Pokemon X and Y Art Director Struggled With Legendaries' Designs

Pokemon X and Y Art Director Struggled With Legendaries' Designs

Pokemon X and Y Xerneas and Yveltal

With over 700 Pokemon now in existence, artist's block is bound to happen at some point.

Fact is, there's a lot of Pokemon. With the addition of Pokemon X and Y, over 700 Pokemon exist in the series. Character art director Ken Sugimori is responsible for managing the team that designs each Pokemon, and he admits to having particular trouble with the designs for the new pair of legendary Pokemon, Xerneas and Yveltal.

"I was talked with designing both of those, and I ran into a total wall in the process," Sugimori told Famitsu. "So I gave the task over to [fellow art designer Yusuke] Ohmura for a while, and once he made some headway on it, I took it back over to finish it off... I've designed a lot of the legendary Pokemon over the years, but for whatever reason, it was really hard to come up with the concepts this time around."

Both Xerneas and Yvletal are designed with their respective versions in mind; the antlers of Xerneas form the top part of an X, while Yveltal's wings, body, and tail form a Y.

Because Pokemon X and Y features 3D models, the art team had to finalize designs early in development. Most of their designs were completed by late 2012.

Sugimori added that Game Freak director Junichi Masuda told the art team to avoid creating concepts for Pokemon from their own minds. Instead the team traveled to Europe, France in particular, for inspiration. For example, 3D art director Takao Unno said wild hares inhabit mountainous regions of Europe, which led to the Pokemon Bunnelby. "I mean, it was to the point where you'd see rabbit holes butt right up against the road once you went out in the country," he said.

Certain Pokemon were easy to design. The new evolution for Eevee, fairy-type Sylveon was designed with cuteness in mind. "Generally speaking, with the straight-on cute Pokemon like that, you can leave those to [designer Atsuko] Nishida, and you'll never go wrong that way," Sugimori said. "What you see in the game is pretty much exactly what she submitted to me."

Pokemon X and Y added Pokemon designed after keys, swords, lions, and even a Pokemon that will only evolve if you hold your 3DS upside down. Designing so many Pokemon over the years has got to be taxing. Some come into life easily like Sylveon; others are less cooperative at first. Would we expect legendary Pokemon to behave any other way?

Source: Famitsu via Polygon

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I've bought, played and enjoyed every single Pokemon game since Red and Green. Crystal is my favourite, followed closely by Emerald. I'm no genwunner, I'm saying. But I feel that while the designs of Pokemon haven't gotten worse, they've gotten less consistent. See, I'm fine with a magnet Pokemon, a trashbag Pokemon, an ice cream Pokemon - no problems. My issue is the varying quality of a lot of Pokemon, quality that's changed over time. Some designs are complicated, while others lack a lot of detail, so we're left with a mixture of creatures that look amiss, as if they belong in different worlds.

Anyone understand me?

I like these legendary-designs a lot.

Just by looking at them you wouldn't necessarily spot the shapes of Y and X (and Z), but once you see it it's obvious. Clever, really.

I prefer these version mascot-designs over Diamond/Pearl and Black/White easily.

Maiev Shadowsong:
I've bought, played and enjoyed every single Pokemon game since Red and Green. Crystal is my favourite, followed closely by Emerald. I'm no genwunner, I'm saying. But I feel that while the designs of Pokemon haven't gotten worse, they've gotten less consistent. See, I'm fine with a magnet Pokemon, a trashbag Pokemon, an ice cream Pokemon - no problems. My issue is the varying quality of a lot of Pokemon, quality that's changed over time. Some designs are complicated, while others lack a lot of detail, so we're left with a mixture of creatures that look amiss, as if they belong in different worlds.

Anyone understand me?

Do you mean that the designs of older Pokemon differ from the newer ones?

That might be the case but I don't have a major issue with it; I just think of them as being from different parts of the world.

Just take existing animal of any family and make them look really, really fucking stupid.

That's what Pokemon has been doing since generation 3. It ran out of ideas by Gold and Silver.

Still, the legendaries actually look really good, which suprised me (considering how many pokemon are, literally, just inanimate objects.)

