There are Pokemon death panels

October 11, 2013
To the best of our knowledge, Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos is not on the Pokemon Death Panel. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
To the best of our knowledge, Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos is not on the Pokemon Death Panel. (Associated Press)

Gamers across the world will start trying to catch 'em all tomorrow when Pokemon X and Y are released. But for every monster that made it into the game, many more perished in what sounds an awful lot like a Pokemon death panel.

Hironobu Yoshida, who led the graphic design team for the latest entry into the series, described the process of whittling down the designs created by the 20-person monster design team to Gamasutra:

"It's very difficult work every time. There are probably five to 10 times the number of ideas that are rejected as the ones that make it into the final design, so it's a very difficult process," Yoshida says.

The studio has a committee of five people who decide which designs will go into the game — and which do not make the cut. "And they also will leave feedback on all of the designs, even the ones that are rejected, to say why they got rejected or why they didn't choose a certain one. What that lets us do is improve for the future, so we can use that knowledge for the next series of titles," Yoshida says.

Harsh as the panel might sound, the series has gone from 151 pokemon to more than  700 with X and Y. So some unnatural selection was probably in order.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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Andrea Peterson | October 11, 2013