Pokémon: Let’s Go rival’s personality will be very tame compared to Gary Oak’s of Pokémon Yellow.
As the Pokémon: Let’s Go games are remakes of Pokémon Yellow, one would think that the classic catchphrase “Smell ya later!” would make a return. However, this time around, the reworked rival is being described as “friendly” in promotional material.
According to Pokémon series director Junichi Masuda, they used to make the Pokémon rivals a jerk because of graphical limitations. “I think the biggest reason that rivals were more of a jerk in the early days is that we were just limited in what we could express with the pixel graphics.”
Masuda continued to explain that “There’s not much that you can do with that kind of little sprite on the screen, so we worked harder to characterize them through dialogue and give them certain personalities. Also, because it’s just dialogue and there’s not a whole lot going on on the screen, it doesn’t give as harsh of an impression even if they’re jerks, I think.”
While the graphics of Pokémon: Let’s Go are a major improvement over Pokémon Yellow, Masuda sees that as a bit of a detriment to their ability to create mean characters. “Now we have HD graphics and the visuals are much more impressive,” said Masuda. “If you also made him a jerk, the impression would be a lot stronger on players.”
Masuda rounded up his bite with GameSpot by mentioning “Another thing, just my own personal take, is that it feels that people with those kinds of personalities these days are just not as accepted by players as they were back then.”
This feels a bit off the mark, as the Pokémon series that we’ve all come to know and love started off with two really mean rivals in a row. Pokémon Gold and Silver even went so far as to make Team Rocket boss Giovani’s son your rival.
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! release for the Nintendo Switch on November 16, 2018.