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PokéRogue: The Fangame That Hooked Players Immediately

The hit Pokémon-based roguelike has gained a lot of attention, but big changes are happening.

Credit: Alyx Buffenbarger

Although it has not been out long, PokéRogue has gained massive attention. This roguelike fangame stemming from the popular Pokémon franchise has players diving into hundreds of battles. Originally released on March 22, 2024, the game’s player base has grown exponentially. Within just a few months, the game reached over a billion battles won.

The game has gained so much attention within its first few months that it obtained its own Twitch category. In comparison to similar small indie games, this was a large achievement. This only increased the audience’s size. Popular streamers such as Ludwig, SmallAnt, Shxtou, and many more had thousands of viewers attend their PokéRogue streams.

The Pokémon franchise is no stranger to roguelike games. The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series is Nintendo’s take on an official roguelike. However, it does not soley focus on the roguelike genre in the way both PokéRogue or Pokémon Emerald Rogue do. Since Pokémon Mystery Dungeon has a different combat system, it does not scratch the same battling itch as these fangames.

PokéRogue takes the addicting battle style of Pokémon games and merges it with an intense waves of roguelike action. In an interview with the creator, Samuel H, he stated, “I knew it was a good idea and I had no doubt about the potential.” Such a concept was easily lovable, but it had to be done right.

The Developer’s Dream

Samuel stated that the game was inspired by Risk of Rain 2 and a past Pokémon project he had created 10 years before the release of PokéRogue. “Something caused me to just put them together in my head and it just grew from there,” he commented.

Since the game was released, it has continued to grow exponentially. Unsurprisingly, a larger player base has involved more work and effort from the development team than expected. Creator Sam has encountered unexpected challenges, “It’s a lot more stressful and there’s a lot of complications involved now that I didn’t have to deal with before.”

“It’s definitely harder to find the time to actually work on the fun features I enjoyed working on the game for in the first place,” he continued, “I have to focus on things like optimization and security that are necessary but not the most enjoyable things to work on.”

Samuel had been working consistently on PokéRogue and aiming to make it more enjoyable. This project was a huge development in his life.

“I believe I will continue to work on it until either I can no longer enjoy it, or higher priorities in life compel me to stop,” Sam concluded.

The Big Resignation

Though he initially believed he would work on the project for much longer, on May 16, 2024, Sam stepped down from developing PokéRogue. He stated that, after careful consideration, this project was not within his trajectory for his life. Quickly, a new development team began forming. However, many changes needed to be made to accommodate a large team instead of one developer.

In the months following Sam’s resignation, many new developers joined the team. The team broke into “divisions” and began working on their respective specialties.

One lead developer goes by the username, Madmadness65. He stated that the team broke into four divisions. Those divisions were “development, balancing, art, and wiki maintenance.” While each division works fairly independently, the lead developer said the team regularly gets together “to discuss what each division has been up to and what to focus on next.”

The Future of PokéRogue

As the PokéRogue community continues to evolve, players are excited to see what new features are implemented and how the game grows as they play. The team has new modes, trainer types, revamps, and other quality-of-life features planned for the future.

The game’s head artist, Momo, released artwork of non-binary protagonists that will be implemented in the future. The two characters, Arlo and Ezra, bring new styles, colors, and personalities to the game’s existing characters.

PokéRogue’s non-binary protagonists. Credit: PokéRogue

During June 2024, the team released a Pride Month event. This marked the first big, official PokéRogue event. Players received better chances of catching a shiny pokémon. In addition, pride-themed pokémon were added for the event.

Following the Pride Month event, lead developer Madmadness stated that the team wants to do more unique events in the future. However, he stated, “since the game is currently undergoing some major under-the-hood changes right now, there isn’t any active plans for new major events in the near future.”

The development team’s roadmap shows high priority on offline play, additional challenge modes, as well as continued work on new or unfinished moves. Many “medium priority” changes involve quality of life improvements. These are changes such as skipping animations, achievement shop, run history log, and more changes that just make the game a little more user-friendly.

An Unending Goal

One ending screen for PokéRogue. Credit: PokéRogue

Since the game is so young and ever-changing, there has yet to be an end goal to reach. Madmadness stated that the team has “plenty of new features currently in active development that will definitely expand the scope of the game.”

New players continue to discover the game and its established community. Old fans are finding new ways to spice up their runs. The PokéRogue community has played a huge part in the game’s development and success. With the team running polls to decide on sprite design, UI updates, and more, the players are more involved than ever.

New players finish their first “PokéRogue run” every day, and many loyal fans are still topping their best Endless Run scores. The game’s development may have shifted, but the players are still as excited as ever to see what changes come next.

The development team continues to work hard. Their consistent updates and bug fixes make the gameplay more enjoyable than ever. With the collaboration of the development divisions and players, the game continues to grow in success. “There really isn’t an end in sight for now,” Madmadness stated.

Written By

I am an aspiring writer and librarian from Fort Wayne, Indiana. I am currently pursuing an English degree at Manchester University where I have been published in the school newspaper.



  1. Mitchell Mans

    July 11, 2024 at 3:12 am

    Good game, good article, good times

  2. Landon Frank

    July 11, 2024 at 3:17 am

    Love it!

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