As one of the largest and most popular brands on the planet, countless people dedicate large portions of their time to the Pokémon franchise. Whether through playing the games, competing in VGC/Smogon tournaments, or just buying yet another Pikachu plush, Pokémania is still going strong.
This adoration for the Pokémon franchise, combined with good ol' nostalgia, leads many fans to continuously search for old files, drawings, or notes from the early days of Pokémon. While leaks have previously uncovered unused sprites, early conceptions of Gen 2 Pokémon, and unreleased demos, there is certainly a whole host of Pokémon information still out there, awaiting its release to the public.
And now, with Game Freak announcing its intention to preserve old Pokémon files by digitising them, fans across the globe eagerly anticipate their release. But will this happen?
Game Freak goes digital by preserving old Pokémon notes
In collaboration with the Japanese company Masakatsu Co., Game Freak will digitise many of its old paper files and notes from the early days of both the company and the Pokémon franchise.
In an interview with Masakastsu, Game Freak's Shiho Haraguchi gave an insight into what will be digitised, alongside the thought-process behind digitising the old files.
When asked what was digitised, Mr Haraguchi said they digitised "early planning documents and development materials before Pokémon was created," alongside Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri's Game Freak magazine.
"When it comes to works around 2000, proposals are also made on a personal computer and remain in the in-house database," stated Mr Haraguchi. "But most of the materials before that are paper materials."
"When I need past materials, [I'd] ask an old employee and they [would] come out with a feeling like 'I think it's on that shelf' or 'I think that person has it'."
"There aren't many opportunities to need past materials, but I thought it would be better to collect them so that they can be found immediately when they are needed."
Will Pokémon fans be able to see these files?
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there's much chance these old files will make their way outside of Game Freak's internal servers.
Instead, these files will be used to improve the Pokémon development process. "Every time a new project is launched, new staff including outsourced people will be added," Mr Haraguchi disclosed. "If past materials are digitised, information can be shared quickly."
Mr Haraguchi also told Masakatsu of the benefits it would bring to post-development analysis. "The development team is putting all their energy into the work they are working on, so the reality is that there is not much time to look back on the completed project," he stated.
"As a management department, I think it is possible to put in place a system that can provide data immediately when asked, 'How was that?'"
However, this news shouldn't disappoint Pokémon fans. While they may not immediately get the chance to see the most recently digitised files, this doesn't rule out their release in the future. Mr Haraguchi also said that "A few years ago, our graphic designer published a book," containing old materials. Game Freak soon turns 30, and so it's not too unlikely for the company to celebrate this anniversary by releasing images from its youth.