Waiting for the next slew of comments subliminally calling him a liar because they think the new Pokemon look like lazy shit according to their own subjective opinion.

dylanmc12:
Just take existing animal of any family and make them look really, really fucking stupid.

That's what Pokemon has been doing since generation 3. It ran out of ideas by Gold and Silver.

Still, the legendaries actually look really good, which suprised me (considering how many pokemon are, literally, just inanimate objects.)

And they haven't been doing that since gen 1?

I guess Rattata and Raticate are based on some otherwordly mythical creature.

I would like to bet they have several protype/ scraped Pokemon in the office somewhat that could be really cool to used if the public seen them!
Well it either that or come up with the design on the remaining existing animals out there (they have yet made a Dolphin or Koala) or make a new Pokemon desing out of the type combo they haven't made yet (Fighting electric) but again the latter can be both a good and bad idea.

Dragonbums:

dylanmc12:
Just take existing animal of any family and make them look really, really fucking stupid.

That's what Pokemon has been doing since generation 3. It ran out of ideas by Gold and Silver.

Still, the legendaries actually look really good, which suprised me (considering how many pokemon are, literally, just inanimate objects.)

And they haven't been doing that since gen 1?

I guess Rattata and Raticate are based on some otherwordly mythical creature.

Yeah of course, Everyone knows Master Splinter is an alien now :P

DVS BSTrD:

Dragonbums:

dylanmc12:
Just take existing animal of any family and make them look really, really fucking stupid.

That's what Pokemon has been doing since generation 3. It ran out of ideas by Gold and Silver.

Still, the legendaries actually look really good, which suprised me (considering how many pokemon are, literally, just inanimate objects.)

And they haven't been doing that since gen 1?

I guess Rattata and Raticate are based on some otherwordly mythical creature.

Yeah of course, Everyone knows Master Splinter is an alien now :P

Of course. How can I forget. Silly me.

Serious about Splinter being an alien though? Last time I heard, he was affected by mutant sludge just like the turtles.

Dragonbums:

DVS BSTrD:

Dragonbums:

And they haven't been doing that since gen 1?

I guess Rattata and Raticate are based on some otherwordly mythical creature.

Yeah of course, Everyone knows Master Splinter is an alien now :P

Of course. How can I forget. Silly me.

Serious about Splinter being an alien though? Last time I heard, he was affected by mutant sludge just like the turtles.

It's from the Michael Bay reboot script Movie Bob talked about awhile back.

That was an interesting read. I'm actually really in to creature design in general so pokemon is definitely one of my favorite franchises if only for that reason.
While I don't really care for Xerneas, it makes sense for what type of creature it was and what the designer's goals were.
I thought Yvletal was really, really inspired though, since Y isn't a body shape that can easily be pulled off.
I actually thought the new pokemon in these games over all were really unquie.
I mean we got a T-Rex, a Luchador, a Goshawk, and a Pumpkin inspired pokemon this time around.

There Are still so many animals and objects that Game Freak can still draw from.
...like Flamingos.
...I'd very much like a Flamingo pokemon.

Well, power to him, those new designs were pretty impressive.

They've done Japan, the US and now Western Europe. I reckon they should try basing the next games off Australia. I'm not just tooting my own country's horn here, Australia has heaps of unique and interesting animals not found anywhere else, plus we've got a few mythical creatures from Aboriginal folklore that would make good legendaries. I'd like to see what Mr Sugomori and co would do with a legendary Pokemon based off the bunyip, or the Rainbow Serpent or Tiddalik the frog.

The Pokemon Xerneas's design is probably my favorite out of the two. Probably because of it's adult-like structure with the horns being all creative and having crystals on them. It just also looks unique in a sense.

Apart from that, I know exactly how an artist block feels. Really sucks let me tell you lol.

Balmong7:

Dragonbums:

DVS BSTrD:
Yeah of course, Everyone knows Master Splinter is an alien now :P

Of course. How can I forget. Silly me.

Serious about Splinter being an alien though? Last time I heard, he was affected by mutant sludge just like the turtles.

