Welcome to the fifth "Ask Me Almost Anything" (AMAA) post, where we answer your questions as development on Pokémon Academy Life continues. Can you believe we haven't done one of these since July 2016? Whoops!
For those who have just started following recently, each time we post one of these, the goal is to share some insight on what goes through our heads when we consider or implement ideas. Why did we choose to include something and not another? Why did we set up different types of content a certain way? Hopefully this series will shed some light and help you understand a little more about the game's development.
Unfortunately, we won't be answering all questions (hence the "almost" in AMAA). If you asked something and it wasn't answered, either it's impossible for us to answer without being spoilerific, it's already answered somewhere in the game details, older AMAAs, or we simply couldn't understand it.
"What inspired you to make this game?"
submitted by lots of people
We answered this early on in development, but essentially the visual novel medium is surprisingly devoid of any strong fan-created content around the Pokémon universe. That's really it.
“Your party can only fit six Pokémon. Are Pikachu and Charmander required to be part of the team?”
submitted by lots and lots of people
Not at all! Much like in the core series games, you don't have to keep your starter on your team during your entire playthrough. You might be with your starter for a fair portion of the game, especially early on, but you can certainly swap it out for another member anytime you wish.
In the visual novel, Charmander is your homeroom starter, so you'll be responsible for training him and keeping him happy. This doesn't mean you always have to use him in battle. The same applies for Pikachu. As they're both scripted Pokémon with roles in the plot, some events with them may also be scripted. We don't want you to think of them as burdens, but we also certainly don't want you to outright ignore them.
“When Lance says your Pikachu is weak, I couldn't help but wonder if IVs were going to be part of the game. Are they?”
submitted by EonBen
You're a keen one. The inspiration did come from IVs. The "Your Pikachu is decent" line is actually a reference to the IV Judge rating from the core series games. Anyway, no, we don't plan on including IVs (or EVs for that matter), but we can't exactly rule it out at this point either.
"About how many Pokémon are going to be implemented?"
submitted by David S.
Approximately 500 are planned across all seven Generations. Not all will be available as some are exclusive to some characters. This is all subject to change, of course.
“I'm curious how you plan to pace the story over the 3-year period you've told us about. Basically, are we getting three smaller arcs that add up to form one large arc, or is it just one large arc over the three years at Kokuban?”
submitted by Irishwolfe13
There will be one core story throughout the three years, which is one many of us are familiar with: starting as a no-name individual and becoming a legend. Rookie to pro. Zero to hero.
...That's one ending. We can't share any more than that.
However, each year will also have a few scripted sub-plots. We also can't share any details about them right now! And of course, many of your favorite characters will also have their own individual side stories that are separate from the main storyline.
“Will choosing different roommates affect what we can do? Like when you pick Calem you get the chance to join the student council. Could you still join the council with other groups of friends?”
submitted by OffTheNarwhal
Short answer is yes, different roommates will give you opportunities to different content. That said, we don't exactly want to deny people content based on a single decision you make way early in the game. The student council is one of them. While someone like Cheren is always going to be gunning for the student council, you may not get the whole story from him unless you're his roommate. We don't want someone who picked Brendan and Tierno as roommates find out that the student council is a feature much later on. Then they think, "That sounds pretty cool, I want to check that out," and realize they're unable to join simply because they didn't pick the "right" roommate 10 hours earlier. That would suck!
Having certain roommates will make it easier or harder for you to access different content. If we're using the student council as an example, then having Calem or Cheren as roommates will essentially give you priority or front row seats to that content. Meanwhile, if you picked Brendan or Tierno, then you might have to work a little harder to make your way into that crowd.
We do want to include some subtle, but high-impact differences that are exclusive to certain roommates. They won't affect the main story, but if you like these characters, they should hopefully make the overall experience much more enjoyable. These differences will not be as noticeable early on (such as in the demo) as the setting and core game mechanics are getting introduced and established bit by bit.
“With the addition of battle mechanics and wild Pokémon, what do you expect the ratio of gameplay and story to come out to? How invested will players have to be in the gameplay elements if they're more interested in just the story and romance?"
submitted by Aerik
Great question. Let's start off by saying you're probably not going to do so well if all you do is socialize. That's how schools work, right? As you're part of an elite Pokémon academy, you're expected to hit your marks and grow as a Trainer. And part of the process will involve training and raising your Pokémon.
