Pokken Tournament creators pushed hard for “really realistic” Pokémon

3 min read


Pokken Tournament may have the hands behind the Tekken franchise behind it, but it also has the runaway DNA of the Pokémon franchise influencing how it plays, merging both traditional 2D, 3D and RPG mechanics to become a different kind of brawler. Beyond that unique style of play, it’s also got something else going for it: It looks rather pretty.

If you’ve seen Pokken Tournament in action, you might have noticed that this specific Pokémon game really pops. It’s bright, colourful and runs at a delicious 60 frames per second at all times. The Pokémon themselves also look quite stunning, and particularly realistic in a stylised manner that makes a Pikachu dressed in Lucha Libre garb an actual possibility.

And that’s an intentional bit of design, that co-developer Bandai Namco and producer Masaaki Hoshino pushed for. “With this game, one of the things I really wanted to do was represent the Pokémon in a really realistic style,” Hoshino, who also worked on the SoulCalibur series, said to Kotaku.

A graphical representation that’s really realistic. I had to really convince the staff working on the game, as well The Pokémon Company, to go in this direction.

He’s not lying. I’m busy with Pokken Tournament right now, and I can’t believe that the Wii U is capable of these visuals. Lucario’s fur bristles and moves with the wind. Machamp’s various muscles make him look like a Rob Liefield drawing come to life and Garchomp has a rough skin texture that ties into his dragon land-shark design.

It really is something to see these guys jump onto the screen, and something else to see various Pokémon land their signature moves in ways that look frightfully real. According to producer Katsuhiro Harada, there was one other challenge to developing Pokken Tournament: Bones. “It’s a simple thing that surprised me the most,” Harada said.

It’s a hidden element in the game. There are actually a few signature Tekken moves performed by the Pokémon in the game. And originally when I heard this idea [I thought] Tekken characters and Pokémon have totally different bone structures. I didn’t think they would fit at all.

Fortunately, Harada discovered that Tekken style moves “actually fit the Pokémon” really well. Pokken Tournament is out on March 18.

Read  Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon - How to evolve every Pokémon

Last Updated: March 3, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • “I can’t believe that the Wii U is capable of these visuals”

    New Wii U add. 🙂

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Speak to me when they get MK-style fatalities.

    • Pickachu ripping out bulbasaurs spine flower thingy I would pay to see.

  • Umar

    Some of the combos looks amazing!

  • VampyreSquirrel

    LOL! “Realistic” Pokemon? REALLY!?

    • Say that in another 10 or so years when Nintendo creates actual Pokemon using genetic engineering to create a Pokemon island. I bet they would “Spare no expense” in making them but skimp on electric fencing and other security/safety features. Que John Williams for the theme song when everything goes wrong.


      • VampyreSquirrel

        Hahahaha… Caging up the Pikachu’s to power the facility… someone steals the genetic material and releases the Pikachu’s. The main characters then have to survive being chased by a Charizard before being saved by Mew Two and escaping the island with minimal injuries while hundreds of others die?

Check Also

The Critical Hit Games of the Year: Our best games of 2017

From Nintendo rewriting how we play games with the launch of the Nintendo Switch, publishe…