It's from the Michael Bay reboot script Movie Bob talked about awhile back.

You have got to be kidding me.

You know what? I may go to see that movie not because it will be any good. But because it sounds so fucking stupid that I have to see it for myself.

I really like both Xerneas and Yveltal's designs, it's design has partly made Xerneas one of my favorites for the 6th gen. In fact I would say Legendaries have been getting better designs in recent games as they are becoming more important to the story lines.

I'll admit Reshiram is a strange looking dragon, but I love how it has an unconventional design, but it still keeps the fundamentals of what a dragon is supposed to look like. Same thing with Giratina.

Though I'm a bit disappointed in the third Pokemon in the X and Y trio. I'm not going to say it's name as it could spoil something for people still playing.

Dragonbums:
Waiting for the next slew of comments subliminally calling him a liar because they think the new Pokemon look like lazy shit according to their own subjective opinion.

And since when do posts have to be factual? Opinions don't count anymore? You not liking other peoples opinions is also just your opinion.

OT: I actually like Xerneas and Yvletal designs. They both have that mystical look to them that legendary's should have. Meanwhile Gamefreak could have done a better job on the other pokemon in my opinion.

Saucycarpdog:

Dragonbums:
Waiting for the next slew of comments subliminally calling him a liar because they think the new Pokemon look like lazy shit according to their own subjective opinion.

And since when do posts have to be factual? Opinions don't count anymore? You not liking other peoples opinions is also just your opinion.

OT: I actually like Xerneas and Yvletal designs. They both have that mystical look to them that legendary's should have. Meanwhile Gamefreak could have done a better job on the other pokemon in my opinion.

and did I claim that my comment was fact?

Dragonbums:

Saucycarpdog:

Dragonbums:
Waiting for the next slew of comments subliminally calling him a liar because they think the new Pokemon look like lazy shit according to their own subjective opinion.

And since when do posts have to be factual? Opinions don't count anymore? You not liking other peoples opinions is also just your opinion.

OT: I actually like Xerneas and Yvletal designs. They both have that mystical look to them that legendary's should have. Meanwhile Gamefreak could have done a better job on the other pokemon in my opinion.

and did I claim that my comment was fact?

I wasn't stating that you said that. I was saying that your comment was also an opinion after you said anyone who disagreed with the designs are just opinions. So, since you said your were waiting for these, what's wrong with thinking some of the designs are bad?

Saucycarpdog:

Dragonbums:

Saucycarpdog:
And since when do posts have to be factual? Opinions don't count anymore? You not liking other peoples opinions is also just your opinion.

OT: I actually like Xerneas and Yvletal designs. They both have that mystical look to them that legendary's should have. Meanwhile Gamefreak could have done a better job on the other pokemon in my opinion.

and did I claim that my comment was fact?

I wasn't stating that you said that. I was saying that your comment was also an opinion after you said anyone who disagreed with the designs are just opinions. So, since you said your were waiting for these, what's wrong with thinking some of the designs are bad?

I was literally just pointing out an observation.

With the amount of people saying that the designs of today are lazy pieces of shit, it wouldn't surprise me that when Sugimori talks about how hard it is to design Pokemon people will claim either outright or subliminally that he's full of shit because they think his designs are lazy and uninspired.

Dragonbums:

Saucycarpdog:

Dragonbums:

and did I claim that my comment was fact?

I wasn't stating that you said that. I was saying that your comment was also an opinion after you said anyone who disagreed with the designs are just opinions. So, since you said your were waiting for these, what's wrong with thinking some of the designs are bad?

I was literally just pointing out an observation.

With the amount of people saying that the designs of today are lazy pieces of shit, it wouldn't surprise me that when Sugimori talks about how hard it is to design Pokemon people will claim either outright or subliminally that he's full of shit because they think his designs are lazy and uninspired.

When you say subliminally do you by any chance mean passive aggressively? And you weren't making an observation by the way, you were making a prediction about what people would say, and then preemptively dismissing it.

Dragonbums:

Saucycarpdog:

Dragonbums:

and did I claim that my comment was fact?

