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Why we have to wait for Pokemon games

"We take care with the Pokemon names."

Pokemon developer GameFreak has explained why their games launch in the US and Europe so long after they do in Japan.

It's because the Japanese developer cares so much about the Pokemon names.

"The gap between the Japanese launch and the European launch is because we always try to make the best videogame experience for not only Japanese users, but the people in other countries who enjoy localised videogames," game director Junichi Masuda told Eurogamer in a new interview.

"For example, we take care with the Pokemon names. We can all adapt Japanese names to Europe, but then sometimes it wouldn't mean anything to the European kids and players. So we always take all the processes seriously when we localise."

Pokemon Black and White will launch on the DS in Europe on 4th March and in the US on 6th March – nearly half a year after the games went on sale in Japan.

That sounds like a long time to change some Pokemon names, but independent developer GameFreak insists the process is getting smoother and shorter.

"For Black and White we totally changed the scheme of the organisation," Masuda revealed. "This time we translated directly from Japanese to all other languages. Before, we localised from Japanese to English, and from English to other European languages. So this time it was Japanese directly to European languages.

"That made the launch timing a little closer to the Japanese launch. This time, the launch in Europe is 4th March, which is two days before the US launch. So we're making an effort. This time we had many new localisation staff."

The next Pokemon games are rumoured to be in development for the Nintendo 3DS.

Pokemon Black and White were the best-selling game in Japan last year. Since launch in September they had amassed nearly five million sales.