That the Pokémon games are today a technical disaster can be explained with 1008 reasons – Pokémon Scarlet / Purple

Have you ever been told why Porygon does it look like that? The development of the first Pokémon games took more than five years, and of course, technology had not stagnated in all that time: during the 90s, the industry began to turn to 3D graphics, so Game Freak faced quite reasonable criticism. They were late, a lot; to a console that was becoming outdated as was the GameBoy. And the team responded. In their own way.

did it with originality and humor, designing that practically alien polygonal creature that didn’t even fit with a tail in his universe. They repeated the same move a few years later with Porygon-2, in fact. The point I want to get to with this is that the idea of ​​”conceptualization > execution” It has been rooted in Japanese studies for decades, and time has only proved them right… even if that hurts us, for obvious reasons. The numbers say it.

As you probably know, Pokémon is the franchise that generates the most money in the world; above even Star Wars or Hello Kitty. We talk about about 120 billion dollars Americans as of May 2022, although of those astronomical numbers, only a relatively marginal percentage comes from the games that give rise to the creatures we all know and love. More specifically, Wikipedia makes the distribution as follows:

  • 91.305 million dollars come from merchandising
  • 27.145 million dollars, from video games
  • 1.85 billion dollars, from the movie box office
  • $830 million of household items (eg food or clothing)
  • 142 million dollars, of strategy books and guides
  • 3 million dollars, from the airlines

The trend, by the way, is upward: sales of collectibles registered in 2021 are more than double those of 2019, and we were talking about the generation of Sword and Shield. To give you an idea, Pokémon Scarlet and Purple are the fastest-selling exclusives in Nintendo history, more than tripling the sales of their predecessors in their first days of life. How do you think that will affect the stuffed and card market?

Pokémon plushes, figures and trading cards generate much more money than games

These numbers draw a delicate situation at least for Game Freak, because the real value of their product is in the characters; and precisely for that reason, everything else is “complementary”. When Pokémon Scarlet and Purple first came into the hands of users, I read some pretty interesting reviews: technical aside, others said that the game world was full of creatures, but felt completely empty.

Image of Pokémon Scarlet and Purple (Game Freak)

Fuecoco, from Pokémon Scarlet and Purple. Image: Game Freak

I was really shocked by that kind of reading, because when I was reviewing 9G games, I had the time of a kid catching all sorts of Pokémon, checking out their new moves and abilities, and even checking out how they were evolving with other reviewers—all of this took place over several days. before all the information was leaked on the internet—so, I would say, the new installments have reached a point that in English we would call make or break.

A Pokemon game is a genre unto itself

Something “crucial” in Spanish, wow. The Paldea region is actually not empty at all, but it does expect you to understand its species as equal or more valuable content than a gym, a minigame or a cinematic. I think that those who have connected with that line, those who have browsed and enjoyed the creatures themselves in their own way, are also the many who say that Scarlet and Purple are the best in the saga. If this is not your case… I doubt you liked them.

I must admit that facing the analysis of Scarlet and Purple was painful to say the least: how do you defend that the game is fun, if the best thing it has, which are the new Pokémon, are all embargoed? It’s difficult: it seemed like a make, because I was lucky enough to discover, understand and appreciate Gholdengo’s design, Tatsugiri’s ability, or the mechanics to find Ditto. But of course, all that was protected by a draconian NDA.

He couldn’t mention any of those things. Details that I had loved and that made the game super charismatic, including how Mabosstiff or Annihilape changed their appearance when they entered combat, or how GF had played a trick on all of us with Dudunsparce, or the mysterious evolutionary process of Finizen and Palafin… All of that is what makes a Pokémon game really good, so it’s the kind of feedback I wish I could share with you.

Image of Pokémon Scarlet and Purple (Game Freak)

Returning to the case of Porygon, Game Freak never seems to have been interested in making polished, flashy or ambitious RPGs; nor do they take themselves too seriously. But they are reasonably invested in preserving the charisma of their characters, to the point that many fans were excited to see the 1008 pokemon video; and they are willing to preserve that way of doing things above all else. If you don’t play the game, for you it’s a break.

And I get it. That the game looks so bad coming from a studio with so much purchasing power is very frustrating. feel bad Three quarters of the same for things like the PC box is slow, or that not all the species are there, or that the Teraincursions drag connection problems. But I also see that responding to Game Freak with sticks and torches doesn’t fix anything, because they too are “victims” of delivery dates: the investors they do not forgive

Image of Colagrito, from Pokémon Scarlet and Purple (Game Freak)

I don’t expect anyone to empathize with a company, a commercial brand, mind you; I do not do it. They keep his way of working, building their games around creatures that should be fun to collect as well as battle. These creatures sell. Money calls money, so it’s time to continue producing; even if that goes to the detriment of other aspects such as bug fixes (the QA department is penalized in all the video game industry).

Be that as it may, we have passed a thousand Pokémon. With their pluses and minuses, those of the ninth generation seem to me absolute madness. Competitive fans have been celebrating VGC Series 1, artists are having a blast designing their own time paradoxes, and we’ve got Tinkaton memes to stop a train. That this magic is maintained after so many years, releases and pressures, is to celebrate.