Video Games

‘Fakemon’ Designer Explains What Makes a Pokémon a Pokémon

Every time a new generation of Pokémon is announced, clever tricksters trick us by designing “fakemon” online.

Of course, there are also more reliable than othersbut inevitably there is at least some that fools people with every set in the new game. Why are fake Pokemon designs more believable than another set? One of the “fakemon” artists who recently posted on Reddit Analyze exactly why Pokemon look like Pokemon.

The post is long and worth reading in its entirety, but in summary u/Xelshade breaks down the Pokémon design into four components. Color depth, level of detail, anatomy and proportions, and related features. While there are exceptions to each of these rules (ditto come up a lot), Pokémon are generally about 2-4 colors in design, medium level of detail (not overly complex, but not too simple either). , with stylized anatomy, but not. Exaggerated (somewhere between Digimon and Yokai Watch), and two or more of the following: eyes, mouth, limbs.

Ok, yes some of it sounds a little silly. But when they break it down, it makes a lot of sense. Most Pokémon have one or two dominant colors, and one or two more to support details such as eyes and patterns. Few Pokemon have very intricate patterns or rows of tiny spikes or details, but they are generally (ditto excluded) more complex than amorphous blobs. They use relatively simple shapes (e.g. Xelshade compares Charmander to Agumon) and greatly respect body, head and face size ratios. It’s all relatively balanced. And yeah, most Pokémon have faces, with exceptions like Staryu tending to be drawn as bipedal, so people can better anthropomorphize it.

Many of these design situations are primarily due to the limitations of the original game. With a limited color palette and only his 56×56 pixels to work with, I couldn’t get too hung up on the details. Features have evolved since then, allowing for more colors and details, but the design remains largely consistent.

Reading this far, you’ve probably come up with a lot of exceptions, but Xelshade takes it a step further and explains why these exceptions work. Ultra Beasts, for example, play around with faces and proportions to make the creatures alien and unsettling, while Mega Pokémon use an extra level of detail to make them feel more complex and dramatic.

Overall, Zelshaid explains that the key to designing fake Pokémon is balance. Words of designer Ken Sugimori On creating creatures that are both fighters and friends:

As for how to decide which one gets cut… hmm. Well, in the game, Pokemon he plays two roles. They fight for you, but they are also your allies. So a Pokémon needs to look ferocious enough to be powerful in battle, but at the same time lovable enough to be wanted as a friend. That’s a tough balance to strike, so that’s probably the biggest criterion we’re looking for.

The next time you see a potential “fakemon” in the wild disguised as a leak, consider running this acid test to see if it’s possible. can Become a Pokemon. Or, like everyone else, just wait for the official announcement.

Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. you can find her on her twitter @duck valentine.

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