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  • 22 Years In The Making: There’s A Reason For New Pokémon Snap’s Long Development Time

22 Years In The Making: There’s A Reason For New Pokémon Snap’s Long Development Time

  • by Alan Hobbs
  • 2 Years ago
  • 1

Pokémon Snap remains one of the most charming games of the Nintendo 64 era. The quirky photography game was ahead of its time, long before Instagram and social media in general made casual photography an international hobby.

And who could forget the game’s tie-in promotion with brick-and-mortar giants like Blockbuster that allowed you to print out your Pokémon pictures at special kiosks. Those Pokémon Snap stations would go on to become a fixture of Blockbusters for many kids in the late 90s/early 2000s.

Despite being a niche spin-off title outside of the mainline Pokémon series, the title sold over 1 million copies in the US alone. And it received great reviews for such an offbeat game. By any measurable metric, it was a financial and critical success.

But that was in 1999, nearly 22 years ago. What took so long for a follow-up? After all, other Nintendo consoles like the 3DS came equipped with built-in cameras, and the Wii U’s gamepad would’ve made for an ideal gyroscopic motion control setup.

Then and now: Pokémon Snap in 1999 (left) compared to New Pokémon Snap in 2021 (right).

Heck, you might have even expected Pokémon Snap to have found its way to smartphones by now – and Pokémon Go admittedly has some very Pokémon Snap-ish qualities.

And yet, we got nothing for over two decades. No sequels. No expansions. Not even so much as a short-lived manga adaptation.

So what gives? Well, according to New Pokémon Snap director Haruki Suzaki from Bandai Namco Studios, there have been several attempts at making a sequel over the years that just never Pokémon Snap‘s return.

“The idea of photography has changed so much in the last 20 years, combined with the new Nintendo Switch hardware, that we thought it was the perfect time to create a new version of Pokémon Snap, and that’s why we started the project.” Suzaki recently said.

Concept art for New Pokémon Snap.

Suzaki later expanded on this comment, referencing specific changes on the photography scene that have influenced the new title.

“Players cannot only take photos but also can edit and share them online, in-game, and in the real world on social media.” he said.

That’s very true. New Pokémon Snap easily integrates with social media accounts to streamline the photo-sharing process, and from the trailers appears to have a very robust editing component that even allows you to add stickers to your in-game photos.

Now if only they could resurrect Blockbuster and bring back those kiosks!

New Pokémon Snap releases exclusively on Nintendo Switch on April 30th.

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