Last Updated 04.11.2016
My Pokémon fandom started when I was 12, in 1997, with the brother of one of my sister's old friends. At the time he was a fan of Pokémon. I hadn't seen much of the franchise, bar the bad press it had received on international news media back when the "Electric Soldier Porygon" episode of the Pokémon anime caused Japanese children to have seizures. After tentatively sketching Pikachu, Charmander and Zubat based on his descriptions, curiosity drove me to watch the anime dub once it started broadcasting in the UK. I was hooked.
After flicking through my latest copy of "Nintendo World" a now out-of-print unofficial games magazine which featured a ‘design a game’ section, I struck upon an idea which many Pokémon fans have likely thought of over the years. 2D, turn-based Pokémon gaming was all well and good, but what if they were to make a game where you could do all the things you already did in the handheld versions - only in a three dimensional environment where you'd be able to freely roam like you could in the more recent Zelda adventures?
created an idea sheet of a game I dubbed "Pokémon: Dimension 3"
I forgot to post the game design and instead it was forgotten under a pile of books for the next year and a half. But I'm thankful that happened - had I sent the design off, Rebirth may never have been born at all!
Still, my dream Pokemon game has yet to be achieved. I keep the specifications around, just in case.
A year or two later, I was browsing the virtual creature raising site Neopets when I came across a fan site called Pokémon Houla (now defunct). I was completely thrown by the sheer level of creativity in the project, not to mention the concept of creating a 'home' on the internet. Houla, along with Neuto (now defunct), were the two defining projects that introduced me to the idea of fan universes.
I started small at first - generating pokémon fan designs in response to what I had absorbed. The final push to do something more came from the anime itself which, at the time, was in its third season and suffering from plot that was simply written to introduce a new Pokémon every episode.
My concept? A Pokémon fan fiction - but with a difference. I wanted to work with and build upon the universe that the Pokémon anime had already created, instead of writing alternate universes like many fanfic authors did. There were a lot of unfinished concepts written into the anime continuity waiting to be explored, but otherwise left overlooked due to the anime's aim to follow the plots of the games closely. Like the Pokémon manga artists, I wanted to pull the anime world and its characters free from the game ties that in some ways, kept it restricted.
I also wanted to write for some of the characters I adored so much in the animation, exploring their personalities further. In Jessie, James and Meowth's case, give them a vision outside of the repetitive Pika-chasing that the anime writers had given them.
But who would be the one to start it all off?
Then it hit me…the concept page! I uncovered the work, blew off the dust and there he was…
Did I choose the name 'Caley' for a specific meaning, as I so often do now with characters? Not particularly. The name just sounded different, and I wanted a memorable title for what would essentially become Rebirth's flagship character. One notable reason for me choosing 'Caley', however, was that I wanted a name of English/Irish origin, to match with Tatto being a region inspired by Britain.
Caley was originally invented as an alternative take on Ash's role. I wanted him to be skilled, even powerful, but not the solution to every problem. He was destined to be a lone traveller throughout the entire story, but after a short time of planning, I decided that would have cut down opportunities for character development.
James was my first choice for additional members of Caley's travelling crew, as I was quite the fan of him at the time. Adam followed soon after. He was created to give dimension to the situation by being everything James could not stand - annoying, insulting and disrespectful. Following a short period of development for the story, Denise and Rose surfaced after conversations with two avid Rebirth fans of the time.
Early art of Rebirth's original trio of travellers.
In November 2001, Rebirth was launched as a culmination of Microsoft Publisher pages on the now-ceased Geocities. I would attempt to release every episode of 'Ultimatum' - back then existing as Rebirth's only story and bearing the same title as the site - to a themed banner and associated music track on the main page. Nowadays, with the juggling of several stories in the Rebirth Universe, this isn't possible to do. But back then, it was a fun way to promote the current work and gain visitor intrigue.
Rebirth started a lot more like a typical Pokémon fan project, with a unique region and fan pokémon design set. I greatly emphasized fan input, wanting to develop a real sense of community. And while I do still love group participation, no doubt you are aware of the phrase 'too many cooks spoil the broth'. In turn, too many fan characters tend to dilute the essence of a story. As a result, I was edging dangerously close to the 'write plot for the sake of a new character' attitude I had been scolding the anime for.
Because of this, over the years I have decreased the focus on creating/accepting totally new content just for the sake of it. Fan designed Pokémon and characters that existed without reason were pared down and archived for later use in Rebirth or other projects. Tatto remains as a nostalgic reminder of those days.
Copyright issues have always been a sticking point between fans and project creators. And in turn I faced some serious doubts over whether to continue Rebirth for that very reason. In the latter part of Ultimatum's existence, I even tried to convert the project into one that didn't rely on the Pokémon universe to exist. While this was neither a success nor a failure, Pokémon concepts were wound too closely into Rebirth for it to be able to continue without them.
I have continued to work on Rebirth, but am now channelling more time and effort into projects that are entirely my own.
Age: More than 2.5 decades
First Game(s): Stadium, Yellow
First Starter: Pikachu (Yellow), Squirtle (Blue)
Fave Game(s): Silver, Colosseum/Gale of Darkness, Pokemon XY
Fave Movie(s): Spell of the Unown, Rise of Darkrai
Fave Series: Orange Islands, Master Quest, Battle Dimension, Chronicles, XY&Z
Fave Soundtrack(s): Mewtwo Strikes Back (Dub Ver.), Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, Mystery Dungeon, BW