Home Features Ahead of Pokémon Sword and Shield’s launch, vocal “hardcore” fans are becoming increasingly toxic

Ahead of Pokémon Sword and Shield’s launch, vocal “hardcore” fans are becoming increasingly toxic

5 min read
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In-Game Screenshot 41

This Friday sees the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield, a game that is nothing short of a monumental milestone for the franchise. After two decades spent on the Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon makes its first true generational leap this year onto the Nintendo Switch. Am I excited for it? I’m 100% amped for it and maybe even more.

Everything I’ve seen so far tells me exactly what kind of Pokémon game to expect: A familiar hyper-quick battle RPG with a collecting bend to it and a thoroughly British influence. What more could you ask for? Lots, if you’re coming from the more toxic side of Pokémon fandom. Now granted, no video game should be immune from criticism. As much as Pokémon Sword and Shield looks like a treat, there are some valid points to tackle, but the sticking points that certain elements seem attracted to are nothing short of petty.

In-Game Screenshot 47

In fact, after doing this beat for nine years, I can easily say that this might just be the most toxic atmosphere that I’ve ever seen a Pokémon game launch in. Here’s a prime example: A few days back, fans decided to give developer Game Freak a morale boost with an effort to get #ThankYouGameFreak trending on Twitter. Which is a fantastic gesture, for a studio that has brought so much passion to a series for so many years.

Currently, that campaign has been derailed by #GameFreakLied, a hashtag started by Pokémon players who happen to be upset with…and hear me out here: Reused character models. This has apparently been a thorny issue of note, with detractors claiming that if Game Freak planned to trim the National Pokedex by half then they had no reason not to create entirely new game models for existing Pokémon.

Oh come on

Recent data-mining alleges that Pokémon Sword and Shield happens to be reusing many of the models from the more recent Sun and Moon games, giving them a higher definition upgrade and then releasing them into the wild. Game Freak disputed this claim, saying that all models were rebuilt from scratch while data-miners say that the models are one and the same. Here’s the thing, there’s a lot lot more to a character model than just recycling the same wire-model.

There is lighting and shadow, textures and rendering techniques that all go together to create any single one of those pocket monsters. That there happens to be a vocal minority bitching that that Game Freak did not go even further in handcrafting hundreds and hundreds of models while still being able to craft the game for a timely release, is beyond the point of entitled.

And that overall whinging reached an apex of stupidity yesterday when some people called out GameFreak for, and I shit thee not, a single texture looking a tad bit off:

I’m just flabbergasted to be honest. While there is a level of debate to be had, that discourse is being done in a manner that threatens to ruin the experience for so many other fans who just want to sit back and have a good time. It must be soul-crushing stuff, to work yourself to the bone at a studio and be greeted with threads of pure vitriol from poison-type armchair developers who think they know better.

The fact that each new Pokémon game can build on its legacy, augment and enhance it with every new core title and still offer something new, is nothing short of a miracle. But no, you’ve got a collective of massive man-babies whose scrutiny of an unreleased game is frankly unhealthy. Don’t like what you see? Don’t buy it, simple as that. Just try not to ruin it for everyone else at the same time.

In-Game Screenshot 39

If you’re worried or cautious, you have every right to be so. At the same time, no one is forcing you to go and purchase the game. No one has a gun to your head, while you tearfully swipe your credit card and play through dozens of hours of catch ‘em all mania. If you’re that worried then try exercising this mythical ability known as patience, and read the reviews. Sit down and dig into the technical deep dives from the real experts who’ll try to ease your troubled mind.

This may be a controversial opinion, but I’d rather trust the likes of Digital Foundry than some rando on 4Chan to give me the 411 on Pokémon Sword and Shield’s technical architecture. Whatever the end result, I still have faith in Game Freak to deliver. If there’s one key takeaway from Nintendo, it’s that this is a company that values its reputation. Every single one of their first-party games are always released in a state that the rest of the games industry can learn from.

In-Game Screenshot 44

Polished and consistently amazing masterclasses in game design that seldom require a patch and whose value hardly ever fluctuates for years after release. To think that the company that took the latest Metroid game back to the drawing board rather than push ahead and release something that did not meet their expectations, would rush a Pokémon game out of the gates, sounds a little farfetch’d to me.

Maybe you have a gripe and you need the world to know that you won’t stand for a reduced Pokemon count, that one texture of grass not being on par with your expectations and your outrage that 800 of the Pokémon you don’t care for aren’t in the game. Or maybe, and hear me out here, you kind of need to shut the hell up because the rest of us are still looking forward to a grand ol’ time.

Last Updated: November 13, 2019

81 Comments

  1. Yozzie

    November 13, 2019 at 15:53

    Defok.

