Game Freak has spoken once again about the state of Pokemon Sword and Shield to ease the concerns of fans over its presentation.
Pokemon Sword and Shield has been derided for having a lack of new graphics and animation by some fans, mostly due to the use of similar animations from the 3DS games and having lower-texture quality compared to some titles on the Nintendo Switch. Tied in with the anger over the lack of a National Pokedex in Sword and Shield, many online have accused Game Freak for being lazy in this regard, using the 3DS models and animations despite stating that part of the reason for not including the National Dex was for producing higher “fidelity and higher quality animations,” according to Junichi Matsuda.
However, that has actually turned out to not be the case. A recent interview from Famitsu has revealed that the in-game models and animations were all built from scratch for Sword and Shield, which became a deciding factor to not include all Pokemon in the game through the National Dex.
According to Matsuda and Hitoshi Omori, Pokemon Sun and Moon had a difficult time fitting every Pokemon into the game, and with over 1,000 different Pokemon – including form changes – already created, the decision for Sword and Shield was to make sure all of the selected Pokemon stand out with the games new graphics engine.
Game Freak essentially re-created every single Pokemon model for Sword and Shield and decided to follow previous animations from the 3DS for continuity’s sake, and eliminated past features such as Mega Evolution to introduce new features such as Dynamaxing which has greater visual sizzle and creating a unique appearance for the first game on home consoles. Additionally, we don’t know how they are creating the Dynamax models, whether it is a simple upscaling or if they are making all Dynamax models separately.
All that being said, acting as if the graphical improvement was the main reason for the elimination of the National Dex is misleading as well. In the first interview regarding the controversy, Matsuda specifically mentions that the games battle system is the primary driver for the decision.
“We already have well over 800 Pokemon species, and there’s going to be more added in these games. And now that they’re on the Nintendo Switch, we’re creating it with much higher fidelity with higher quality animations. But even more than that, it’s coming down to the battle system. We’re making sure we can keep everything balanced and give all the Pokemon that appear in the games a chance to shine.”
Pokemon‘s battle system has been criticized for years for its lack of balance, with many to deride the homogeneity of competitive play at VGC each year featuring a small roster of Pokemon on every team. Game Freak has also removed Pokemon from competitive play before; going back as far as Generation 5, several seasons of VGC have had restricted dex’s for a few years before opening up competitive play to all Pokemon, including legendaries.
Game Freak has also not ruled out the possibility of adding Pokemon into the game later as well, and that going forward, they will explore future graphical upgrades for future titles.
Pokemon Sword and Shield will release on November 15th for the Nintendo Switch.
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