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Old February 19th, 2016 (9:39 AM). Edited March 18th, 2016 by VisualJae.
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VisualJae VisualJae is offline
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This is the second "Ask Me Almost Anything" (AMAA) post that I'll do my best to keep hosting as development on Pokémon Academy Life continues. Each time, the goal is to share some insight on what goes through our heads when we consider or implement ideas. Why did we choose to include something and not another? Why did we set up different types of content a certain way? Hopefully this series will shed some light and help you understand a little more about the game's development. You can read the previous AMAA here.

Unfortunately, I won't be answering all questions (hence the "almost" in AMAA). If you asked something and it wasn't answered, either it's impossible for us to answer without being spoilerific, it's already answered somewhere in the game details (e.g. FAQ), older AMAAs, or we simply couldn't understand it. Feel free to submit again for next month's AMAA, though!

“How are your plans going right now? By which I mean are there any ideas in the previous AMAA that have been scrapped or have been accepted like Pokémon battles/catching/training or was it taken out for some reason? Also how are the storylines going?”
submitted by 1_5b44b2

A nice, broad question to start with. How are our plans going? Well, so far so good, to put in simplest terms. We haven’t hit serious roadblocks quite yet, though we’re always preparing for them. As of the time of this post we’re still wrapping up the next demo update, but everything we would like to do has so far already been implemented or just about ready to be implemented.

As for ideas that have been scrapped? I wouldn’t say any have been scrapped (other than some writing) because we generally won’t throw away an idea unless we’ve tried it to some extent. Pokémon battling and catching mechanics are still planned to be included in the game and we have a programmer whose one job right now is to design the battle engine. If that’s a success, we’ll move on to attempt the capture engine.

And lastly, for storylines, we’re getting as much of the foundation stuff set so we can blast out route scenarios like crazy after this update. You most likely won’t see major plot points in this next update, unfortunately, but hopefully you’ll get an inkling of the direction we’re leaning, depending on the choices you make, of course. We have the starting points pretty much set up and we have a good number of the ending points outlined. Now the fun part is the journey there, connecting the dots.

“Is there a ‘main’ storyline or ‘true’ storyline or is everything equal in terms of canon? Who is your favorite Pokégirl?”
submitted by Jaceoftime

This sort of continues along the same vein as the previous question. But first let me cover the term canon in relation to the Pokémon universe we already know. We’re going to try our best to keep things relatively canon with the existing universe. However, since this is an original work, we want to add our own twists and flavor when possible.

For example, we won’t touch things like Arceus creating the universe. We’re not going to suddenly make Mewtwo the god of all Pokémon and throw a wrench in the lore. But considering Red and other major characters are not cleaning out Pokémon Gyms and challenging the League, it’s already “not” canon. Look at the Gym Leader characters from the core series games, such as Misty, Sabrina, Roxanne, Skyla to name a few. They’re not manning their towns’ respective Gyms. Already not canon. But that won’t stop us from referencing canon things like, for instance, Brendan originating from the Johto region before he moved to Hoenn.

So for the visual novel’s storyline(s), we do plan on implementing a “true” ending to form our own little canon. Or multiple “main” endings. What they are and how many there will be is undecided right now.

And the favorite Pokégirl curveball question. Nice.

Mine would have to be either Leaf or May. It’s a tough call with many runner-ups.

Our character artist/lead writer once said Hilda is his top choice.

One of our producers is a die-hard fan of Elesa.

“ Will there be alternate endings as in there will be three or more endings?”
submitted by Sh4d0wGames

This was sort of answered in the previous question, but I’ll take the opportunity to make it clear here. We do plan on implementing multiple endings, certainly more than three. Some are written up already. We’re just a long ways away from implementing any of them.

“Are there any Easter eggs or hidden references in the VN?”
submitted by Poke_power60

Some of the LPers on YouTube have found a few Easter eggs already! I don’t think anyone’s caught every single one that’s included, but I could be mistaken. And to be honest, sometimes references are thrown in and even we forget what we were trying to do with them at the time.

