Pokémon Colosseum was the first Pokémon title on home consoles with the main series game mechanics and a fully realised story mode. Set in the Orre region, it was a darker, more difficult title made up entirely of Double Battles and introduced the concept of Shadow Pokémon, which you stole from other Trainers in order to Purify them.
Today, YouTube channel Did You Know Gaming? released a video featuring a fair bit of information about Pokémon Colosseum, following some developer and design findings about the main series titles Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. It includes discussion of interviews with development staff of Pokémon Colosseum.
One highlight from the video are a few pieces of concept art. These include one of the most notable characters of the game, Miror B., the unforgettable villain with a Ludicolo army. Two other art pieces are of Pyrite Town – an early concept art, and a second, more developed version that closely resembles the finished product. As discussed in the video, it appears Pyrite Town was originally going to have a Pokémon Centre, which never eventuated. The gauntlet from the building leading to Miror B.’s hideout in Pyrite Cave meanwhile was seemingly the only way to reach the Pyrite Town Colosseum, whereas the final game instead separated these two areas. Perhaps Miror B.’s boss battle changed locations during development?
Besides that, the windmill serving as the power supply for the town had a redesign, as did many of the buildings (originally much more rectangular). The Colosseum design was still not quite fully settled on, and a small Wes and Rui appear to be pictured at the bottom – they may have been settled on before this part of development.
While interview translations on the Dr Lava Cut Content website are locked behind a password, another Japanese interview published on a Nintendo website is available with multiple members of Genius Sonority (the developers of Pokémon Colosseum). This includes director Manabu Yamana, game designer Akihiko Miura, and composer Tsukasa Tawada. They discussed how the protagonist (Wes, or Leo in Japan) was older (17 years) than other game protagonists, and the addition of the Snagging concept. Other highlights include the creation of their game company (translation courtesy of DeepL):
Genius Sonority Inc. was established last year, wasn’t it?
Mr. Yamana: Yes. Around June of last year, Pokémon Inc. asked us to create new Pokémon software. I said, “Well, let’s just start a company,” and here we are. “Sonority” means “echoing”, but the word was a bit lacking in meaning, so I added “genius” to it and named the company “Genius Sonority”.
The scenario writer, Kazunori Orio’s response on page one of the interview highlights a different time, where perhaps the same amount of freedom afforded to Pokémon game design, featuring older characters and darker themes like Shadow Pokémon wouldn’t be present in the same way today.
Orio: The worldview of Pokémon is already established, so I was thinking about how far I could go in creating something new based on that worldview. But when I saw the image illustrations and characters created by Mr. Hiromoto, I thought, “Oh, as long as we keep the basic lines of the Pokémon world, we can do whatever we want. I think this is something that has never been done before in RPGs and, of course, in the Pokémon world, so I’m looking forward to seeing how users will accept it.
Tawada’s composition work had some focus as well in the interview:
When it comes to making music, we often hear the phrase “birth pains”…
Tawada: I am not that type of person, and I especially enjoyed working on this project. We had to write 5 songs in 10 days, but it was still fun (laughs).
(…)“Yamana: The number of staff involved in the production of this software is quite large. Even in the final staff roll, we ran out of music when we were adding names. I had to ask Tawada to extend it by two minutes on short notice.Tawada: It turned out to be a very long ending theme (laughs).
As noted in the Did You Know Gaming? video, Tawada has continued highlighting Pokémon Colosseum. Here is one of his renditions of a classic tune.
Have you enjoyed Pokémon Colosseum? Are you like many hoping to see a new Orre game once again (or even a port on the Nintendo Switch), despite the response from Masuda to the idea in an interview years ago?
Edited by Arcaneum and Sheep.