Actually, back around the time of Fire Red and Leaf Green I already had the idea of Tag mode, which was obviously before Dragon Quest IX, and I remember consulting with Nintendo about this idea.
But because of the technology restrictions it never came to fruition. So nothing came from other titles. And what Black/White can do is totally different from what DQIX can do.
You can instantly know what other players near you are doing. For example, whether you're using C-Gear or InfraRed or EntraLink...
So did your ideas for the C-Gear influence always-online 3DS features such as StreetPass mode?
[Laughs] I wouldn't know whether the C-Gear feature in Black/White influenced the technology in 3DS!
In previous generations there has always been a third game to supplement the first two releases. Ruby/Sapphire had Emerald, Diamond/Pearl had Platinum. Can we expect to see a third Pokémon game on DS or perhaps 3DS?
My mission right now is to have players enjoy these new Black and White versions in Europe and the US, so right now I'm not considering anything further.
Would you like to work on a 3DS Pokémon project? What are your current plans?
I would like to do something beyond people's expectations. That is all I can say.
You've composed a number of memorable Pokémon themes over the years. What are your musical influences?
I like up-tempo European techno music like, for example, The Prodigy and Underworld. Talking specifically about the themes in Black/White, there is a part when Victini appears and I wrote that battle music. Please look forward to listening to that Victini music!
What's the secret to creating a battle theme that you can listen to hundreds of times without going mad?
When I was composing battle music for Black/White, I wanted to capture the feeling that the player is going on a rollercoaster. So it can be really exciting and fun, but you have to be sure players are not tired of listening to a theme over and over, so I tried to introduce more complex elements to the music so that it's not like the sound of simple pop.
In the Victini music I mentioned, I intentionally changed the tempo. But I think that kind of music is something that when kids are listening to it, parents will say 'no no no, don't listen to that'. [Laughs]
You've made some big changes in places and some smaller ones in others. Do you feel pressure to stick to tradition for the older fans?
When I made changes to Black/White I wasn't considering existing Pokémon users too much. It was more like the process of tearing apart all the ideas we had from the past and building it up again.
As for moving the shop into the Pokémon Center, I simply thought it would be more convenient. And InfraRed allows players to quickly exchange Pokémon or even battle against friends. When you trade Pokémon, you can choose not only from your team but from the boxes as well.
So we didn't just keep the old ideas but thought about what was going to be more convenient and more fun for the players.
It's not just talking about differences and expectations, but more about what is good and what works. It was really important to challenge ourselves this way, because there are generations where player expectations will change, so we tried to do what kids in this generation will like.
Now there are 649 Pokémon, is it difficult to come up with new designs? How do you ensure that new designs are different enough from previous Pokémon?
Because there are so many Pokémon right now, we take care so that the silhouette and the colour balance of each Pokémon doesn't match any existing Pokémon.
We do this to set them apart, particularly when talking about Victini compared to Pikachu, for example. They are both two-foot-tall Pokémon, so it is important to make them different.