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The Pokemon franchise has been at the forefront of both videogame and anime culture since its debut in 1996 with Pokemon Red and Green being released in Japan, and later in the US. Since then, the game series has evolved throughout the years, spanning decades of new releases across Nintendo Consoles.
Fans were excited for this legacy to continue with the newest mainline addition to the series, Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. Soon after the Nintendo Direct and E3 presentation by the company, however, fans excitement began to waver. Production decisions such as cutting out the National Dex had many outraged, especially with Pokemon Home’s recent release.
Critics of the game also cited graphical inconsistencies and overall low quality. Many also mocked the reasoning behind the cuts for the National Dex, which included the team wanting to focus on stellar animations, and even that the Galar region would be too cold for certain species of Pokemon to live in.
Fans quickly pointed out just how bogus this was, as animations from much older spin-off games like Pokemon Stadium held more expression than battle animations from the new title. The generally poor reception of the game is largely attributed to decisions and cut corners from the game’s developer GameFreak.
The chain of events leading to this controversy can be documented way back into the games, many citing games following Pokemon Black and White as the point where GameFreak began to put less effort into their titles. New Pokemon were introduced at an extremely reduced rate compared to earlier games, and the difficulty lowered to appeal to the more casual player.
This leaves fans wondering: what can be attributed to this change in attitude from GameFreak? One theory points to a surprising culprit – Pokemon Go. The mobile game outsold many of the mainline installments and was developed by a different studio called Niantic. Fans believe that this has GameFreak worried about their continued partnership with Nintendo.
That would explain why the already small studio has split their attention and resources. If GameFreak is worried that the development of Pokemon will fall majority in the hands of a new studio, it makes sense to have an original franchise to fall back on. GameFreak is currently developing a game called Town, right alongside Pokemon Sword and Shield. This also explains Nintendo’s quick release of another mobile game over the summer, racking up on mobile game cash and to distract from the current issues with Sword and Shield.
Ironically, the poor reception of Sword and Shield might be the proverbial nail in the coffin of GameFreak with Nintendo. If the development team had put all of their efforts into creating an amazing Pokemon game, it might have shown them in a better light to their partners. Instead, they are now the center of a heated controversy between fans and developers, and that is never a good sign for the upcoming titles.
POKEMON SWORD AND SHIELDPOKEMON