Pokémon Rumble World Devs Explains F2P Origins, Development

In the latest issue of Famitsu, Ambrella director Norio Matsumura and president Muneaki Ozawa discussed their latest project, Pokémon Rumble World and how the free-to-play (F2P) element came to be. Prior to the download’s release, all Pokémon Rumble games had been fully-priced up front. The move to F2P came from Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara.

“Mr. Ishihara (the president of the Pokémon Company) suggested: ‘Let’s try out F2P.'” said Matsumura. “personally I think that refreshing controls and the nature of continuously returning to the game are concepts which suit free games very well, so I thought there was a chance of success. However, many members of the staff are against F2P games…”

Despite initial resistance, there was optimism that releasing the base game for free would lead to a larger audience trying the series for the first time. Matsumura also gained peace of mind by implimenting a spending cap on the F2P elements.

It felt like a dream that more people could play the game when it’s distributed through the eShop for free. On the other hand, many staff members of our company like traditional packaged titles, so they voiced opinions like, “I’m afraid of a title in which you can pay infinitely and it is out of my league.” As that was the case, I thought people could play with peace of mind if there was an upper limit for in-game purchases.

Of course, making Pokémon Rumble into a F2P design necessitated the streamlining of the series’ design flow. Ambrella accomplished this by speeding up the tempo of certain scenes and removing a title screen altogether.

Besides making the game free, another manner in which the game was made accessible was the auto-attack feature. Ozawa revealed that at one point, auto-movement was even considered before being dropped.

Auto attack was implemented so that more people could enjoy the game. When we observed people who had no experience with the series, there were many who played the game without pressing the attack button. That’s why we considered attacking automatically and ended up implementing the feature. By the way, we also had an idea for automatic movement.

Pokémon Rumble World is one of the few F2P games on the 3DS eShop. The F2P element in the game specifically comes from the purchase of new levels and gear. Nintendo has not revealed how much money it has made on Rumble World to this date.

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Editor-in-Chief (Former)

A man with a plan. My favorite video game franchise is Pokemon, but his favorite video game is Resident Evil 4. I can also tell you trivial cartoon factoids.