More than 25 years after the release of Red Blue, Pokémon is still an icon of the industry. In the UK, one of Nintendo’s weaker markets, Pokémon has become the second largest video game series (by box sales) this year, after FIFA . Pokemon Scarlet Violet just turned out to be the biggest Pokemon launch ever in terms of revenue. And if you’ve been to one of the UK’s pop-up shops in August, you know how enthusiastic and enthusiastic this customer base is.
Pokémon has known for a long time that ideally it would be ideal to have a main series come around once every three years. Every three years a new “generation” of Pokémon games comes out, and with it comes a new generation of cards, clothing, merchandise, events, and TV shows. With each new generation, new monsters and new characters appear, and the Pokémon Company builds new locations around them.
Just when fans start to lose interest a little bit, the next generation comes along and the next cycle begins. Just look at the numbers and you’ll see how well this system works.
But there is a problem. Three years is definitely not enough to create a AAA-level adventure game. During its time on Game Boy and DS consoles, Pokémon was considered one of the groundbreaking works, both critically and commercially. But on Switch, where expectations are much higher, Pokémon is at a disadvantage compared to Nintendo’s big first-party titles such as Zelda. Pokémon games on Switch simply don’t behave or look good.
Some fans, of course, can’t understand why a series that makes so much money fails to do so visually and technically. They call developer Game Freak, one of the world’s most prolific game studios, “lazy.” Pokemon companies that do not reinvest their funds are also called stingy. But the problem isn’t Game Freak’s effort or ambition, or the game’s budget, but the time it takes to build it.
Therefore, Game Freak has tried to act economically and realistically. Pokemon development is approached in an almost iterative way, where you try something in one game and develop it in the next. As such, they don’t look like they’re doing their best in the game, nor do they fall short when it comes to innovation. However, there is no change in the fact that it is released at a regular pace of three years.
For most fans, especially those involved in the world of Pokémon, this is fine. They think this is better than waiting five years for each game. However, if a global epidemic occurs, for example, you will be faced with serious performance problems from the beginning, like Pokemon Scarlet Violet. The game wasn’t ready.
This title is far from unplayable. In fact, even if I’ve only played a little bit, it’s a really fun game. I also think that a few patches will fix most of the problems. But let’s be honest, Pokemon girlfriend Scarlet Violet won’t make many of this year’s “Best Games” lists. And looking at how Pokémon has evolved over the past six years, it’s hard to imagine if the franchise will ever be.
This is irritating. As a fan myself, I find myself playing these games and thinking, “If only I had six months left.” Earlier this year, the company launched Pokemon LEGENDS Arceus. This was a really good one in the series. Critics have called it the best Pokémon game in over 20 years , and I agree . But it was technically lacking, the visuals were spotty, there was only one town, and the post-game corner was a little tired. It seemed to me that Game Freak was glued to all the hard parts of making fun games, and needed a little more time for the rest.
I wonder if the answer is Legends. The game surprised the world when it launched in January, usually a barren land for new releases. Even Nintendo seemed to be taking things lightly, with retail outlets selling out in some markets. It’s unclear if there are plans to launch more Legends games, but it makes sense. Because Game Freak now has a second Pokémon series that can hit numbers like only the company’s “generation” games have in the past.
This creates an interesting opportunity. Call of Duty has long benefited from having two series, Black Ops and Modern Warfare, developed by separate teams and released alternately. Pokemon could follow this model as well.
In retrospect, maybe (who knows how it’ll turn out) Legends should have come out this Christmas. That would have given the team a few months to add some features and polish the technical side. Also, while it didn’t introduce any new regions or new Pokémon, the game’s historical setting was rich enough to allow for further development in media such as cards and TV shows (which they did, of course). more than that).
That way, Game Freak could have given Scarlett Violet another year, and I think that’s exactly what the game needed.
Of course, developers may not feel the need to do so. Both Pokemon Legends and Scarlet Violet are games made during a pandemic. It was a relief situation. Aside from some online outrage, fans seem generally happy with the product they received.
But I think Pokemon is better than that. Game Freak isn’t a developer who settles for a 7 or 8 out of 10. A Pokemon game coming out on Switch may not live up to its potential, but it’s still an ambitious effort by an ambitious team clearly trying to keep things moving.