Why There's Nothing Wrong With Pokemon Black And White 2 Being On The DS

By far the most common complaint I've heard about Pokemon Black and White 2 is the fact that Black 2 and White 2 were released on last generation's Nintendo DS even though the Nintendo 3DS has been on the market since last year. Frankly, I find this a complaint with little to no merit. Here's why.

Graphical Quality VS Art Style

Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 look good on the DS -- as did the original Black and White before them. While there's no doubt that the 3DS could have made Black 2 and White 2 look even better, graphical quality has always been secondary to art style in the Pokémon titles. The series could have moved away from its sprite-based roots and into the world of countless polygons long ago if the creators had wanted. Instead, Pokémon today looks much as it always has -- from character sprites, to buildings, to battles. And when a 3DS Pokémon game is eventually released, I wouldn't be surprised if it still looks basically the same, just layered on a 3D plane.

Reuse Of Assets

In building a game, a large portion of the game development is spent on making assets for the game. "Assets" can refer to anything from a character model to a wall texture, but it's important to remember that every bush, rock, tree, and tuft of grass in every game was designed by some poor artist whose individual work you've failed to appreciate.

But what if you had a database full of assets you could reuse? That would make it infinitely easier to design a game -- and that's what Nintendo did in Black 2 and White 2 by reusing the maps, sprites, and textures from the original Black and White. Which leads us into the topic of...

Development Time

For the last three generations of Pokemon titles, it has taken about four years to make a completely new game. Making a remake -- or in this case a direct sequel -- where half the work is already done cuts the development time dramatically. And since they didn't even have to remaster each and every sprite in Black 2 and White 2 and port them to the 3DS, it took only a year-and-a-half to make this game.

Cost, Profit, And Refinement

Of course, if you allocate fewer graphic designers to a project and have a development cycle of less than half the time of a next generation Pokemon game, it's obviously going to cost less to make. This in turn raises the amount of profit when the game goes to market. Moreover, a sequel gives game designers the chance to add in cut content from the original game as well as fine-tune the game experience based on user feedback. It's both a financial and creative victory.

Nintendo Wants You To Buy It

Besides the business issues above, it's important to remember one simple fact: The Nintendo DS is the most popular system of its generation in the world with over 152 million units sold. The 3DS, on the other hand, has only sold 18 million units so far. You want to play Black 2 and White 2 and Nintendo wants you to play Black 2 and White 2. So Nintendo put it on the system that you, as a Pokémon fan, are pretty much guaranteed to have.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing wrong with Black 2 and White 2 being on the DS instead of on the 3DS. Pokémon has an art style where graphical hardware advancements mean little; and by being able to reuse Black and White's assets, we get a new Pokémon game only a year-and-a-half after the last one. Moreover, the company making the game gets more out of its initial investment and the game designers get to include their favourite ideas that just didn't make it into the original Black and White. In short, everyone wins -- especially you.

Pokemon White Version 2 and Pokemon Black Version 2 were released on June 23, 2012, in Japan and will be released in PAL territories on October 12 for PAL.


Comments

    Sounds very.....yeah. Apologetic.

    "You mean one of the most massive series is stl being built for the last generation of DS, again? D-doesn't matter!"

    Next article: "Game released on PSP: Vita dooooooomed".

    I agree with the "Nintendo wants you to buy it" point. Only thing is, that if you have a 3DS the upscaled DS graphics look like arse.

      ^ This
      least they could have done is made a 3ds version with support for its actual screens (not talking about the 3d aspect). Graphics are hardly the issue here.

    Every point here is basically commending Nintendo for cutting costs, reusing old material, being unoriginal and overall: being fucking lazy.
    Saying Pokemon has a great sprite-based art style and therefore shouldn't change is stupid. You could've said the same about Zelda or Final Fantasy at one point. The difference being their developers had the decency to try something new once in a while unlike Gamefreaks who just shovel out the same game (or games as it's usualy 2 so they can make even more money) with new paint every year or 2.

      I don't think it's that bad, it's just like 2D fighting games- has the format seriously changed in the last 30 years? The changes in Pokemon in each generation, like fighting games, are mechanical and subtle. They may not mean much to the casual player but in competitive battling it's pretty significant (i.e Pokemon learning new moves can change how they're used).

      And your making it seem like Nintendo is only one that does the whole

      1) Create Sequal
      2) Reuse assets
      3) ?????
      4) Profit!

      Formula.... happens all the ithe time in the industry =P

    I'm glad they made it for ds not 3ds

    "and by being able to reuse Black and White‘s assets, we get a new Pokémon game only a year-and-a-half after the last one." You are justifying quick cash-in's? Because honestly that's all black and white 2 are. This whole argument suggests that the consumer means squat and it was easier for the dev's to recycle things so its good? I would understand if it was a small franchise that had not made much money and had limited resources, but these guys are rolling in it presumably so theres really no way you can justify recycling assets for a cheap cash in. I have always felt this way about the "third" pokemon games they always seemed like a money grab, because that's what they are.

    "The Nintendo DS is the most popular system of its generation in the world with over 152 million units sold. The 3DS, on the other hand, has only sold 18 million units so far." - This is the one and only reason.

    That first shot looks absolutely great - I have yet to play White 1 (still have my copy sitting nearby...) is that from the original game? If so, great, can't wait to play it!

    If, however, it's from B/W 2, then I really couldn't care less if Nintendo are throwing together a quick cash-in, if that's what they consider a cash-in, I'm all for it.

    I have no intention of buying a 3ds, because I think the system is overly focused on a gimmick that can only cause me physical pain (3d), so I am glad they released it this way. This is the first I heard it was released for the older systems, and it makes me happy since I really want to play the game.

      You know you can always turn OFF 3D on the 3ds if you don't want to play in 3d, if there's an awesome Pokemon game for 3ds you can play it without playing in 3D.

    I'm not happy with this. My DS doesn't support my Internet's security settings but the 3DS does.. so no online battles for me :(

    I'm all for them continuing to support the DS but the real insult is that you will not find a copy under $60 even if you want it.

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