For example, one reference that we removed for the next update was a few lines during the introduction scene for Brendan and May. When May was talking about going for a random roommate match and Brendan compared the system to catching and releasing random Pokémon, apparently that was a reference to Nuzlockes. I don’t think anyone got that because even I didn’t realize it until it was explained to me. I figured, if I couldn’t get it after all this time and the YouTube LPers I got the opportunity to watch didn’t get it, then chances are it’s just going to fly right over the heads of the more casual players and fans.

Anyway, Easter eggs, references… they’re there. And we do plan on including even more in the future.

“I'm wondering if you're going to implement the whole, ‘If you mess up with someone (as in, they have relationship meters that either increase or decrease) they become either your friend or enemy?”
submitted by Rekutsko

There are many cool ideas we can implement in the game. The problem is whether or not it’s worthwhile to add them at all. Right now there already is a hidden points system (well, not really hidden, but it’s not something you can just whip out from a menu and check anytime you want; kind of like Pokémon IVs). The whole friends and enemies dynamic, though, is a tougher call. The reason is if we go in that direction, it’s just going to make constructing scenarios and dialogue that much harder. Chances are we won’t go that far, but we do want to emphasize the importance of choices. Choose wisely.

“We've seen the appearances of the gym leaders, protagonists, and rivals, but will the companion characters be included in any way? For example, 4th generation had I believe five companions. One of which was Riley from Iron Island.”
submitted by Adam Easter

“Will the Battle Frontier characters make an appearance?
submitted by buizelking01

The short answer right now for both of these is no. We’re done with all the characters we plan on including in the game. We have the character art for 82 different characters. That’s already pretty silly. Anyone else would be due to a sudden necessity for plot reasons or some unforeseen circumstance. But right now I can state for a fact that there will not be any of those “companion” characters from the DPPt games nor will there be any Battle Frontier characters.

“Is Gardenia going to have a romance path?”
submitted by Jack Holloway

“Is my bae Sabrina available as a romantic interest?”
submitted by WatcherOfAnime Z

“Will there be a Yellow romance route?”
submitted by Steven Pham

We can’t guarantee anything right now for the three characters mentioned because we haven’t written anything for them yet. Sabrina I can say was originally planned to have her own ending, but the idea was thrown out. She likely still will, but right now it’s just a blank document.

Gardenia is an interesting case because other than Dawn, there is no other fourth generation female student character with significant traction (no, Cynthia is not a student). But like Sabrina, we have no writing for her at this time.

And lastly, for Yellow, we do plan on adding a route for her because she already miraculously found her way into the visual novel despite being the only non-core series game character (or game character in general). To not give her a role somewhere somehow would make her inclusion rather wasteful. But… again, nothing written down yet.

“What would you say was the most challenging part so far in making this game?”
submitted by Jack_Sparrow

The most challenging part so far I would like to say is a split between developing the battle engine and writing/implementing the absurd combinations of characters you can find in your classes. It’s not nearly as complicated as we once imagined, but it still got messy really fast when I first started working on the scenes.

I can also tell you for a fact that our writer was going nuts writing the different dialogue. Just briefly think about it for a moment. Eighteen Pokémon types (or in other words, eighteen different class electives). You get to pick two. Each class has different characters. Those characters are also in two of their own elective classes. Some characters you already met along the way. Some get introduced there for the first time. Some you may see again in the second class, some you may not. There are a lot of combinations…

“Any idea on what other web-sites the games will be released from, aside from Game Jolt and PokéCommunity?”
submitted by Exodisius

Funny this was brought up! We plan on creating a separate website for the game that’ll provide a lot more information, a discussion board, etc. but we haven’t made a move yet. Maybe in the coming months. It’s very low on the priority list right now.

That's all for now! Hopefully you learned something and maybe you have even more questions now. I will try to post one of these each month around the second or third week. If you have an interesting development-related question you want answered, you can tweet at PokemonVisual or email [email protected].

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