Pokémon: Nintendo got picky and almost canceled Hasbro’s Pokédex | Rütir
Pokémon is the largest entertainment franchise in history achieved thanks to the merchandise of the series, be it through video games, anime, movies, cards or toys. Well, one of the oldest and most memorable was about to be canceled.
Thanks to Pokémon’s success, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company generally licensed the franchise to various companies to expand the brand both in the West and in Japan. One of these associations was the one made with Hasbro to launch several products, among which stands out the memorable first generation Pokédex of the series, powered by Tiger Electronics. Today, many fondly remember this official Pokémon product, but it was almost untrue because of the delicate nature of working with Nintendo.
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Nintendo almost discontinued Hasbro’s Pokédex
We know this thanks to Chris Nicolella, who was Senior Game Producer at Tiger Electronics and Hasbro Toys at the time of the Pokédex project, who confessed that Nintendo of Japan was so picky about its franchise.
Despite the fact that Hasbro got the Pokémon license to manufacture toys, Nintendo of Japan was not very happy with it and even had such strong frictions with Hasbro and Tiger Electronics that they did not share any material to learn from and that they would serve as direction for your projects.
The most interesting thing is that Nicolella confessed that Nintendo banned the use of any graphics capabilities on the toy, believing that the device could compete with the Game Boy and ultimately affect its sales, which is not surprising, but it is a behavior The It is frankly typical of Nintendo.
“They didn’t like us very much and they didn’t see the value in expanding the Pokémon brand in the toy market,” Nicolella said in an interview with the Johto Times portal.
Why did Nintendo have problems with Hasbro over the Pokédex?
However, the Pokédex wouldn’t make much sense without the graphic aspect as it would just be a toy with text, which isn’t appealing to kids (especially kids who don’t understand English).
Because of this, Nicolella thought about adding an animation of 2 sprites of each Pokemon to create more dynamics, but this addition almost completely ended the project.
“When NOJ (Nintendo of Japan) saw the animations on the screen, she went crazy and said we couldn’t do it and that it was very similar to the Game Boy game,” recalls the producer.
The team in charge of the project expressed its opposition, but despite the support of the company’s American division, as well as the company that manages the license 4Kids Productions, it was Nintendo of Japan that had the final say on the project. Project.
The Japanese company then put the project on hold for almost 6 months and was on the verge of abandoning it altogether.
“I didn’t even want to work on it (Pokédex) anymore, but I wanted to get back to working on the Star Wars toys,” the producer recalled.
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How did Hasbro’s Pokédex come true?
However, there was a final meeting attended by all parties involved in the license. Nicolella points out that it was “a bit heated,” but they ended up finding a solution. Hasbro promised that the Pokédex didn’t have any gameplay elements, rather the 2 Pokémon sprites filled an illustrative need. There was therefore no way to control or interact with them.
However, the sprites were removed and instead an artist from the Japan Pokémon team was asked to work on the design of the images of each Pokémon that will appear in the final product.
Fortunately, thanks to the efforts and perseverance of 4Kids Productions and Tiger Electronics, as well as Nicolella, the collaboration came to fruition and not only meant the launch of the product, but other editions were also produced, such as Pokémon Deluxe, which included creatures from Pokémon Gold & Silver, apparently without so many complications from Nintendo of Japan.
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