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Vector

On the troubling state of the Pokemon franchise

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Ever since the end of Gen V, Game Freak seems to have taken the Pokemon games in a questionable direction; that is, they are putting their focus on drawing in and pandering in a broader audience at the expense of alienating hardcore fans. They ignore common fan complaints about things like friendly rivals and continuous handholding, and give some pretty lame reasons as to why there are doing those things. Add in the casual-friendly gameplay , stories that lack depth compared to ones from previous generations, and it seems like Game Freak is keeping Pokemon from properly evolving as a game series. 

 

Rather than taking their time creating a new installment filled with more content, GF seems more than ever committed to half-assed annual releases that do away with the gimmicks from the previous generation, no matter how well-liked they are. This habit feels especially troubling, as Nintendo  is known for taking their time with their in-house titles to make sure that they are a proper expansion of their respective series. And while Nintendo has been recently been more sensitive to fan complaints. GF still makes the same decisions that fans hate so much. This all came to a head when they announced that Pokemon not from the Galar Pokedex would not be programmed into Sword and Shield. Because of this, I can't see Nintendo being too happy with GF running one of their most iconic franchises to the ground for the sake of drawing in more audiences. Do you think it's time for Nintendo to step in and do something to save this franchise?

 

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As long as the games continue to sell gangbusters regardless of quality, they don't have to do anything. I don't think the current drama surrounding the new games is enough to change their strategies until people actually vote with their wallets.

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I'd say at this point they're doing the opposite with Sword and Shield. It's sad to see the mainstream games being pushed down a more and more competitive path, when not all fans are like that.

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Honestly, I'd just like them to majorly upgrade the graphics of the games--they seem to low end for a CONSOLE experience.  That is, unless they look quite different in person for this new Sword and Shield Version.

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I really don’t think Pokémon ever had much to offer in terms of story. Gen 5 was the only time the games had me stop and think for a minute, but in my opinion at the time (haven’t replayed the games in years) their message mostly came off condescending. The rest? They’re fine. But ultimately the same from one generation to the next. Beat bad team, become Champion. Rinse and repeat.

 

Couldn’t agree more on hand holding though (felt like a very long extended tutorial on Melemele Island in Alola). But really I wish they had difficulty levels so it was more accessible to everyone’s speed.

 

 I admit I am mad about basically cutting out a large swath of their Pokémon but not sure it’s really a hill I want to die on.

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i don't really agree that most of the things you mentioned are real problems, and though i do think the series has been on a VERY straight and narrow path (especially for the past few years/gens), i'd hardly call it 'troubling' by any means

 

'hardcore' fans do not all want the same things, as like oscar said, if people continue to buy the games, they have no reason to change anything, and its not nintendo's business to step in (i'm not even sure where you got the idea that that's something they would do at all in the first place) 

 

while it certainly isn't evolving by the looks of sword/shield, it certainly isn't failing either. so like....buy it, or don't, if you feel you've outgrown the series. your complaints are valid, but let's not get a big head here. you and the other keyboard warriors of twitter and youtube are not the driving force behind a pokemon game selling well, and imo, you won't be ever again now that you're outside the main demographic that pokemon has ALWAYS been aimed at - children, and genwunners. 

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Yeah, I’ve kinda made my peace that this may be the end of the road for me and Pokemon, at least as far as the mainline games, this not being on par what I would expect for Switch titles like with the previous platforms they were on. I guess Pokemon really peaked on the DS, and kinda went downhill from there, but was only a matter of time until more and more would get fed up with how GameFreak does but the bare minimum, as Pokemon became too profitable to fail at a certain point no matter what they do, or don’t do in this case; hence them not feeling as ambitious with how they do the games anymore. 

 

It’s not really making me feel livid; just relieved in the thought that this is the point I can probably stop and say it’s been a fun ride while it lasted, as I was still kinda feeling fatigued again after going through Sun/Moon and Ultra S/M anyway. At least the rest of Nintendo is more responsive to feedback, even Super Mario Maker 2 already going out of its way to address issues and concerns with the online, as well as other Nintendo IP’s looking on the up and up.

