When the latest entry in the Pokemon Rumble series was officially announced I was surprised when it was announced to be free to play. In recent months Nintendo seems to be going down this road a lot with Pokemon Shuffle and now Pokemon Rumble World. But the question now is why did the developers choose to go down this route and go with a free to play model for Pokemon Rumble World? Thanks to Japanese publication Famitsu we know have our answers, Famitsu had an interview with Ambrella Director Norio Matsumura and president Muneaki Ozawa where they explained the decision.
The decision to go free to play turned out to be quite a controversial and difficult one amongst the staff, but it was an idea suggested by Pokemon president Tsunekazu Ishihara. Matsumura explains:
Mr. Ishihara (the president of the Pokemon Company) suggested: “Let’s try out F2P.” Personally I think that refreshing controls and the nature of continuously returning to the game are concepts which suit free games very well, so I thought there was a chance of success. However, many members of the staff are against F2P games…
Matsumura continued on his comments by talking about how development didn’t progress without some resistance:
It felt like a dream that more people could play the game when it’s distributed through the eShop for free. On the other hand, many staff members of our company like traditional packaged titles, so they voiced opinions like, “I’m afraid of a title in which you can pay infinitely and it is out of my league.” As that was the case, I thought people could play with peace of mind if there was an upper limit for in-game purchases.
Matsumura and Osawa also commented on what Pokemon Rumble World’s development focus was:
Matsumura: We realized we had to increase the overall tempo for this game. If we want the player to return to the game often, the player must not feel stress and must not have to wait even for short periods of time. If the tempo wasn’t increased, the player wouldn’t construct a long relationship with the game.
Osawa: We did things like increase the tempo of parts which tie scenes together and remove the title screen.
Finally, Matsumura as part of the interview touched on why auto attack was implemented. In doing so, he also revealed that automatic movement was considered at one point.
Matsumura’s comments in full:
Auto attack was implemented so that more people could enjoy the game. When we observed people who had no experience with the series, there were many who played the game without pressing the attack button. That’s why we considered attacking automatically and ended up implementing the feature. By the way, we also had an idea for automatic movement.