Pokemon Sun And Moon’s Devs Respond To The Popplio Backlash

Pokemon Sun And Moon’s Devs Respond To The Popplio Backlash

Earlier this month, Kotaku asked the folks at Game Freak which starter Pokemon they prefer in Sun and Moon. Unfortunately, poor Popplio didn’t make the cut.

I got a chance to speak over the phone to Junichi Masuda, producer on Sun and Moon, as well as Shigeru Ohmori, director on Sun and Moon, and they dished on what monster they planned on selecting first for the new generation.

“At home I have a really tiny cat,” Masuda said. “…it’s 3kg. it crawls around, gets right on my shoulder, so I’m a cat man. I think I’ll probably go with Litten.”

Litten, the fire feline, is a rather popular choice among fans — so it’s not surprising that a Pokemon head honcho would pick that critter. Ohmori had other ideas.

“I’d probably go with Rowlette for my favourite,” Ohmori said. Ohmori elaborated that he still remembered when they first drafted Pokemon in 3D back in X & Y, they had to think of new ways of showing “movement” for these monsters. The aim was to make every Pokemon feel more lively. In Sun and Moon, Game Freak seems to have taken those aims to the next level, with Pokemon now having all sorts of subtle animations. For Ohmori, Rowlette exemplifies the values that Game Freak has been trying to capture for a while now. Ohmori said that he particularly appreciated the way Rowlette moves his head and body, something that you can really see shine with Rowlette’s evolution:

Naturally, I had to bring up Popplio at this point. I jokingly told the developers that I noticed they didn’t pick Popplio, and asked them if they had heard of some of the backlash against the water starter. I asked them, what did they think about that negative reaction against Popplio?

In response, I could hear some laughter on the other end of the line, but after a few moments, a concerned Ohmori seemed keen on reassuring me on Popplio’s design.

“There’s two of us,” Ohmori explained, “But of course we don’t want to exclude anybody. I personally think that Popplio was very cute and he’ll be very popular with a lot of people.”

And it’s true: Popplio does indeed have a defence squad now, despite bullshit new reasons people bring up for disliking the design, like femininity. Once the games are out, though, it will be interesting to see the specific breakdowns for starter choices, though.

We’ll have more from our interview with Ohmori and Masuda in the coming days.


  • despite bullshit new reasons people bring up for disliking the design, like femininity.

    Some people don’t like it because it looks ‘feminine’. So what?

      • I’m just curious as to why people might be outraged that other people don’t like a video-game character because those other people think it ‘looks feminine’.

        Should we get upset because some men don’t want to wear dresses because they think they ‘look feminine’? Or because some men don’t want pink-coloured items because they ‘look feminine’?

        Is this really something people should get outraged about? (I mean, obviously Patricia appears to be, but really?)

        • I try to get Female Starters myself, and I admit Popillo’s final form does look feminine. I have nothing against it, but I really like the Owl Archer Final form of Rowlette so that’s what I’m going for. Although years of Pokemon games has taught me always go the Fire Starter for Power. Either way I hope to Eventually get them all.

          Not every Pokemon design is a winner for me, but sheesh just catch one and put it in your box and don’t use it. There are Hundreds of Pokemon, just use the ones you like.

          I still remember the Super Mario Bros. 2 manual telling me Birdo was a dude who wanted to be a girl, despite them changing that now days that is the way I still think of Birdo. I admit I threw eggs at him/her but that was because of life choices of being an end of stage boss not lifestyle choices.

    • Correction – some people are so offended by its femininity that they are throwing a massive hissy fit and saying they’ll boycott the game.

      Instead of, y’know, just picking something well manly like litten.

      • I guess they’ll miss out on the game then 😛

        Nah, who are we kidding, it’ll be another Modern Warfare 2 boycott fail.

      • Well, thing is, people will complain that Incineroar looks like a Fire-fighting. Or they’ll complain that Decidueye is a strange typing combination. If they’re really gonna complain about Primarina and Brionne being feminine, they’ll probably complain about just about everything.

    • I’m more surprised that more people are disliking the new feminine water starter than the fourth fire/fighting one in a row. ‘Course I’m still going to pick Litten.

      • I believe that Incineroar is fire/dark, not fire/fighting. That’s what it says on the pokemon sun and moon site, and in the original pokemon videos that have hit the internet.

  • Popplio was my pick of the bunch, i was surprised when i heard the backlash about how no one liked it.

  • I don’t like Litten’s final evolution because it’s too masculine. He’s a kitty. He should be a lithe hunter, not a body builder. The fact that it’s bipedal is also a huge turn off.

    • Usually prefer the fire start but boy that final bipedal form, no thank you. Couldn’t we make it some giant tiger like being that walked on all fours instead?

  • Gonna say the same thing I did on another article about this.

    For me its not a question of ‘femininity’, it’s a question of consistency. The thing that throws me off about Brionne and its final evo that was leaked is that it just seems too inconsistent with it’s first form.

    Now if they had changed the first stage to make Poppilo line up more with its subsequent evolutions then I wouldn’t be so annoyed about it. I mean just take a look at this fanmade evo line someone made:


    Looks a hell of a lot more consistent with the theme that Poppilo seemed to be starting with the whole clown seal shtick. Yet they go the way of a seal/mermaid hybrid look? It just looks off to me.

    Delphox may have been an issue for some but I know I can just fix it by just playing the rng until I got a female fennikin to start off with to match it up better. But at least that line was consistent in it’s design.

  • TLDR: People are taking to the internet to vent at things they don’t like!

    To each their own – diversity is good, I chose Litten BECAUSE I like the final form (and the early ones).

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