to arrive on November 17. Like Sun and Moon before them, the pair are set in the Alola region but tell an "alternate story." Players who purchase either title before January 10, 2018 will receive a free bonus: a special Rockruff that can evolve into the newly revealed Dusk Form Lycanroc.

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