Random: Masahiro Sakurai Casts Shade on Pokémon Trees?

Image: Nintendo Life

Over the past few weeks, seasoned game developer Masahiro Sakurai has been posting videos on his YouTube channel. “Masahiro Sakurai on Making Games”which details the various aspects of game development and how aspiring creators can apply them to their work (don’t worry, we won’t cover all of them here!).

In his latest article, Sakurai talks about how to effectively create in-game assets by using light to add depth to objects so they really come to life. Interestingly, the key subject that Sakurai focuses on in this demo is wood, and he clearly demonstrates how different shades of color, light sources, and atmospheric elements can transform wood from a simple cut and paste object into something much more tangible. and real. He ends this explanation by stating the following:

“To sum it up: if someone says to make a tree, don’t just make a tree and be done with it. Artistic duties can be shared among several team members, but anyway, avoid just drawing an asset and calling it complete. The final product, first of all, should reflect the light that your asset reflects in the environment.”

While this is almost certainly a coincidence, don’t you think he might be subtly referencing Game Freak’s work with Pokémon Sword and Shield? If you look back, you may remember that many Pokemon fans had a lot of about the in-game Sword and Shield trees, with many stating that tree assets comparable to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Timegame, which at the time of the release of Sword and Shield was already 21 years old.

Pokémon sword and shield
Image: Nintendo

Indeed, in our own review of Sword and Shield, we stated that “The Wild Area, for all its mechanical prowess and delight, can look pretty basic and standard for a Switch game, and there are even moments of noticeable framerate drops here.” Elsewhere, we also lamented the visuals in the 2022 Pokémon Legends: Arceus entry, emphasizing that, yes, the trees in particular are looking pretty twitchy again.

Look, we don’t say Sakurai actually casts a shadow over Game Freak with his latest video – he’s way too professional for that – but it definitely sounds like it, right? Watch the video below and see for yourself:

Further reading:

What do you think of Sakurai’s latest video? Is the use of wood to illustrate his thesis entirely coincidental, or is it a subtle allusion to the Pokémon sword and shield? Let us know!

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