    I classify myself as a hardcore Pokemon fan, and those that know me well know just how badly that is true. This is all just noise from a minority who have never finished a dex in their entire life anyway and just out there to kick up dust for fun and should not get any media coverage in the first place since that’s what fuels them.

    Reply

    • Yozzie

      November 13, 2019 at 16:19

      And to add I only had good fun talks with other Pokemon fans in the months leading up to Sword and Shield. The only time I ever saw any of this vitriol was when I went to twitter and someone “oh no look at this” retweeted something about it. It’s just social media and other platforms fanning the flames for some reason.

      Reply

      • The D

        November 13, 2019 at 16:19

        I’ve been seeing this A LOT on reddit and other forums lately, and I just want people to enjoy a game without turning it into a vast conspiracy theory.

        Reply

        • Yozzie

          November 13, 2019 at 16:19

          Exactly why I am probably bent out of shape reading about it again 2 days before launch.

          When it releases the true fans will overshadow any and all toxic flamers with our damn fluffy Ponytas and shield Ducks!

          Reply

          • Pariah

            November 13, 2019 at 16:20

            I’ll have to wait until December bonus, but then I’ll have my own Unicorn Ponyta! Can’t wait!

        • Raptor Rants

          November 13, 2019 at 16:19

          It’s the stable state of the gaming industry at the moment sadly.

          Everything is outrage somewhere. Much of it well deserved. But that’s thanks to a specific few greedy publishers.

          Now you get a game that gives so much and has given so much over the years, they make a tough choice to limit Pokemon in a game to embiggen the game world and make it as big as they possibly can and suddenly “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa”

          It’s not like they are asking you to pay to unlock the rest as separate microtransactions or lootboxes. Folk should aim their anger at the real issues in gaming.

          1) Corporate greed
          2) Corporate greed
          3) Did I mention corporate greed?

          Now if 6 months down the line GameFreak come with a DLC that adds the rest… Well then I’ll say to the internet “Have at it!”

          but right now? It’s just sad anger pointed in the wrong place

          Reply

          • Yozzie

            November 13, 2019 at 16:20

            Just don’t read reddit. It’s just a bigger 4chan anyway 😛

          • Raptor Rants

            November 13, 2019 at 16:20

            Anyone who is so upset that they are now “Giving up their switch and will never support GameFreak again” are welcome to pass it all my way. I would very much like a Switch

          • Pariah

            November 13, 2019 at 16:20

            I would feel the same except that sexy Pokemon themed Switch says “buy me”.

          • Yozzie

            November 13, 2019 at 16:20

            If I ever had even the slightest strength to fight against buying my Switch and then seeing that gorgeous thing…

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b13a60d304cbe3f29c4a9d661581f4610901a03b3f055cf8859e6df6fb47a235.png

          • Raptor Rants

            November 13, 2019 at 16:34

            lol

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            November 13, 2019 at 16:35

            I thought 4-chan was Cheddar.

          • Admiral Chief

            November 13, 2019 at 16:35

            7chan is ‘you know who’

          • Admiral Chief

            November 13, 2019 at 16:21

            7 paragraphs, again???

          • Raptor Rants

            November 13, 2019 at 16:21

            Oh come on!

          • Hammersteyn

            November 13, 2019 at 16:36

            Oh come on
            8 3 15 13 5 15 14
            (8+3)+(15-13-5)-(15-14) = 7

          • Pariah

            November 13, 2019 at 16:35

            LOL!

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      November 13, 2019 at 16:19

      Everything I know about Pokemon I’ve learned from your never-ending babbling about it. Which just goes to show if you try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, and try again something will eventually get through my glazed-over eyes. And that’s why Pinkie Pie is the best.

      Reply

      • Yozzie

        November 13, 2019 at 16:19

        damn straight, boomer

        /)

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          November 13, 2019 at 16:19

          Damn it.

          (

          Reply

    • Umar

      November 13, 2019 at 16:36

      This isn’t even something that’s getting propagated by the media. A quick look at reddit and Era and you can see the amount of hate-fueled threads popping up almost daily. Hell, the leaks only further helped youtubers in their quest to rally more people to join in on the mob. It’s at a point where the vitriol has already reached GF. No doubt the majority are going to enjoy the game and it’s going to do well but this discourse is reaching new levels of toxicity. Every piece of official marketing is flooded with just vile and terrible comments.

      Every Pokemon release is plagued by these kinds of things, but it’s never been this bad.

      Reply

      • Pariah

        November 13, 2019 at 16:36

        When it reaches the point that people are kicking up a fuss about a single “funny looking” texture, you know there’s a new low that’s been set.

        Can you imagine any Bethesda or EA release with these same people?

