As the franchise’s first direct sequels, Pokémon Black and White 2 set a lot of precedents, including bringing the “hidden stats” invisible to all but power users out into the open.
Nintendo’s Seth McMahil told Siliconera that Gamefreak and Nintendo wanted to address the problem of hardcore fans reaching endgame and having to grind to max their Pokémon for competitive play.
“Pokémon fans, in the past, always had to deal with what we call ‘grinding the grass,’ where after you get around to beating the Elite 4, it’s like, ‘What we do now? Keep going through that, or go fight in the grass where characters are 20 levels below?’” he said.
Instead of continuing this long tradition, it was decided that many of the most advanced system – particularly those used to alter a Pokémon’s “hidden stats”, EVs and IVs – would be made explicit in-game.
“And all the core fans knew about [EVs and IVs] already. They’ve been talking about it constantly, and it was a big part of Pokémon. And although it was in the undercurrent before, this time we decided, let’s bring it out into the open. Let’s open up the complexity of Pokémon for people who want it,” McMahil continued.
Join Avenue and the Unlimited Dungeon are examples of such features. Meanwhile, franchise fans are catered to in more casual-friendly ways, too.
“If you look also at all the Pokémon that are included, like non-Unova Pokémon – Mareep’s in there, one of my favourites from Gold/Silver – they really kind of made this one the Pokémon player’s game,” McMahill added.
“Look at Join Avenue, an area where shops open up the more you communicate with other players. There’s the World Tournament, where you can fight old Gym Leaders. Misty’s in there. That takes me back to the Blue version, before I even worked at Nintendo.
“When I first picked it up and started playing it, I was absolutely blown away. I was like, ‘This game is made for the fans.’ Anybody can play it, but a fan is going to love it, because they’ve opened up all those things.”
Pokémon Black and White 2 is due on DS in the west in October.