When there are multiple people working on a project such as a video game — sometimes many multiples of people — it’s often that fans attribute the hard work to the most prominent designer or director they can think of. Even with individual aspects, such as music, art, level design, and the many other elements that make up the video game whole, there are usually one or two prominent names in each department that stick in people’s minds who tend to get credited with the whole shebang. It’s a mistake many of us make from time to time!
This is often the case with Pokémon designs. The two most famous designers in the franchise are Ken Sugimori and James Turner. Many tend to attribute a lot of early pocket monster designs to the former, while Turner is often at the forefront of adorable creature art in the modern games. But with such a wide variety of designs, and over 900 Pokémon just catch and marvel over, there’s simply no way just two people come up with every one of these fabulous creations! And yes, we’re counting Trubbish and Garbodor under the “fabulous creations” umbrella here.
One fan is looking to change this perception, though. Known as Altruis on Bulbapedia, they’re compiling a list of Pokémon per generation, based on their designers. With the Pokédex as large as it is, that sounds like a Heracross-ulean task, especially with many of the older titles like Pokémon Red and Blue and Pokémon Gold and Silver as it’s much harder to source the original artists.
To ensure the information they’re uploading is correct, Altrius is only using sources such as official interviews conducted with the artists, or by reaching out and asking directly. With more recent titles, however, a lot of designers often share their creations and joy via social media, such as freelance artist Yusuke Kozaki, who came up with the rocking, electrifying Toxtricity from Pokémon Sword and Shield.
One of the biggest discoveries is that the person responsible for the rosy-cheeked Pikachu’s design — Atsuko Nishida — is, in fact, responsible for a ton of fan-favourites, such as the original starter trio, Zorua, and many of the Eeveelutions.
You can keep checking back at the list as more and more information is uncovered, and details about the artists, the Pokémon, and their designers, are added. But we think this is a fantastic resource that shines a light on the unsung heroes of the Pokémon franchise. Some people might never have found their favourite pocket monsters without these designs. We wonder who’ll be designing the new Pokémon we’re bound to encounter in the upcoming Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.
Share with us your favourite Pokémon designs down in the comments below!