        Reply

        • Umar

          November 13, 2019 at 16:42

          They’ll see the hate…and double down on whatever they’re doing lol It’s just crazy though that you can have a company making millions off of scummy microtransactions, but Pokemon getting a beat down for an odd looking texture.

          Reply

          • Pariah

            November 13, 2019 at 16:42

            Crazy is definitely putting it mildly, but yes indeed.

      • Yozzie

        November 13, 2019 at 16:42

        Yes, I have just been shying away from any and all spoilers, so I have not been subjected to them apart from re tweets.

        But honestly we know even these toxic fans are lining up on Friday to get their copy.

        Reply

  2. Yozzie

    November 13, 2019 at 16:35

    Wanna know what makes all this so much better… getting an SMS just like this a second ago.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a50b501f3c65ffc358b22a0d92996ad8095e33364566d21a1e91606ba8471d66.png

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      November 13, 2019 at 16:36

      Awesome

      Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      November 13, 2019 at 16:36

      7am

      That’s it. We have seven 7s XD

      Reply

      • Pariah

        November 13, 2019 at 16:36

        YES! It happened! @LlewellynCrossley:disqus Time to celebrate!

        Reply

        • Yozzie

          November 13, 2019 at 16:36

          He left for home like 7 min ago.

          Reply

          • Pariah

            November 13, 2019 at 16:36

            That’s why I tagged him, so he’ll get the notification in his inbox.

          • Gustav Willem Diedericks

            November 13, 2019 at 16:42

            Ok, I’ve been following this whole 7’s drama with Raptor and liking the posts, knowing you guys are messing with him. However, I have no clue where the whole thing started. Could you guys clue me in as to why the numbers game?

          • Pariah

            November 13, 2019 at 16:58

            Just before the PS4 released, CH (Lagz back then) held a competition to win one. Llew was going on and on about how it was HIS console and he was going to win it.

            Come draw day, his name appeared on the random.org list, at #7. He was broken. We’ve never let him live it down.

          • Pariah

            November 13, 2019 at 16:58

            Just before the PS4 released, CH (Lagz back then) held a competition to win one. Llew was going on and on about how it was HIS console and he was going to win it.

            Come draw day, his name appeared on the random.org list, at #7. He was broken. We’ve never let him live it down.

          • Pariah

            November 13, 2019 at 16:58

            Just before the PS4 released, CH (Lagz back then) held a competition to win one. Llew was going on and on about how it was HIS console and he was going to win it.

            Come draw day, his name appeared on the random.org list, at #7. He was broken. We’ve never let him live it down.

          • Pariah

            November 13, 2019 at 16:59

          • HvR

            November 13, 2019 at 17:43

            It is a shame the original comment section took a critical hit in the knee.

            Just to add to Pariah’s Tale of Lewl the 7th.

            While he was ranting in the comment section about coming 7th Mr Miaau tried to cheer him up by saying something along the line of “Do not worry nobody is ever going to remember who came in 7th”

            And then the rest of us went: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

          • Raptor Rants

            November 13, 2019 at 18:24

            And thus a legend was born

          • Admiral Chief

            November 14, 2019 at 08:24

            Legend, or curse?

        • Raptor Rants

          November 13, 2019 at 18:24

          WHAT!? I wasn’t even here!

          Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          November 13, 2019 at 19:08

          XD

          Reply

  3. Craig "Crios" Boonzaier

    November 13, 2019 at 17:00

    While I am still going to be playing this for the experience of a new Pokemon game, as I always do.
    There are definitely some valid criticisms, which are unfortunately being drowned out by the toxic ragers and trolls.
    Though one of the largest communities to explode, unexpectedly, seems to be the Japanese one.

    Reply

  4. Craig "Crios" Boonzaier

    November 13, 2019 at 17:00

    While I am still going to be playing this for the experience of a new Pokemon game, as I always do.
    There are definitely some valid criticisms, which are unfortunately being drowned out by the toxic ragers and trolls.
    Though one of the largest communities to explode, unexpectedly, seems to be the Japanese one.

    Reply

  5. Grid10ck

    November 13, 2019 at 17:42

    It seems that everyone here is confusing entitlement for passion and not really putting in the effort to understand why as you called them “hardcore” fans are up in arms.

    Here is something recently found out, the Japanese fans haven’t even been told of the cut to the pokedex.
    They’ve clearly seen the response from Western fans and are to scared to reveal the facts to there biggest consumer base. What does this say about their ethics?

    https://www.reddit.com/r/pokemon/comments/dvpqge/japanese_community_is_catching_on_to/f7e9f91/

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      November 14, 2019 at 15:09

      I agree some of them are hardcore and very passionate, but not all of them.