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Posted (edited)

Honestly, even as big of a Pokemon fan I am, I've always preferred the friendly rivals (Hau is honestly my fave) and I actually prefer it when Pokemon games are light on story. It's hard to explain concisely, but I find even the best Pokemon stories dull at best, so they've tended to hinder rather than help my enjoyment of the game. Like, I think what longterm Pokemon fans want are pretty diverse, and while a lot of fans may want more aggressive/antagonistic rivals, more in-depth story, etc., it isn't enough of a contingent for gamefreak to change their bottom line.

 

Although, the handholding can go. I'd love for sword/shield to ask "Do you know how to play a Pokemon game?" and let me skip all the tutorial stuff. Even the new stuff is usually straightforward enough I can figure it out myself. Pokemon tutorials really do feel like this.

 

As for SwSh myself? Eh. The game has a very "bare minimum" feel to it and I'm honestly super disappointed that GameFreak isn't letting me non-Galar dex mons. I mean, I get it; Pokemon is a big franchise that delaying the game when all the anime/tcg/merchandising galar stuff exists isn't possible so the deadline is pretty set and there's a thousand of these critters, but I'd at least love to see something simple like "weekly max raid battles introduce an old species of Pokemon never before in the game" or something.  The Wild Area still has potential methinks, and while I don't care for dynamax, it's at least mechanically sound in a boring but practical sort of way. I might get Sword/Shield, I might not.

Edited by Ares

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18 minutes ago, Ridley Prime said:

Yeah, I’ve kinda made my peace that this may be the end of the road for me and Pokemon, at least as far as the mainline games, this not being on par what I would expect for Switch titles like with the previous platforms they were on. I guess Pokemon really peaked on the DS, and kinda went downhill from there, but was only a matter of time until more and more would get fed up with how GameFreak does but the bare minimum, as Pokemon became too profitable to fail at a certain point no matter what they do, or don’t do in this case; hence them not feeling as ambitious with how they do the games anymore. 

 

It’s not really making me feel livid; just relieved in the thought that this is the point I can probably stop and say it’s been a fun ride while it lasted, as I was still kinda feeling fatigued again after going through Sun/Moon and Ultra S/M anyway. At least the rest of Nintendo is more responsive to feedback, even Super Mario Maker 2 already going out of its way to address issues and concerns with the online, as well as other Nintendo IP’s looking on the up and up.

That's kind of where I'm at as well at this point.

 

Yea but honestly I kind of feel similarly about it as well (Mario Maker 2 that is). I don't feel as if I need to get it right away. Amiibo usage was my line. So it's pretty much something I'll get when I can get it at a discounted price.

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3 hours ago, Vector said:

Ever since the end of Gen V, Game Freak seems to have taken the Pokemon games in a questionable direction; that is, they are putting their focus on drawing in and pandering in a broader audience at the expense of alienating hardcore fans. They ignore common fan complaints about things like friendly rivals and continuous handholding, and give some pretty lame reasons as to why there are doing those things. Add in the casual-friendly gameplay , stories that lack depth compared to ones from previous generations, and it seems like Game Freak is keeping Pokemon from properly evolving as a game series. 

 

Rather than taking their time creating a new installment filled with more content, GF seems more than ever committed to half-assed annual releases that do away with the gimmicks from the previous generation, no matter how well-liked they are. This habit feels especially troubling, as Nintendo  is known for taking their time with their in-house titles to make sure that they are a proper expansion of their respective series. And while Nintendo has been recently been more sensitive to fan complaints. GF still makes the same decisions that fans hate so much. This all came to a head when they announced that Pokemon not from the Galar Pokedex would not be programmed into Sword and Shield. Because of this, I can't see Nintendo being too happy with GF running one of their most iconic franchises to the ground for the sake of drawing in more audiences. Do you think it's time for Nintendo to step in and do something to save this franchise?

