Inspired by viral Pokemon Gen 1 fan art, a solo dev is making a 3D game in Ken Sugimori's original style

 Pikachu in Ken Sugimori's style
Pikachu in Ken Sugimori's style

A solo developer known for creature-collector RPGs is in the early stages of making a new 3D game inspired by some viral Pokemon fan art, itself based on Ken Sugimori's original trading card game designs.

Yanako RPGs is an indie developer and creator of MonMae, an open source game making engine designed for fans of classic Pokemon games. Their debut title is an upcoming 2D pixel art monster-taming RPG called Dokimon, built in MonMae. And for the developer's next project, they want to make a 3D Pokemon-like game based on the incredible art of Pokeyugami, which we first discovered (and raved about) back in 2022.

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When I first saw Pokeyugami's short clip of what a 3D Pokemon game in Sugimori's original art style might look like, I declared, "This needs to be a real thing." And now it seems I'm getting what I asked for at long last.

Although it's still in the very early conceptual stages, I couldn't be more excited about this project. Like a lot of you, I grew up on the Pokemon trading card game and those early Game Boy classics, so the idea of a 3D reimagining with modern controls is an actual dream.

Yanako says the game "will combine elements of 3D and pixel art similar to how newer Pokémon games did it, but the target focus/style will be watercolor 3D." The plan is for the untitled project to include "some elements people really enjoyed" from Pokemon Sword and Shield, Pokemon Legends Arceus, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, and even Pokemon Black and White 2 "in some cases."

Again, this game is but a twinkle in Yanako's eye at this point, so it could change forms dramatically by the time it's actually in development and beyond, but it sounds like the core idea of having a 3D creature catcher in the style of Sugimori's timeless art isn't likely to change.

In the meanwhile, here are the best Pokemon games you can play today.