Now, in an interview with Weekly Famitsu (translated by Nintendo Everything), Niantic Japan representative president Setsuto Murai has shed more light on how the project came to be.
“That Pokémon Challenge was a chance for us to be able to build relations with people at Pokémon, and then [The Pokémon Company] president [Tsunekazu] Ishihara and John [Hanke] were able to meet and talk,” Murai explained. “At that time both of their thoughts and visions were also very close, and as a union of their spirit, the talk became ‘Let’s do something together in the future.’
He later added, “In Google, there’s a culture where the staff release ideas for April Fools’, then they make their own teams to realise those. But for Pokémon Challenge, it was a staff member named Tatsuo Nojima who pulled out that idea, and he became the centre of the development.”
Murai went on to discuss the increasing integration of location-based services in game applications, and that they are excited about the possibilities of combining such features with the world of Pokémon.