The jump to the Game Boy Advance proved to be very stressful.
Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire released for the Game Boy Advance back in 2003. The developers of the game were not only tasked with coming up with new monster designs and a whole new region to explore, but Game Freak was moving from the Game Boy Color to the Game Boy Advance and had to surpass the greatness that was Gold/Silver. The development of the third game in the Pokemon series proved to be very difficult for the team, especially for Pokemon Director, Junichi Masuda.
In an interview with Game Informer, Junichi Masuda discussed just how the development process was like, and why transitioning to a new handheld proved to be pretty arduous. “With Ruby and Sapphire, the screen got a little longer and it was a different aspect ratio, a lot more colors and sound channels so the tech was improved dramatically. It allowed us to do a lot more and gave us more freedom, but at the same time it made it take a lot longer to do things and was more resource-intensive,” Masuda explains.
Masuda was also worried that people were over Pokemon and that the new game would not sell like its predecessors, “The next time I visited [America] it was all Star Wars. Everyone was saying it was on a downtrend, the fad’s over and I really felt that pressure to make something amazing.”
The stress of working on Ruby and Sapphire eventually led to Masuda ending up the hospital one night and he had a nightmare about the game being a “complete failure”. These two games ended up being universally loved as critics praised the glorious debut of Pokemon on the Game Boy Advance.
Game Informer went to Game Freak in Japan to learn more about the Pokemon franchise, where they did ton of other interviews and video features, which you can check out here.