I wasn't stating that you said that. I was saying that your comment was also an opinion after you said anyone who disagreed with the designs are just opinions. So, since you said your were waiting for these, what's wrong with thinking some of the designs are bad?

I was literally just pointing out an observation.

Then why did you say were you waiting for them? How can you point out something as an observation if it hasn't even happened yet?

If you disagree with people who think the designs are bad, just say it. Geez.

Saucycarpdog:

Dragonbums:

Saucycarpdog:
I wasn't stating that you said that. I was saying that your comment was also an opinion after you said anyone who disagreed with the designs are just opinions. So, since you said your were waiting for these, what's wrong with thinking some of the designs are bad?

I was literally just pointing out an observation.

Then why did you say were you waiting for them? How can you point out something as an observation if it hasn't even happened yet?

If you disagree with people who think the designs are bad, just say it. Geez.

Or perhaps I don't have to.

I have no intention of confronting anyone who says all his designs are shit. It is literally a waste of energy on my part to confront it, and on the person in question to defend it.

So I simply make a comment and leave it at that.

my comment can literally be reduced to yet another "inb4" statement.

Something I honestly didn't think anyone would take the time to confront me with. Yet alone argue about.

Dragonbums:

Saucycarpdog:

Dragonbums:

I was literally just pointing out an observation.

Then why did you say were you waiting for them? How can you point out something as an observation if it hasn't even happened yet?

If you disagree with people who think the designs are bad, just say it. Geez.

Or perhaps I don't have to.

I have no intention of confronting anyone who says all his designs are shit. It is literally a waste of energy on my part to confront it, and on the person in question to defend it.

So I simply make a comment and leave it at that.

my comment can literally be reduced to yet another "inb4" statement.

Something I honestly didn't think anyone would take the time to confront me with. Yet alone argue about.

First of all if you disagree with somebody else's opinion of design then it is up to you to have a counter-argument just as much as it is up to them to have an argument for their opinion. Secondly, If it's such a waste of energy to defend the design, then why are you wasting your time and energy making anymore posts, or the first several posts for that matter?

Hyenatempest:

First of all if you disagree with somebody else's opinion of design then it is up to you to have a counter-argument just as much as it is up to them to have an argument for their opinion.

And if I recall I did not directly confront anyone on their opinion about whether or not they thought all of Sugimori's designs are shit.

Secondly, If it's such a waste of energy to defend the design, then why are you wasting your time and energy making anymore posts, or the first several posts for that matter?

Because if you were really following this thread conversation, the person is not arguing with me about why he/she thinks Sugimori's designs are bad. They are arguing about the presentation of my comment.

If I had put my comment in l337 sp34k form of "inb4 people calling new pokemon shit" I'm pretty sure my comment would be ignored without a second thought.

700 Pokemon is a lot, which is why I think Gamefreak needs to step away from adding new ones and focus on other areas.
Like story, environments, HMs, post-game content, etc.
That said, Yveltal is the first legendary I've liked since Lugia from Silver.

Dead Century:

That said, Yveltal is the first legendary I've liked since Lugia from Silver.

My jimmies have just been rustled. There were a lot of fantastic legendaries in all the games! Like Giratina, rayquaza, shaymin, victini, reshiram/zekrom, etc! D: Why are the rest so bad?

CharrHearted:

Dead Century:

That said, Yveltal is the first legendary I've liked since Lugia from Silver.

My jimmies have just been rustled. There were a lot of fantastic legendaries in all the games! Like Giratina, rayquaza, shaymin, victini, reshiram/zekrom, etc! D: Why are the rest so bad?

Oh, they're not bad. A bit of nostalgia and guess I have a thing for giant birds. Giratina looked alright, Rayquaza is cool in a way, but just didn't seem as interesting to me as Yveltal or Lugia. Plus they can totally be bros.
image

I really liked these legendary designs, more than Black and White's. Diamond and Pearl's were okay. Giratina's basic form was a bit...clunky. Gen 3's were fine, but similar to Giratina, Groudon was a bit restricted. But he's supposed to look like a land mass, so it sorta makes sense. Nobody has issues with Gen 2.

 

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