 

 

I think the part in bold is an incredibly fast take based on very little that anyone knows about the relationship that Nintendo has with the Pokemon company that those outside that circle would even know.  I mean, you've just spent two paragraphs talking about how Gamefreak consistently makes "mistakes" with their games with each new installment yet the series continues to prosper while generating new ideas and levels of excitement around the Pokemon brand which in turn generates excitement for Nintendo.  There's a synergy there that isn't being understood by the sect of long time hardcore fans who do feel so down on brand about and what they project is the general feeling all around.  That just isn't the case.

 

That's not to say that the brand hasn't had missteps or questionable ideas along the way from a certain perspective but I think the above is filled with a lot of personal disposition about the current state and future of the franchise that isn't taking much to heart about what the franchise as a whole represents in the grand scheme of things.  For instance, Pokemon hasn't particularly been a bastion of storytelling.  While there are games that have stepped out further than most it's hard to really say that there is some logical conclusion that Pokemon should be properly evolving (heh) to some higher standard of storytelling.  We are definitely far and away removed from the days of Red and Blue where the purpose of the journey was primarily to catch them all and/or become Champion but one or both of those elements are still front and center in these games despite what all is happening inbetween Points A and B of that journey.

 

I don't say this to suggest that the voices of those with complaints don't matter but I often get a sense of tunnel vision about what the actual problem is when it comes to topics like this because attempts to project that personal investment out to be something far more generalized than what it is.

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I haven't been a Pokemon player and my only real investment with any Pokemon game was Pokemon Stadium / N64 and my brother got me to play him some on both Pokken Tournament games.

 

One the concepts of the games that escapes me that with SO MANY Pokemon in the game and the tagline "gotta catch 'em all" is that there has to be some that are better than others and what real world benefits would be to having so many different ones because some point I would think that powers/moves get very similar.  I guess, in other words what I am getting at is I can see needing to get your team well rounded with maybe 4-5 of each type fully leveled up so you can make the team you need to beat who you need to beat.  And that point a lot of the "lesser" Pokemon fall away from just not being what you need.  I am willing to have my opinion contradicted  though, that said, my brother who has loved the series since the beginning hasn't convinced me that you need them all and all are worth it.

 

********

 

Back to S&S though specifically, I find what I have seen underwhelming.  Yes, it looks better than any prior portable entry but it in no way looks like a CONSOLE version of Pokemon.

 

Based on my limited knowledge of the games and what I have seen form them, I would have done somethings along the lines of following for a console version:

 

*Not to say a BotW world is the best choice but I would say that change to a BotW landscape versus prior entries seems ripe for a new Pokemon world.  It wouldn't have to be as dark and realistic but it would be within the wheelhouse of the graphics usage.

 

*I would think that with all these "regions" in Pokemon there would be some sort of "world map" to where you can visit all regions for all kinds of Pokemon you want--it comes off to me as every game is a one region at a time set up.  And they seem to like to go back and retell the same regions multiple times and haven't really connected different regions.  Again, I could be wrong with my thoughts so anyone feel free to correct me.

 

*I do see a lot of potential with their set up of  Gyms, Rivals, and Main Rival.  Also, with what my brother has done with PokemonGo and the raids, I see a lot of potential in that too.  Maybe have a real captivating overall story arc to tie all that into a mission?  I do see a lot there with battling to level up your Pokemon and to test your team against other teams.

 

 

Anyways, just a non-player looking at it for what I think would work.

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baffled that any of this is a revelation when pokemon has been the same game with minor modifications and ideas bandied about for 2 decades

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They aren't alienating hardcore fans when every game is the series is still selling tens of millions of copies, they'll buy it regardless because they're shills.  I have no clue where this "i like stories in pokemon" bullshit came from when most of the games have had the most bland-ass tripe to justify sending a child out into the world to catch animals to become the best dogfighter in the world.  If anything I've disliked the trend of the recent games trying to tell a story but inevitably it's still a game aimed at kids/young adults that still amounts to boring justifications to travel and "oh the villain is trying to to shit to the world".  Most of this reeks of nostalgia; the old games were fun adventures but still vapid nonsense, you've just been through it 7 generations at this point.

