We’re edging ever-closer to the November release of Pokemon Sword & Shield, the first mainline entries on the Nintendo Switch, but it seems discontent continues to bubble away in the hearts and minds of Pokemon fans everywhere.
The first major “controversy” (if you can call it that) occurred when Game Freak revealed that the new games would not feature every single Pokemon, and will instead only allow you to catch, train, and battle with the new monsters, and a selection of old favourites.
Game Freak producer Junichi Masuda explained the decision to Famitsu:
The total number of Pokemon has exceeded 1,000, including new Pokemon and the various forms of existing Pokemon. As a result, it has become extremely difficult to make Pokemon with a new personality play an active part and to balance their compatibility.
Masuda also suggested that bringing over 1,000 Pokemon to Switch would simply have been too much work, as Game Freak apparently want to focus on higher quality animations and renders for the monster that do make the cut (at the time of writing, we have no idea which old Pokemon will be added and which won’t make the cut).
While a vocal minority continued to be outraged over the loss of the National Dex, most people saw Masuda’s explanation as entirely reasonable and were happy to let sleeping Growlithe lie. Unfortunately, that lull didn’t last long.
In one of the latest trailers for Pokemon Sword & Shield (above), you can see one of the new Pokemon, Yamper, perform the classic move Tail Whip. It’s about 21 seconds in, if you want to check it out for yourself.
While this Tail Whip might have otherwise flown under the radar, Masuda’s comments about better animation have inevitably opened up Sword & Shield to extra scrutiny from fans, who were quick to point out that Yamper’s animation is actually pretty rubbish, and in fact barely qualifies as animation.
Given “better animation” was one of the reasons cited for no National Dex, fans really weren’t happy with Game Freak, making their feelings known in that special way people on the internet often do. One Reddit user even compared the new Tail Whip animation to the one found in N64 classic Pokemon Stadium, and found the older game to boast (what they reckon to be) superior animation.
In fairness, back in the days of Pokemon Stadium there were only 151 monsters to animate, and even if Game Freak ditch half the current number for the new games, that’s still an awful lot more work. That hasn’t stopped the memes though. Nothing will ever stop the memes.
While I totally understand a lot of the anger some fans are feeling, I’m not particularly fussed myself. There’s no denying Game Freak isn’t helping itself, but Yamper is a little cutie and can wiggle its poorly animated tush at me anytime.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.