Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori of Game Freak recently sat down with gamesTM magazine to discuss the upcoming remakes Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. One of their main focus points was the origins of the Hoenn region. In contrast to the Kanto and Johto regions, Hoenn has a distinctly rural feel to it, and both Masuda and Ohmori say this was a deliberate move on their part.
Shigeru Ohmori started by explaining that with the full use of colors available on the Game Boy Advance, they could really bring out a natural aesthetic:
“One of the main goals, one of the main themes that I had in mind when I first started working on the Pokémon games with Ruby and Sapphire, and the impression I had at the time, was that that was really the first time Pokémon had entered full colour. The way the colours were used to create this feeling of nature left an impression on me, so I really wanted Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to translate that to the new systems, and pay attention to how we used colour, and create that same feeling.”
— Shigeru Ohmori
Junichi Masuda continued by recalling his childhood experiences in nature and wanting to bring that experience to the
“Kanto and Johto were based more on the motif of Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka — big cities in Japan, with people living in a more metropolitan feel. With the Hoenn region I wanted to go for a feel of abundant nature, so a lot of mountains and forests. When I was younger, my grandparents lived in Kyushu and I would visit them, and whenever I was there I’d always be catching bugs, playing in the river, catching fish and stuff like that, so I wanted to bring that feeling of nature to the games.”
— Junichi Masuda
The Hoenn region is the most beautiful in my mind, featuring a wide variety of climates and landscapes. I believe that this is a direct result of Game Freak trying to incorporate nature into the series, as stated above, and that it ultimately helped the titles in becoming fan-favorites. Do you think Masuda and Ohmori were successful in this endeavor? What makes
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire so memorable?