How fucking arrogant to assume whatever relationship Nintendo has with the company.  If anything the past few years have been one of the biggest resurgences I've seen the franchise have, and not because of pandering to a new crowd.  Shit like Pokemon Go and the Let's Go series has been responsible for people who long grew out of Pokemon to get back into the series again.  I don't get this gatekeeping bollocks, it reeks of the "casual vs 'HARDCORE GAMER'" shit I thought we were over.  Don't ask Nintendo to save a franchise because literally the last time they did that, Fire Emblem Awakening and Heroes happened, which is literally the exact same shit with Pokemon lmao.

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I think it's fair to raise hell about the Pokemon issue, since adding them is only harmful and the resources are already there.
While I never felt that so much of an attachment to my mons that I'd pay to carry them through generations, I can understand the sentiment to a degree.
But the other complaints are silly. Story has never been a thing, even though there's so much potential (see: PokeSpe), and it's never been a hardcore game.
Afaik they've never nerfed competitive mechanics, and even acknowledged the competitive scene by making EVs and such less of an unbearable hell-grind.

Feel like I've heard the takes about gamefreak cash-cow-milking and "omg give pokemon to another dev" pleas since Colosseum and XD aged out.
Honestly, aside from the Pokemon Go blowup, I feel like the biggest reason for the series continue relevance is in the presentation and characters.
Obviously we've always loved the mons themselves, but the designs are so much nicer even if low-tech, and characters are really fun nowadays.
There's always a massive reaction and explosion of fan stuff with every random character that appears. It's fun to follow even if you don't actually play.
If the games are engaging and appealing to that level, they aren't going anywhere lol. I'll take another Colosseum-type game on the side any day tho

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Posted (edited)

Honestly I think the biggest mistake they made was waiting this long to hit the reset button.  It's not uncommon for gaming franchises to scrap, reinvent or drop most established characters or content from previous installments.  And if you don't want to look at it like that, if anything Pokemon can draw comparisons to TCGs where it's not uncommon to retire cards, ban them, remove them rotations, or create new rulesets that they're not apart of.  I get that people love the digital hoarding facet of the games, but also most people probably aren't going to lament the loss of EVERY SINGLE iteration of catapillar/cocoon/butterfly or small birb or rodent/big birb or rodent evolution from EVERY SINGLE generation.

And while the "animations" comment has been memed, name any other game that has 900 monster models with 8 to 10 animations each.  And this is probably with most people ignoring that now every single NPC in the game has probably at least a walking, idle and talking animation, and now every single trainer has a 3D model with animated introductions and losing animations while they're rendered in-battle with pokemon.  And unlike other games like MMOs or shooters it's not like you can palette-swap pokemon (even though they do with shinies) or reuse animations for other models.  It's a shitload of tedious work, there's a reason Gen 8's testing waters on the Switch basically scaled it back to the original 150.

Edited by luca

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10 hours ago, purple_beard said:

I haven't been a Pokemon player and my only real investment with any Pokemon game was Pokemon Stadium / N64 and my brother got me to play him some on both Pokken Tournament games.

 

One the concepts of the games that escapes me that with SO MANY Pokemon in the game and the tagline "gotta catch 'em all" is that there has to be some that are better than others and what real world benefits would be to having so many different ones because some point I would think that powers/moves get very similar.  I guess, in other words what I am getting at is I can see needing to get your team well rounded with maybe 4-5 of each type fully leveled up so you can make the team you need to beat who you need to beat.  And that point a lot of the "lesser" Pokemon fall away from just not being what you need.  I am willing to have my opinion contradicted  though, that said, my brother who has loved the series since the beginning hasn't convinced me that you need them all and all are worth it.

 

You're not wrong but I do think it kind of goes into a territory of people's interests being fluid in the kind of Pokemon they want to have on their teams for whatever intended purpose.  There are some Pokemon that just aren't good bets for serious Pokemon competition but that doesn't necessarily mean they are useless because most people aren't playing to compete in tournaments.  Not everyone is playing to compete online.  Not everyone is playing to compete against their friends.  Some people may have "lesser" Pokemon on their team because they simply like the way it looks or maybe they play to a certain theme.  The Pokemon series is definitely getting to a point of bloat, if it hasn't already, with the sheer number of Pokemon that have been introduced over the course of its run, but having that variety is part of what makes everyone's experience so different and is part of their customize their style of play.  Dunsparce, for instance, has been relatively useless from what I understand since the day it was introduced in Gold and Silver and I'd say that's definitely one that isn't needed.  But I don't think I could make that decision for anyone else out there, as unlikely as it is to me, to actually like that particular Pokemon.  I've actually read of people doing their utmost to train it and give it a moveset that could actually make it useful so maybe there is a sense of overcoming challenge with that.

