Pokémon Sword & Shield launched amid some crazy controversy. Fans took umbrage with the fact that not every single Pokémon could be caught or traded into the latest generation of the franchise. In an interview with USGamer back in June, game producer Junichi Masuda was asked what the reason behind this whole deal is, and here’s what Masuda had to say.
“There are a couple of different parts to the thinking behind it,” Masuda said, “but really the biggest reason for it is just the sheer number of Pokemon. We already have well over 800 Pokemon species, and there’s going to be more added in these games. And now that they’re on the Nintendo Switch, we’re creating it with much higher fidelity with higher quality animations. But even more than that, it’s coming down to the battle system. We’re making sure we can keep everything balanced and give all the Pokemon that appear in the games a chance to shine.”
Admittedly, this is the only quote a lot of fans have latched onto, and seem to believe the creation of assets was the main reason why Game Freak decided not to add in all the Pokémon (instead of the additional work required to make fully balanced gameplay with hundreds more monsters). So, when it was revealed via data miners that they were reusing assets from previous games, gamers called the dev out, using the hashtag #GameFreakLied, and working to boycott the game.
So, how did that work?
It’s been a week since the games have come out, and according to Business Insider, Pokémon Sword & Shield have had the most successful launch in franchise history, selling more than six million copies in its opening weekend alone, including two million in the U.S.
On the whole, critical reception has been largely positive, but there have been plenty of gamers out there who criticized the game for being a solid, if not lazy entry, where the dev seemed to iterate the bare amount to justify a release, with crazy pop-ins, bare landscape, 3DS-quality textures, and lazy animation being held up as evidence of this.
Regardless, these figures seem to confirm that audiences are still happy to catch ‘em all, even if the gameplay has grown predictable and uninspired. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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