Safe in the knowledge that nostalgia, and years of clamouring for a home console mainline game, would carry Gen 8 sales through whatever shitstorm their imminent announcement was about to conjure, Nintendo released Pokémon Sword and Shield with around 500 – yes, five-fucking-hundred – Pokémon cut from the game. It was quite a burn, but nostalgia can heal any wound caused by industry bullshit; and heal it did. S&S sold like gangbusters, became the fastest-selling Switch title, and became a worldwide top-seller.
Nintendo did try to calm the storm a little bit. They spun the narrative that the amount of work needed to bring all Pokémon to Gen 8 would have been insurmountable. That they were developing these models from the ground up. The culling of Pokemon was born of concern for the quality of content. The inclusion of all models would, therefore, be to the detriment of quality. Of course, that was a perfectly acceptable reason. Quality does indeed come before quantity.
Hooooowever, that is where the bullshittery began. You do not need a degree in character design to notice the similarities between the 3DS and Switch models and animations. No. You just need eyes.
There were already warning signs that Nintendo had been seduced by the dark side. Locking Breath of the Wild’s difficulty modes behind a paywall, for instance. Not to mention their contemptible online “service”. The signs were however misread by some, and faith was maintained despite warning signs. It was apparently inconceivable that the angelic Nintendo would cut Pokémon to sell as DLC…
Gotta Shaft Us All
Fast forward to today, where Nintendo peeled their cuddly attire away like Clark Kent shedding his suit to reveal, not a symbol of hope, but their bastard, money-grabbing alter ego.
Today’s Pokemon Direct revealed a cynical trailer showcasing nostalgia-grabbing concept drawings stuck to a quaint drawing book. We got images of some of our favourite Pokémon from Gen 1 – from a Venusaur with a new bowl haircut and a Blastoise with a bejewelled back. It had it all; Slowpoke, cosmetics, and the wholly sincere messages that the goal has been to deliver “lively new adventures,” and that they have been working on ways of expanding your experience “for some time now”.
That last point is the one I want to focus on. We have been told that it takes around 3 months for Nintendo to transfer models from Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon to Sword and Shield. This means that, unless they have 200 artists working on these models, they released Gen 8 knowing they have cut content to sell at a later date. At least they were smart enough not to release it as day-one DLC…
Nintendo Used Lie. It Didn’t Work
Nothing Nintendo has said about Pokémon SW&SH has been true. Their initial statement that it would take too much time to incorporate all monsters is undermined by the presence of >800 monsters in the vastly superior Dragon Quest 11 – which, by the way, runs excellently on the Switch. The claim that they had to design their models and animations from the ground up is undermined by the painfully obvious porting of Sun and Moon assets into SW&SH. Nintendo’s claim that Pokémon present in the initial release was for the betterment of the game is undermined by their insipid, nostalgia-laden expansion trailer.
Nintendo, for the second time in a few months, is releasing a Pokémon product with all the bastard trimmings we’ve come to expect from the gaming industry. They are, once again, releasing something fully aware of the irritation and uproar this will cause. They are doing this because they know people want to play with Blastoise and Venusaur. This has been done knowing that nostalgia and the desire for more Pokémon will carry them through the inevitable shitstorm.
This is Nintendo’s heel turn. Their Hogan joining the nWo moment. Nintendo has revealed, truly, that they are credible challengers to EA’s title of biggest bastard in gaming.
In entirely unrelated news, TemTem is out this month. Pokemon fans should check out this trailer.
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