Last Updated 26.02.2021
My deep interest in Pokémon 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. My unfortunate first experience of the franchise was 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 had thought of over the years. A 3D, free-roaming action RPG version of the Pokémon games with real time battling, similar mechanics to those of the N64 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!
In recent years, The Pokémon Company have explored a number concepts from my dream Pokémon game through many iterations of their games. In the early 2020s, they took their first step into action RPG territory.
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 captivated by the level of creativity in the project, not to mention the idea of having a 'home' on the internet. Houla, along with Neuto (now defunct), were the two sites that introduced me to the idea of fan projects.
I started small at first, by making up my own pokémon designs inspired by the ones I had seen on Houla and Neuto. The defining moment of inspiration 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.
It was then I decided I wanted to write Pokémon fan fiction, but set in the universe that the Pokémon anime had already created, instead of an alternate universe like some fanfic authors chose to do. There were a lot of unfinished concepts in 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 (something they have pulled away from a little, in more recent years).
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.
The concept page for my old Pokémon game idea became the starting point for what was to become 'Pokémon Rebirth', with the male protagonist 'Caley Wilson' taking the spotlight. As with the Houla and Neuto sites, I also wanted to try my hand at creating my own region of the Pokémon world. I decided to base my region on Britain which, back then, had not been officially covered. The region of Tatto was born.
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 other members of Caley's travelling crew, as I liked the character a lot at the time. Adam followed soon after. He was brought in to give contrast 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, Pokémon Rebirth's website was launched 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 music track on the main page. As time passed and more stories set in the Rebirth Universe were made, this stopped being possible to do. But it was a fun way to promote the current work and gain visitor intrigue.
Early on, I greatly emphasized fan input with Rebirth, wanting to develop a real sense of community. And while I do still love group participation, the increase many fan submitted characters and ideas caused me to edge dangerously close to the 'write plot for the sake of a new character' attitude I had been frowning at the anime for.
Because of this, I began to decrease 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. Since a huge amount of plot had already been written in Tatto, and Galar did not yet exist, I was not able to archive the region in favour of another one. Tatto remained as a nostalgic reminder of those fan submission-fuelled days.
Copyright issues have always been a sticking point between fans and project creators. And I also went through 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.
In the late 2010s, it was becoming clear that I would not be able to complete the series arc I had hoped to, due to time constraints, and the scale of the ideas I had planned. With that in mind, I had to make the difficult decision to bring the Rebirth project to some kind of conclusion.
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, The Power of Us, 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