retroity

Junichi Masuda's Response to Dexit is a Terrible Nothing-Burger

After fan furor resulting from the decision to not include all pokemon in a mainline Pokemon game, we finally receive a official response from Gamefreak, directly from Junichi Masuda himself no less. Here's the statement as released on pokemon.com:

"Thank you to all of our fans for caring so deeply about Pokémon. Recently, I shared the news that some Pokémon cannot be transferred to Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. I've read all your comments and appreciate your love and passion for Pokémon.

Just like all of you, we are passionate about Pokémon and each and every one of them is very important to us. After so many years of developing the Pokémon video games, this was a very difficult decision for me. I'd like to make one thing clear: even if a specific Pokémon is not available in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, that does not mean it will not appear in future games.

The world of Pokémon continues to evolve. The Galar region offers new Pokémon to encounter, Trainers to battle, and adventures to embark on. We are pouring our hearts into these games, and we hope you will look forward to joining us on this new journey.

June 28, 2019

Junichi Masuda"

First of all, it's great to see that Gamefreak/The Pokemon Company is aware of the controversy and is responding to it. However, after reading it, I can't help but feel like this response is the worst one that they could've possibly made. What did this statement add, exactly? All this statement just does is restate their position. If anything, this is only helping to fuel the fire by reigniting the controversy.

This furor has been building for years. It didn't come out of nowhere. For years, fans have felt that each Pokemon game has been lazy, between cut features, copy/paste stories, low-fidelity graphics, low-effort animations, npcs, etc. Now, when you add this, in which a main series Pokemon game will not only allow you to transfer certain Pokemon, but also will flat-out not contain all Pokemon, which has been a staple of the series for well over a decade (gen 4 was the first generation to allow you to transfer Pokemon, but the Pokemon games have contained all previous Pokemon since Gold and Silver), of course people are going to be angry.

The Pokemon Company and Gamefreak has spent years of time, talk, and effort on how Pokemon were more than just data, on how people really loved and cherished their Pokemon, and why they would be able to take their Pokemon with them. The Pokemon Company and Gamefreak spent tons of time and effort to achieve this, between making future-proof models and animations for every single Pokemon, giving each game a transfer feature, and making services like Pokemon Bank and now Pokemon Home. It's hilarious to me that they announce Pokemon Home, a service to hold all your Pokemon (which will most likely be paid), and then a month later they announce a change that defeats the purpose of Pokemon Home, making it into more of a retirement home for your Pokemon than an actual storage service.

Furthermore, there is no justification in the game itself for this decision. Between it having the same low-fidelity graphics, the same basic, unchanging NPCs, the same basic, formulaic story, the same attack animations, and more. If this was a high-fidelity, upgraded Pokemon game, it would have a justification. But Pokemon Sword and Shield are none of those things, so those justifications do not exist.

Also, I might add that the statement has some concerning implications for the future of the Pokemon series. First, it seems to imply that there will not be a future update for the game post-launch that adds all the missing Pokemon, which is a flat-out denial of a major request that many fans have made. Furthermore, while the part in which Masuda states "even if a specific Pokémon is not available in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, that does not mean it will not appear in future games" might seem to be reassuring, it also implies that this is the future of the series. That never again will we see a Pokemon game that features all of the Pokemon that fans know and love, and rather that each game will have a rotating cast of Pokemon based on the region. That is a dangerous implication for the series, one that would turn off many fans from the series, would entirely defeat the point of Pokemon Home, and I feel would ultimately be harmful to the series as a whole.

I sincerely hope that Gamefreak sees where fans are coming from and realizes that the future of the series should not be one in which Pokemon are prevented from coming with their trainers in new games for artificial reasons. Such a future would be deeply destructive for the franchise. But I'm not holding my breath.