Open world free exploration is going to be a core feature at different stages of the game. It is up to you to manage your limited time between interacting with friends, meeting new people, training your Pokémon, catching new Pokémon to add to your team, attending clubs, raising your personal traits to unlock content, etc.
“Will Pokémon battles only be restricted to if you're on the Battle Team or will battles occur in random locations like the main games?”
submitted by FieryEmbr
There will be scripted battles as well as player-initiated battles during open world free exploration (we like to call the latter scrimmage matches).
“How will studying for quizzes work?”
submitted by Rory Scarlett
The thing about quizzes in this visual novel is that part of them requires you to study on your own in real life. Professor Oak has a line that says, "Make sure to look over the readings online tonight." He actually meant that literally.
That's just one part, though. Those will prepare you for the random general questions. Sometimes there will be hints for future questions, but not always. During free exploration periods, you can also have the option of studying rather than socializing or doing anything else. In turn, at the cost of sacrificing these activities, you'll be rewarded with useful info for upcoming quizzes.
“Will gifts to bond with others more easily be implemented into the game?”
submitted by BuizelKing
We plan on including gifts for specific people, but we haven't decided on how exactly we want to implement them.
“Given Red's special 'gift,' can we expect to possibly see N at all, seeing that he possesses a similar talent in the games?”
submitted by AzHasANewName
Right. Similar, but different. N's mysterious ability is heavily dependent on his equally mysterious background and origin. He literally hears Pokémon talk. Red doesn't have that ability. He's more along the lines of in-the-gut, intuitive understanding. He can't understand Pokémon speech literally, but he "gets it." Vice versa, Pokémon "get him."
Spoiler alert? Well, you all know Yellow is going to be present at some point. Red's ability is more similar to Yellow's than N's, but still not exactly like hers, which is more psychic-based.
We didn't actually answer the question, did we? Whoops. Oh well, let's just stop here.
“What was the thought process behind revamping the opening? When 1.0.2 was released, that seemed to be the one thing we were certain was finished.”
submitted by greyscalemoon
Oh, the original prologue had always bothered us to some degree... since the very beginning. The hook was weak, some parts were overextended, etc. Based on early feedback, it didn't seem like too many players were equally as bothered, though some criticisms did exist. It wasn't until after the Game Grumps did their random run through the prologue that we finally pulled the trigger.
Can't rule out some more revisions for the prologue, but we don't plan on anything as drastic as the change from 1.0.2 to 1.0.3. It certainly is somewhat amusing for us that the title and opening sequence don't appear until about an hour into the visual novel.
1) “How many clubs will you be able to join? I know joining too many clubs can be over excessive, but I was just curious about the limit.”
2) “I was wondering since in the latest demo some class periods were skipped while others weren't. Are the majority of the days going to be like that or will you have to go through all of the class periods like on the first day?”
submitted by Content_J
Double questions! We answered the club question a while back and our answer hasn't changed. Technically you can be in a maximum of two clubs. You'll be able to join one of your choice and forced into the Battle Team for the other. Originally we were going to make the Battle Team optional, but after realizing how difficult it would be to script the main storyline, we needed a focus point to fall back on. That ended up being the Battle Team, which made the most sense to us in the "zero to hero" setup as well as one of the most iconic features in the Pokémon franchise (that would be battling, in case you're wondering). It's also for balancing purposes because we don't want club activities to completely clash with free exploration opportunities.
As for time skips, yes, that will be a recurring element. The game will never be finished if each day was like April 5 (first day). If for some reason we were forced to script out every day of all three years the way we scripted out April 5, we would drop the project immediately and move on with our individual lives.
That said, some days will be more eventful than others. Just like in real life, some days are more memorable than others. Don't you ever go home and sometimes just can't seem to remember what you did earlier in the day? That just flew right by, didn't it? Those are the time skip days.
"What made you guys decide the change in Lance's character? If you watch the series and manga, you know what I mean."
submitted by TheeTrueLee
Nothing was "changed," per se. Keep in mind that the visual novel is not meant to be tied to any known Pokémon universe. Some characters will have personalities similar to counterparts in other media. Some will not. The Lance in the core series games is similar to the Lance in the anime, but is not the same as the Lance in the Pokémon Adventures manga, and is not the same as the Lance in this visual novel.
"Can you talk about that new blonde girl you meet in the city? She has to be important, right?"
submitted by Josh M.
She'll have a role. Can't say what, though.
If your question wasn’t answered, there’s a very, very, very high chance that it was answered in the past. Please check out the previous AMAA posts: