Game Freak’s decisions are hurting its games, which doesn’t bode well for Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Source: The Pokémon Company

Head over to any internet forum and you will hear Pokémon fans complaining about the quality of the latest Pokémon games. For example, Game Freak’s decision to outsource Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl to another company, ILCA, received mixed reviews. Some were happy that Game Freak didn’t scatter and instead focus on Pokémon Legends: Arceus, while others were skeptical of how ILCA would handle Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, which were remakes of two very Nintendo DS titles. appreciated.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Diamond and Pearl when they first released, but I tried the remakes anyway and was disappointed with the results. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one who expected more from these games.

However, it got me thinking and I’m starting to get pissed off at how Game Freak’s recent decisions are affecting the quality of its games. With so many people looking forward to Pokémon Legends: Arceus in January, I’m a little more careful.

What’s in a remake?

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond Shining Pearl Amity SquareSource: The Pokémon Company

The more I tell others about remakes, the more I realize that the lines between remakes and remasters are quite blurry. From what I understand, remakes are games designed from the ground up to give players a new experience with an older game. They often offer a change in art style, improved mechanics in line with other games in the series or genre, and new content to appeal to players who have played the originals. Pokémon, let’s go! Pikachu and Eevee are a prime example of this, revamping the original game and taking advantage of the fact that the Nintendo Switch isn’t held back by hardware limitations like the GameBoy was.

Pokemon Omega RubySource: The Pokémon Company

Remasters, on the other hand, are similar to most people’s idea of ​​a “port” – a game moved to a more modern system with a new lick of paint. Visuals and audio are often improved, adjustments in gameplay mechanics can be made, and while new content is welcome, it isn’t necessary. Think of Miitopia, for example, which brought the game to a console with a larger audience to make up for those who maybe missed it the first time around.

Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl were missing in many areas that the remakes are meant to improve.

When I ranked all of the Pokémon remakes, I mentioned how stellar Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver were. Updated mechanics, improved graphics and added features make it a pleasure to play even today. It pretty much beat Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, which brought GameBoy Advance games to 3D without removing the core games, and added huge things like the Delta episode and opportunities to catch tons of legendary. While some have forgiven ORAS ‘exclusion of Battle Frontier, none of us would know that this would set a precedent for how new games would be created.

Unfortunately, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl were lacking in many areas that the remakes are meant to improve upon. The available roster of Pokémon (above ground) was as lopsided as ever, with under-represented fire types, no new areas introduced outside of Ramanas Park, and a lack of Platinum content like the World of Warp. I’m not getting mad on ILCA, as it has done its job to the letter creating a faithful remake. I’m just wondering if more quality of life content or new gameplay or story elements would have been added if there had been more time or if he had gone to a studio with more Pokémon experience.

What’s in a game?

Pokemon Sword and Shield StartersSource: iMore

I know people have complained about Pokémon Sword and Shield, but I wasn’t expecting much from the first game in the series on Switch. Game Freak has shown that he usually doesn’t do his best the first time around and becomes more comfortable with the time he uses a system. Think about how Diamond and Pearl looked compared to Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. The two games are different worlds in their layout, despite being on the same system.

Pokemon’s annual cycle as a franchise hurts the games that are its driving force.

What I take issue with, however, is how Pokémon’s annual cycle as a franchise hurts the games that are its driving force. Pokémon isn’t just video games; it’s anime, collectible card game, merchandise, plush, clothes … it’s a huge deal and sells for tons of different demographics.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of how we consume content and media, companies do their best to continue to produce new and engaging content every year. This means that even though Game Freak wanted to delaying a Pokémon game because it needed tweaking, it can not, as it wouldn’t match the lineup of the anime, TCG, and other merchandise. So while the Pokémon games started it all, they are now at the mercy of whatever makes the Pokémon Ride go. That’s why it’s even hard to get mad at the trees that look like N64 in Sword and Shield.

Pokemon Berry Tree Shield SwordSource: iMore

Plus, with so little experience with home consoles, the company needs to put something, whatever, on the market. A handset 1,000 people ended up working on Sword and Shield, from programming to debugging to marketing. Still, the animations that were supposed to be the reason they couldn’t include all of the previous Pokémon in those games were stark, and the graphics in some areas looked drab. Of course, I wouldn’t do what I saw some fans do when the game first released, which was compare the Galar Wilderness to, say, Breath of the Wild, which has been developed over the course of more than one year. half a decade. Game Freak seems to be doing its best and has shown that getting started on a new console can be difficult. I think players should show a little more grace to the business behind this beloved franchise.

Legends abound

All of this makes me a little nervous for Pokémon Legends: Arceus. This will be the fourth Pokémon game on Switch, following the Let’s Go, Sword and Shield games and the Gen IV remakes. The game certainly looks better now than in its initial trailer, although some textures and models still look muddy.

What is crucial is that players really get the opportunity to feel like they are exploring the Hisui region.

Game Freak has revealed that the entire game will not be open world although Arceus is described as an open world game when announced, which leads me to assume there will be multiple type areas. open world, similar to the realms of Super Mario Odyssey. I’m already anticipating gamers to complain that the whole game isn’t an open world, but that’s not so much of an issue as the potential for it to be devoid of exploration opportunities and non-linear gameplay. as in Sword and Shield. The Gen VIII games were released on time, but at a cost of hundreds of Pokémon and so much content that they were later sold to players as Expansion Passes.

I believe Legends: Arceus will work, and I’m really happy that Game Freak was able to spread its wings and take a risk with a new Pokemon game. There are enough new mechanics that make the classic Pokémon formula feel fresh, similar to how Sun and Moon changed the way you progress with Island Trials. What is crucial, however, is that players really get the opportunity to feel like they are exploring the Hisui region and discovering new things, in the same way that they are tasked with compiling the very first Pokédex.

Nervous like a sobble

There are three constants in life: death, taxes, and the new Pokémon games in November. I might be holding my breath for Pokémon Legends: Arceus, but what makes me even more nervous is what comes next. Will there be time for a brand new game? Are we getting another expansion pass for Legends: Arceus instead? There’s no way to tell.

With Pokémon being the absolute potency that it is, I think a Gen IX announcement in 2022 is inevitable. I just hope Game Freak starts making better decisions, hiring more people, and giving adults and kids more opportunities to explore nature in a fantasy world, just like the developers of Pokémon Red and Blue. originally planned.

The next Pokémon game

Pokemon Legends Box Art

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

A change to the Pokémon formula

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a new Pokémon game focused on exploration and discovery in ancient Sinnoh.

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