Ash’s Pikachu would do almost anything for him, and the two have gone through over 750 anime episodes together, I couldn’t think of two closer friends. But how did the game developers at Game Freak incorporate this truly great relationship? Back in Generation I it was a thing. Small, but a thing none the less. Since then, the formula has stayed pretty much the same. Pokemon are your friend when you do good things, they dislike you when you do bad things. Simple. But what is the action going on behind the scenes? Hit the jump to read on about you and your Pokemon friendships.
Starting with Pokemon Yellow, Pokemon games have implemented a version of friendship to Pokemon. In Yellow, there was only one Pokemon that had a relationship with the trainer. That was your starting Pikachu. Why not have more than Pikachu as your friend? Well Pokemon Yellow was a filler to give Game Freak more time to work on Gold and Silver. While Gen II had a more complete version of friendship, this would suffice for now. Besides, you could have Pikachu following you around and could see his face. It was a fun addition back then. This Pikachu was special, it made you want to have him happy. He had a realistic cry, just like the anime. And when transferred to Pokemon Stadium, it made it that much sweeter to have a fun Pikachu. Because he wouldn’t evolve in the game, it also meant that he would be a high level. Just like the anime! I really felt a connection to this little guy plodding along behind me.
Coming along to Gen II and friendship is now a fully featured dynamic to the game. And every Pokemon now has an 8 bit value to determine the relationship between it and the trainer. Also certain Pokemon only evolve when they are the best of friends with you. While sometimes frustrating when you are only trying to fill your Pokedex, it meant that you had to choose your Pokemon properly and really decide if you wanted to invest in this Pokemon. Not just fill it with Rare Candy. I love the immersion of Pokemon games, and this just adds another layer of interaction to become engrossed by.
So I mentioned that the Pokemon now all have an 8 bit value to determine how close they are to you. Let’s look at that so we can understand what’s going on.
8 bits can hold numbers from 0 up to 255. A common thing in these handheld coding due to the processors being used. So what happens with these numbers? Well depending on the value at the time of doing an action can increase or decrease the friendship value. However this time Pokemon have a default value when captured, or hatched from the new Egg feature, those being 70 and 120 respectively. Another addition to the Gen II was new PokeBalls with which to catch Pokemon, and the Friend Ball helped us get along with our Pokemon from the get go by starting us off at a whopping 200 friendship value! Again doing nice things will make it go up, doing bad things will make it go down. I have prepared a table below to help.
|Friendship Level||0 to 99||100 to 199||200 to 255|
|Action||Change in Value|
|Walking 512 steps||+1*|
|Grooming, older haircut brother||+5||+3||+1|
|Grooming, younger haircut brother||+10||+3||+1|
|Gaining a Level||+5||+3||+2|
|Challenging a Gym Leader or Elite Four||+3||+2||+1|
|Using Heal Powder||-5|
|Using Energy Root||-10|
|Using Revival Herb||-15|
|Trading to another game||Reset to 70|
* Friendship still grows this way when the Pokemon has fainted.
This table shows how value changes depending on the action, and the current value of friendship as for Gen II as the Pokemon travel with you. This level can be monitored by going to the friendship checker in Goldenrod city near the bike shop.
This lays out the standard for then next Generations to come, as they all follow this formula with a few exceptions and additions, such as Soothe Bell, Luxury Ball and the Massage Lady in Veilstone City. These all add another extra bonus value each time or create a multiplier.