Although it has elements in common with Tekken, producer Katsuhiro Harada wants to make it very clear that Pokken Tournament is not a re-skinned version of Namco Bandai’s fighting game franchise.
In an interview with Famitsu (via Kotaku), Harada voiced how much he and his team were creating Pokken Tournament to appeal specifically to Pokemon fans.
“It’s a solid versus game, but at its core, it’s an action game for Pokémon fans,” he said. “The tech to make the game and the know how behind the massive amount of animations comes from our experience working on the games we’ve made before, but with the gameplay, we’ve set our sights on Pokémon fans.”
Additionally, he and the rest of his team are attempting to make Pokken Tournament as friendly as possible for newcomers by downplaying some of its fighting game roots in order to not appear intimidating to non-fighting game fans.
“People might think that because we’ve worked on games like Tekken and Soul Calibur or because of the name ‘Pokkén,’ that this game is made for established fighting game players, but I’d like to come straight out and say ‘no, it isn’t.’”
To prove this, they’ve implemented a number of aesthetic and mechanical changes. Specifically with UI, which has led them to change the locations of a character’s health bar. According to Harada, having the traditional side-angle camera view and dual health bars at the top of the screen communicated to the player that this was a fighting game. While Pokken is fighting game, Harada and the rest of the development team didn’t want to run the risk of losing potential fans who might have loved Pokemon, but were intimidated by fighting game mechanics and complexity.
Pokken will release this week in Japanese arcades with eight characters on the roster including Gardevoir, Suicune, and Pikachu. Blaziken is rumored to release sometime next month.