gamer culture

An Artist Dreamed Up Pokémon Go Years Ago

by Andrew Reiner on Sep 05, 2016 at 04:00 AM

In 2013, artist Dane Cozens envisioned a world where people would use cell phone-like devices to capture Pokémon. Flash forward a few years, and that's exactly what we are doing. The idea isn't that far of a leap from what Pokémon is, and I'm sure it's something many people thought about well in advance of Pokémon Go's release, but it is cool to see these illustrations capture the spirit of this game years before it was conceived.

"I think its kind of funny how some people think I added the cell-phones after Pokemon Go was released, but I always intended for them to be designed after smart phones," Cozens told me. "At the time, Apple was litigating against Samsung for patent infringement, which inspired me to draw a realistic Pokédex like a smart phone."

Cozens' first illustration was of the Venusaur (pictured below), which he made in October 2013. "I then decided to make it into a series the following year ,and they went viral. That was really exciting and encouraged me to pursue illustration as a career," he adds.

And yes, Cozens plays Pokémon Go, usually while walking his dog. His unique vision of Pokémon, which holds a realistic tone, is something he gives plenty of thought, and would love to see adapted into a movie.

"I’d love for it to be this sci-fi world where suburban heroes go on a wilderness adventure," he says. "In case the posters don’t show this already, I have possibly thought about a realistic Pokémon movie too much. When I think about the cinematography, I imagine a hybrid of Spike Jonze’s Where The Wild Things Are, Sean Penn’s Into The Wild, and Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. To me, that would be really awesome. While I was working on the posters, I listened to a lot of Alt-J, so I think it would be cool for them to do the soundtrack. Of course, I’d love to do some of the concept art and promotional art myself."

Cozens created one other Pokémon Go-like illustration of the Blastoise. You can view it on his blog, along with several other awesome Pokémon pieces.