 

Back to S&S though specifically, I find what I have seen underwhelming.  Yes, it looks better than any prior portable entry but it in no way looks like a CONSOLE version of Pokemon.

 

Based on my limited knowledge of the games and what I have seen form them, I would have done somethings along the lines of following for a console version:

 

*Not to say a BotW world is the best choice but I would say that change to a BotW landscape versus prior entries seems ripe for a new Pokemon world.  It wouldn't have to be as dark and realistic but it would be within the wheelhouse of the graphics usage.

 

I think an open world Pokemon is the dream everyone is shooting for so I don't think it's impossible.  However, to a degree I think that's part of what the Wild Area in Sword and Shield is supposed to be as something of a compromise.  Considering how large some of the environments are supposed to be throughout the Galar region and how there doesn't seem to be traditional routes and paths like in past games these open free roaming areas are going to be large zones separated by towns and cities.

 

*I would think that with all these "regions" in Pokemon there would be some sort of "world map" to where you can visit all regions for all kinds of Pokemon you want--it comes off to me as every game is a one region at a time set up.  And they seem to like to go back and retell the same regions multiple times and haven't really connected different regions.  Again, I could be wrong with my thoughts so anyone feel free to correct me.

 

Unless I'm wrong, all of these regions do essentially take place in the same world, however, unless they're direct remakes or a situation like Gold and Silver where you could travel from that game's Johto Region to Kanto from Red and Blue they really don't retell the same regions. There may be hints or notes here and there that reference other regions which helps with the allusion that all of these regions exist in the same world, but that's about it.  And a game that puts you in a world that has every region in it is probably not likely to happen, not anytime soon anyway.  That would be a massive undertaking on its own before even considering a game that does all of that using Sword and Shield's engine.

 

*I do see a lot of potential with their set up of  Gyms, Rivals, and Main Rival.  Also, with what my brother has done with PokemonGo and the raids, I see a lot of potential in that too.  Maybe have a real captivating overall story arc to tie all that into a mission?  I do see a lot there with battling to level up your Pokemon and to test your team against other teams.

 

The Dynamax battles in the Wild Area definitely seems to take some inspiration from the raids in Pokemon Go and with the whole thing around Dynamax and how it's an everyday occurrence and part of the DNA in Galar region Pokemon battles I'm almost betting there will be story beats centered around that phenomenon.

 

Anyways, just a non-player looking at it for what I think would work.

 

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Posted (edited)

A shower thought. 

 

The fact that Pokémon Home, as far as we know, let's you transfer any Pokemon to it even if they can't be imported into Sw/Sh might suggest that GameFreak will plan to add the rest of the national Dex later. 

 

I don't think it'll during Sw/Sh's lifetime; GF has a knack for not patching their games shy of a gamebreaking bug, but the third version? Possibly. 

 

If that's the case, I might wait until Ultra Sword-Shield-Helmet II before I jump into Galar. 

Edited by Ares

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8 hours ago, luca said:

Honestly I think the biggest mistake they made was waiting this long to hit the reset button. 

I'm curious, when was the reset button for you?

 

To me I believe it is gen 5 because of it's story and no catching any previous gen Pokemon until post game, also reusable TM's.

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If it weren't for my friends probably wanting to buy the games on release date, I'd probably decline on these games. I'd understand if this was a one time thing, a "growing pain" for this series, but the fact this will be the norm from here on out concerns me most. I'm not impressed with GameFreak, and I haven't been for the better part of a decade. I think as a business they need to expand or consider outsourcing for development. And I think part of me is the problem, too. I've been playing this series for 20 years now, there's only so much I can expect from the latest entry that will surprise me.

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