and Shield marks a new era for the franchise. But as it got closer to launch, the latest pair of Pokémon games became stuck in controversy. For the better part of the year, the Pokémon community engaged in a heated debate over the perceived quality of the sword and shield. Problems initially emerged with the announcement that the sword and Shield-Poxex would be limited, without the ability to transport very old Swordsmen to the sword and shield. Concerns for animations and graphics for character models followed, and controversy heated up as the sword versions leaked and the shield was based on data just before launch.
We will explain the various controversies and, now that we have played Pokémon swords and swords, we will try to answer some of the biggest questions asked before the match and Shield below.
A brief history of the missing Pokemon and the national Dex
Pokémon and Shield match controversy kicks off effective at E3 2019 – though some fans were even skeptical of the sword and shield when it was first revealed in February – when Pokémon series producer Junichi Masuda confirmed that not every Pokémon across the franchise would be available on the sword and shield.
The complete Pokémon Collection is known as the National Pokémon or the National Deck. Technically speaking, the National Pokémon is a numbering system that lists every Pokemon that ever existed. This Pokémon collection of training, combat and trade gives dedicated trainers a sense of continuity throughout the Pokémon video game series.
Every review of IGN Pokemon ever
Each Pokémon game begins with the Regional Pokémon – usually gathering between about 200 and 450 Pokémon born. Usually there are requirements that must be met before you can trade between previous generations of games. For example, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl required players to see the all-new Native Pokenex before unlocking the trading feature; and black and white required players to almost finish the story before they could relay Pokémon from previous games. Meanwhile, Ruby and Sapphire didn't have a National Dex until Fire Red and Leaf Green were released in 2004, but there were a few elusive Pokémon of that generation
Later, apps like Pokémon Bank enabled trainers to transfer their previous Pokémon to newer versions. However, banks' compatibility was often delayed until several months after release, as was the case for X, Y, Sun and Moon.
Missing Pokémon and National Deck in sword and shield
While Pokémon's transmission across generations has never been fast or easy, the "Match and Shield" sword is the first time it hasn't been available to everyone. In Pokemon Sword and Shield, Pokemon Bank will allow you to transfer Pokemon existing within its native Regional Deck. You will not be able to transfer more than half of the Pokémon from previous generations to the sword and shield. Masuda, in an interview with Inside Gamer, confirmed that Game Freak has no plans to add the missing Pokemon to later updates.
According to Game Freak, it simply wasn't the resources available to model and create over 1,000 Sword and Shield Pokemon. One of the most frequently cited reasons why investor Game Freak reduced the number of available Pokémon comes from a 2019 interview with USG, where Masuda said:
"We already have over 800 species of Pokemon, and there will be more to add to these games. And now that they're on the Nintendo Switch, we're creating it with much greater fidelity with better quality animations. In another interview with Japanese gaming magazine Hamitsu, Sword and Shield director Shigeru Omori reportedly told the publication that Game Freak had to repeat all character models for Pokémon's latest title.
The Hamitsu interview appeared on the Pokémon subdomain, with some interpreting these quotes meaning the game would look significantly better than Pokémon's previous games. IGN has independently translated the interview that you can read below:
"This time Masuda and I had a lot of discussions. It was already very difficult [to bring all of the Pokémon to] Pokemon Sun and Moon, but this time the hardware was Svit and we had to redesign all models from scratch, so we had to make some choices. But if you play Pokémon and Shield, I think you'll find that [even if there is a restriction to the number of Pokémon we can bring over] it works like wild areas and the story will be very large. "
Masuda's comments can be interpreted as meaning that simply operating more faithful machines such as the Nintendo Switch is generally more resource taxing. Regardless, these comments, in particular, have become a fuel for critics and have opened Game Freak to further criticism.
The National Dex Edition and subsequent Game Freak comments about it have opened Pokémon and Shield matches to wider criticism. The diminished National Pokémon – popularly known as Dexit after the British political phenomenon Brexit, linked to the Pokémon Sword and Shield sword inspired by the UK-inspired Gallar region – is still the main cause the rage of the fans. But since then, attention has shifted to Massoud's comments during the aftermath of Dexit.
Outside of Dexit: Animation Controversy
Masuda's comments on "higher quality animations" served as a launch package for a wide range of criticisms applied against the sword and shield. The most prominent center for graphics and animation.
Critics of the Game Freak Pokémon sword and shield were criticized following the unveiling of a new Corgi-like Pokemon called Yamper. Jumper's discovery has shown some attacks, including the tail whip, which community critics say not only lacks quality animation, but alleged evidence that Game Freak's decision to drop National Dex in favor of enhancing the game's visual quality is a lie.
Gigantamax Pokemon in sword and shield
Many fans have cited Flereon's old stadium animation as proof that Jumper's sword and shield animation is objectively worse than Nintendo 64. (For the record, this is a disproportionate comparison: Nintendo's 64-era animation is at stake it was a unique movement made for Fleron's entrance when it was released by Poke Ball, not an attack animation, such as Jumper.)
