Last year Nintendo along with Tekken publisher Bandai Namco first announced their plans on a tournament style Pokemon fighting game, sort of like a hybrid of the Tekken and Pokemon franchise where you control a pokemon and combat other pokemon with your special moves. This game however is only set to be released in Japanese arcades, but there are plans being made that it will be released in other countries as well. The game is quite different among other Pokemon games, not only in genre but also in the game's visual style as seen in the game cinematic below. According to Pokemon Company president Tsunekazu Ishihara, this is completely intentional.
Ishihara explained that Pokken Tournament isn't made to appeal to children, but to the adults who have grown up with the original Pokemon Red and Blue games. In an interview with Japanese TV program NHK World, Ishihara states that "Considering that many of the people in the generation who experienced Red and Green are now nearing their thirties, and those who were in elementary school then are now in university, we aimed to make a game for those who grew up playing Pokemon-rather than just target children. The bottom line is, we want to show adults that this is the new Pokemon, and get them to play.
Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada of Namco talked about the challenges they faced during the development of an arcade-exclusive title, since Japan's arcade scene has been struggling more and more as gamers preferred to play on their consoles or mobile phones.
"Players can quit a game after just one try if they find it boring," he says. "Seeing people quit after spending a hundred yen or even watching them play from behind and hearing their reactions firsthand can be very tough. There've been countless games that have been unable to re-coup their production costs after customers say things like 'this is not fun' or 'this isn't good at all!' I mean, it's all for nothing if nobody wants to play, even after spending a stupendous amount of money to develop the software, to cover the cost of the expense of the chassis, and the costly system that serves as the base. It can really be an unforgiving market."
Their main goal was to create a Pokken Tournament where you can control the Pokemon directly. Harada stated how tough it can be to develop that goal. “Players want to move around with a great deal of freedom and do a wide range of things, but the operability needs to be smooth as well. That’s probably the most important point." This led to the push in the more familiar controls of the D-Pad, four buttons and the 'L and R buttons' for the game instead of the usual buttons and joystick controls common in most arcades. "When they visit an arcade and see this controller, even those who play at home-which is now the trend-might just think 'I can play this one'," Harada says.
Pokken has several playable characters available, ranging from biped Pokemon to Fighting Type Pokemon. It currently includes Pikachu, Charizard, Machamp, Gengar, Suicine, Gardevoir, Lucario and Weavile.
In regards to the westernization of Pokken, this is what Ishihara has to say: " I think the possibility definitely exists."