      Reply

  6. Grid10ck

    November 13, 2019 at 17:42

    It seems that everyone here is confusing entitlement for passion and not really putting in the effort to understand why as you called them “hardcore” fans are up in arms.

    Here is something recently found out, the Japanese fans haven’t even been told of the cut to the pokedex.
    They’ve clearly seen the response from Western fans and are to scared to reveal the facts to there biggest consumer base. What does this say about their ethics?

    https://www.reddit.com/r/pokemon/comments/dvpqge/japanese_community_is_catching_on_to/f7e9f91/

    Reply

  7. Raptor Rants

    November 13, 2019 at 16:19

    Listen here Darryn.

    I have a serious bone to pick with you here. The way you go on about entitlement and how rediculous this outrage is, is horrific. How dare, how DARE you do this!?

    Rants are MY place here. You took my moment. The moment that I was going to bring up how there are over 800 freaking Pokemon and that there isn’t a single game that has that many different assets with different stats that all have to be balanced, made sure to feel unique and to allow a diverse playstyle that’s fun. And no, No Man’s sky doesn’t count because Pokemon aren’t being procedurally generated. They are made as assets by a team who hold the IP who can do with it as they please. Including using wiremesh models from other games to help speed up development because there are so many pokemon!

    How dare you take my rant I wanted to make and post it first! You did not take me in to consideration!

    tl;dr

    Completely agree people are over-reacting to this, fewer pokemon make sense considering everything the game has to do, world size, pokemon asset memory usage, etc etc etc etc it’s amazing they even have as many as they have in there.

    People need to sit down, calm down and enjoy the game.

    Reply

    • The D

      November 13, 2019 at 16:19

      PFFT I DON’T SEE YOUR NAME ON THIS MONOPOLY!

      Also, well said brutha 🙂

      Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      November 13, 2019 at 16:19

      #mandatory_tl;dr

      Reply

  8. Llama In The Rift

    November 13, 2019 at 16:19

    So everybody is fine with Fifa/Madden/NBA/WWE reusing assets over and over year after year but when Gamefreak does it to cut a bit of cost and time to reach the release date everybody looses their minds?

    Sounds legit for the reality we’re currently occupying.

    Reply

  9. DragonSpirit009

    November 13, 2019 at 16:20

    Sad thing is people can’t just enjoy stuff anymore!

    Reply

    • Pariah

      November 13, 2019 at 16:20

      No, the sad thing is that people enjoy being toxic like that. It’s not about the game any more, it’s about the outrage. I read something the other day about “Brutal Honesty” being more about the “brutal” than the “honesty” – because people can be honest and compassionate or gentle or caring. This speaks to the same thing.

      Reply

      • DragonSpirit009

        November 13, 2019 at 16:20

        Thank you for saying what I wanted to say XD
        My brain just didn’t have the power to think those words now.

        Reply

  10. Hammersteyn

    November 13, 2019 at 16:20

    It’s time to rip the bandaid of kids. Pokemon isn’t real, they never were and if they were they’d never love you and society would never accept that love.

    Reply

    • Yozzie

      November 13, 2019 at 16:20

      Also Christmas is not about family. It’s about tolerating family!

      Reply

    • Raptor Rants

      November 13, 2019 at 16:21

      Is this when I’m supposed to say Ok Boomer? I’m not sure how this works and I am not sure if it’s actually offensive or if it’s ironically funny like Millenials wanting bean bags in offices with standing desks and free food.

      Reply

      • Pariah

        November 13, 2019 at 16:21

        Ok Boomer.

        Reply

        • Raptor Rants

          November 13, 2019 at 16:35

          oh… So that’s how that works… Gotcha. Thanks for teaching me. I’m only 34 though… So apparently I am a millenial… *Shudders*

          Reply

          • Hammersteyn

            November 13, 2019 at 16:35

            3 + 4

          • Pariah

            November 13, 2019 at 16:35

            That’s 3 times in an article. XD

          • Hammersteyn

            November 13, 2019 at 16:35

            Need four more

          • Pariah

            November 13, 2019 at 16:35

            Where’s K44sie?

          • Raptor Rants

            November 13, 2019 at 16:35

            No, it’s home time. I will not open myself up more to this. *packs up and goes home*

          • Pariah

            November 13, 2019 at 16:35

            Don’t let the four hit you on the way out! 😉

          • Raptor Rants

            November 13, 2019 at 19:07

            Don’t

          • Admiral Chief

            November 13, 2019 at 22:47

            =7

          • Raptor Rants

            November 13, 2019 at 22:47

            FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

          • DragonSpirit009

            November 13, 2019 at 22:47

            Dude the might of the 7 is strong with you today!!

  11. Original Heretic

    November 13, 2019 at 16:36

    Here’s an idea:
    Ignore those assholes.

    Reply

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