There has been in-depth graphical analysis of pre-release footage since then, and eventually leaked copies of Pokémon sword and shield that in turn led to boycott calls, and debates on Dexit – all before Pokémon Sword and Shield were announced on November 15.
Our Practical Activities: Graphics and Animation
After playing the Pokémon and Shield swords, our reviewer and guide writer noted that many legacy attacks can be stiff, and many attack animations seem to be used. It is important to note that each past Pokémon game also uses several animations for more than 30 attacks used by Pokémon, except for some special cases. Our players have also noticed new, unique, visually pleasing intrusive animations for new attacks and new Pokemon; however, after all, the repetitions far outweigh the unique animations.
Our reviewer also noted that, although the sword and shield look better than their predecessors on the 3DS – especially when comparing Pokemon models – they are not the best Nintendo Switch games and have room for improvement in both animation and graphics.
The two most notable graphical problems are the lack of scaling of Pokemon and how Pokemon models "appear" in the above world. Pokemon do not look proper, canonical in sword and shield size, and Pokemon and other interactive objects (like NPFs) also "shoot" into existence around the world. Our review and writer guide noted that it was "a little uncomfortable to see Pokémon accidentally fall into oblivion … and the same question was addressed to NPF trainers. The road would be empty, but it went a little further down and suddenly someone was standing by the cliff. "
Other graphic problems, such as the coach who appeared during the double battles, were rare but present. Despite all the graphical shortcomings listed above, there were no major graphical issues such as flat-rate deceleration or other performance problems, and Pokémon's pop and relative sizes did not greatly diminish our reviewer's experience, and she called, in the end, " a huge graphic jump over the 3DS. "
Game length of the sword and the sword of Pokemon
Another prominent criticism from the community was about the perceived length and difficulty of the Pokémon and Shield match, with some comments taking less than 15 hours for the expected completion time. Three IGN staff who finished the Pokemon and Shield matches say it is 39 to 45 hours long, during which they focused on completing the story while performing the usual Pokemon side tasks, such as catching Pokemon. They also spent time exploring the Wild Area, cooking curry or shopping. You can read their exact experiences of how long it took them to defeat Pokémon and Shield.
Our review writer and guide believes it is possible to beat the Sword and Shield in less than 20 hours, but at the expense of catching Pokémon, fighting coaches, finding hidden objects and talking to the NPF.
Those in charge of Re Hague explained: #GameFreakLied and much more
Discussion of the perceived shortcomings of Pokémon Sword and Shield has spilled over to wider social media sites thanks to Twitter hashtags like #ThankYouGameFreak, #IStandWithSerebii and more recently #GameFreakLied. These hashtags highlighted an active social media campaign where fans either expressed their outrage – and sadly upset developers and prominent Pokémon Serebi fan. Not every criticism posted under these hashtags was toxic, but the most extreme tweets offered the public their first real glimpse into the frenzied debate over swords and shields that emerged from fan communities.
The social media conversation went a step further before turning the review embargo on the Pokémon and Shield match down with the hashtag #GameFreakLied. This latest social media campaign aims to highlight all GameFreak angles, reportedly with Pokemon and Shield swords, citing many of the unverified leaks and screenshots being released before the game.
The explicit purpose of the hashtag #GameFreakLied was to provide concrete evidence that Game Freak and Masuda were lying about why the National Deck was removed. The most popular images shared under this hashtag are comparative comparisons that claim that sword and shield character models were copied from older games.
– Laura Millar (@Lillar_) November 13, 2019
As for the leaks and for the Pokéx databases, these comparisons with wired frames are unverifiable. Laura Millar, a 3D artist with seven years of experience in video game development, also took to Twitter to show how easy it is to fake cable car comparisons.
"I could fake these screenshots in less than an hour by selecting one of the two identical models in 3D view, which would create white and black outlines," writes Millar. While Millar could not confirm whether these specific patterns of wired frames were real, the illustration highlights how unsubstantiated these images were used to confirm or deny the Pokémon community theories of quality, or lack thereof, of the sword and shield.
Even if the ciphers were or were not used, Millar warned that the animation process was far more complex than building models of wire frames.
GameFreak's decision to repeat the Pokemon franchise with a sword and shield, rather than introduce a complete overhaul of its visual and toy concepts (such as Breath of the Wild made for Zelda) seems to set the sword and Shield for this massive reaction.
Although many of the criticisms against Pokemon Sword and Shield over the Internet cover a wide range of topics – from animation to sound design – they all stem from legitimate concerns about the shutdown of National Dex. However, the unchecked assumption that GameFreak deliberately lied and took shortcuts to create an "unfinished" game led to a longer, larger, social media revolt.This year's debate has threatened to overshadow the launch of the first home console Pokemon game and marks Sword and Shield as one of the most controversial entries in the popular video game franchise. So how did the Pokémon and Shield match come to an end? You can use our Pokémon Swords and Swords overview here as a starting point, and of course share your views and play experiences in our comments.
Matt Kim is an IGN rapporteur. Casey DeReitas is the editor of the new host of IGN and Nintendo Voice Chat! Catch her on Twitter @ShinyCaseyD.