This handsomely-designed Pokémon concept from Environment artist Evan Liaw–spotted over on Kotaku–is an attempt to show what a Wii U version of a Pokémon game might look like using the Unreal Development Kit.
Let me state again in no uncertain terms: Liaw has done some beautiful work here with a realistic environment you could almost reach out and touch, with finely-textured wooden floors, soft, ambient lighting and plausible high-tech equipment. The thing is, Pokémon as a whole rejects a realistic treatment of its story and gameplay elements, and what I think is missing here is that extra level of stylization or exaggeration.
I should note, I’m sure Liaw didn’t intend this as some earnest attempt to say “this is what a Pokémon game would look like on Nintendo’s current-gen” (in fact, he’s quite explicit that this was an attempt to give the imagined environment a sci-fi spin) but I thought this would be a neat opportunity to talk about art styles and chasing graphical fidelity with new consoles. Sure, the pair of new 3DS Pokémon titles coming in March are decidedly low-poly, but they’re recognizably Pokémon games. The characters and environments all have the same level of chunky, bright exaggeration that makes the combined elements feel like one unified piece. For Liaw’s design to be successful, a more realistic treatment of the characters would have to be used.
And do you really want a realistic Pikachu in your Pokémon games?
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