Pokemon Development Team Reportedly Struggling to Meet Fan Expectations
Since the series has spent a lot of time on Nintendo platforms, it’s hard to remember that the Pokemon company isn’t a Nintendo subsidiary. They’re connected to Nintendo, but Nintendo doesn’t own them. However, it’s very easy to see that some of their business practices have been similar to the company they’re so closely tied to. However, with Pokemon celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, it appears that an interview with someone at the company shed light about how the more outspoken feedback from longtime fans has been affecting the members of the development team.
Pokemon Development Team Has Been Through a Lot
This information comes from J.C. Smith, the Pokemon director of consumer marketing. A small interview was held by the website Axios.com about the Pokemon brand turning 25 this year. Inside the article, they spoke about the success of Pokemon Unite, the Katy Perry music video, the launch of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl’s remakes coming soon, and some of the controversial events from recent years.
Some of which are still catching the ire of fans. One of the biggest ones to come from the past few years is the “Dexit” controversy. In 2019, it was revealed that the newest game in the series Pokemon Sword and Shield wasn’t going to contain the full roster of Pokemon from the game’s lineup.
Another issue from Sword and Shield is that the game’s graphical fidelity was similar to that of a 3DS game to a Nintendo Switch, even though the game had been in development for long enough to make a game that appeared polished. The fact that the game didn’t live up to the console’s standard had players wondering what the issue was with the game, seeing that the graphics of the previous Switch title, Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, were better graphically than Pokemon Sword and Shield.
With Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl also coming out, it’s starting to get extensively leaked online as well. One of the biggest revelations from the leaks is that the ROM files of both versions are the same, and the only thing keeping one version from being the other is a small flag that can be changed in the code extremely easily. Now, it only takes a single hacker to be able to change the version of the remake they’re playing. On top of this, the game doesn’t include the same amount of content as the previous remakes of past titles do, leaving the player wondering why they couldn’t just replay Pokemon Diamond and Pearl.
Even Pokemon Legends Arceus is falling under scrutiny before its launch. For some reason, the trailers show poor performance, specifically within the animations. However, the game hasn’t been released yet, so there’s a small window that these issues could be ironed out, but with the state of Pokemon Sword and Sheild, it’s hard for fans to think that the company isn’t going to do anything about it.
Outside of the realm of gaming, the company’s trading cards have also fallen under scrutiny, however, not by the efforts of the company themselves. Target has stopped selling Pokemon cards since people are coming into the store in droves to purchase them, and it’s been happening so frequently that Target has stopped all sales of cards.
All of this so far has caused a lot of fans to lose trust in the company. Seeing that it’s one of the most profitable companies in the gaming industry, it’s not out of the ordinary to see a product come out so half-baked like Sword and Shield, and wonder, “where’s the money going?”
The Pokemon Company knows this, and they hear all the criticism from the fans directed at them. Including the harsher comments directed at them. “We have a group of creators and professionals working at the Pokemon Company that has been through a lot — seen, heard a lot. They have thicker skin than many people do because they’ve heard it.”
Smith continues on to talk about how they also know about players asking for a more sophisticated game in the series, one that’s geared towards older players. “We hear it, and I think the creators definitely understand that there’s a desire for maybe something.”
For now, it seems that they are aware of what the fans want. While they’d be happy to oblige, it seems that it’s out of the hands of the Pokemon development team. They mention that they’re trying to keep games within the core audience of younger players, so older players will be left out a little when it comes to some of the newer titles. Regardless, while criticism is fine, harsh comments to developers aren’t the way to get the point across, especially when players don’t know who’s pulling the strings.