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Junichi Masuda talks about the criticisms the team has faced with Pokemon Sword & Shield

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UK news publication The Metro has recently had the opportunity to chat with Pokemon producer Junichi Masuda. There are a number of things covered within the interview but one of the most interesting is how the company responds to criticism of their games.

GC: I wonder how that sort of thing affects you personally, it can’t be pleasant when fans are accusing you and the studio of being lazy and not caring. Does that get you down at all?

JM: We put a great deal of effort into developing each and every game as the project begins and we do feel that everyone having their opinion is important. But from a development perspective, when we go into deciding what way we’re going to take Pokémon in the future we have to make several decisions on what to put in the games and how we want to improve things or changes things as we go. So as part of that we reached the decision to take out the national pokédex and keep the pokémon the way it’s been announced. There are many challenges we face as we go – different styles of gameplay we want to implement and we’ve got a lot of communications features that we are working on – and of course the one really big thing we always think about is how we can work to make the game really fun for fans. And as we were working on all of this we took the decision to make the pokédex as it is, and from a development point of view that’s something we have to do each time and we put a lot of effort and thought into making those decisions.

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17 comments

  1. Interesting read. Still wish they would consider story first and then gameplay since, to me, gameplay is pretty bland but I must be in the minority.

    1. Delicate matter, with the story risking to be a ‘child story’. I do prefer a more barebone approach, like Red. But I think would like a teen story, like the Dragon Quest one.

      1. I get what your saying but there’s no reason why the story can’t cater to children and adults as well. Look at detective pikachu, the story has many elements that both adults and children can relate to. The Pokemon world has evil organizations that capture and abuse Pokemon. Trust me when I say the story, if enough effort put into it can be very dark if they wanted to make it so. Now, if they don’t have the necessary talent to make a compelling story is a different argument.

  2. My hope is that since the criticism has been rather relentless this time, that they finally take the opportunity to absorb it for the next generation. Then again, I’m pretty sure it would require significant changes to the whole franchise, since everything Pokémon-related is connected and dependent on the main series of games, which puts an enormous scheduling pressure on them. It’s the biggest media franchise in the world, so for them to change anything about their core product, they’d need even more pressure from the fans.

  3. “Personally”, they love MONEY, and the demographic that isn’t old or knowledgeable enough to rightfully call them out on their BS.

    1. Exactly! I hate how the interviewer sounds like it’s only OK to praise artists but you’re not allowed to ever criticize them to not hurt their feelings. The new Pokemon games already look like budget titles compared to other Nintendo releases even though they’re guaranteed to sell millions in just weeks. The Pokemon games truly are Nintendo’s laziest work (except for the first Game Boy titles).

      1. “*sniffles* Don’t you know that these people put a lot of hard work into these video games, movies, & TV shows!? *sheads a tear* How dare you criticize their hard, hard work, you horrible, evil, malicious troll! Think of their feelings! *whimper* Waaaah!” Or is it reeeee? *shrug* Doesn’t matter. lol Anyway, welcome to 2019! If you aren’t a racist, a misogynist, or a LGBT-phobe, you are a troll who is being cruel to creators, writers, directors, etc because any criticizing of people is wrong. We had two of the actors for the show use the same mentality when fighting off the criticisms for the final season of Game of Thrones. Fanboys like to jump on this bandwagon, too. Celebrity/Hollywood/Media/Video Game Company worship has become a real problem these days. Virtue signaling doesn’t help, either. Honestly, I consider the core problem to be this false sense of loyalty to people or companies they love & adore. True loyalty is calling people out for when they do something bad or for when they do a terrible job. Kissing ass does no one any good as people won’t learn from their mistakes if someone doesn’t call them out on them. And if they punish you for being truly loyal, it just shows they don’t deserve said loyalty.

  4. “So as part of that we reached the decision to take out the national pokédex and keep the pokémon the way it’s been announced.“

    That’s not the only thing fans are criticizing you for, Gamefreak. This game looks like a polished up 3ds game. There’s lots of errors shown, a lot of people calling you out on importing animation from characters in sun and moon to Sword and Shield without creating new animation. The fact that you only appeal to the youngest and most casual of audience is terrible. There’s clipping errors, animation errors, bad textures. Heck, even in the wild area the main character’s shadow doesn’t even connect to them making it seem like they’re floating in midair -> https://imgur.com/a/yYfCFcF

    But do they care? No. There’s still a huge amount of fans defending them at whatever cost, making themselves and Gamefreak oblivious and delusional.

  5. I feel like their answer is more of a deflection than an actual answer to the question. As annoying as that can be, it’s better than the alternative. *cough*Attackthefans!*cough*

  6. Basically being like any PR bs statement. “We listen, we have listened, we will do better, we do better, ”
    Hope they take a break for a year they really need it like Assassins creed did

  7. This is just more excuses, and typical PR damage control. A comment already said it here, but people aren’t criticizing the series just for the lack of the Pokédex (which people still try to defend) Their excuse is they had no time because they needed to make a pointless gimmick that nobody asked for. Great.

    People are finally calling out gamefreak on their BS. Graphics are a polished 3ds games, animations are reused and recycled from YEARS ago, so many clipping and different issues.

    People want IMPROVEMENT. People see through the laziness and bs.

    Most people will defend whatever gamefreak does and whatever Nintendo does though. Mainly because the demographic is too young to realize the BS. They need to be criticized and called out because things like Nintendo switch online should be unacceptable.

  8. Yeah, this seems like some people don’t like changes in some Pokemon games, But, i believe that this game will turn out ok without the national pokédex in one game. The gyms was absent in the last generation and later it was brought back in this generation. National Pokédex was absent twice and it could return one day in the new generations or its remakes. Its very hard to make tough choices when your a game or a movie producer and developer. Any opportunity they are trying to pull off will be fill with new experiences in any generation.

    1. Time ago you would have only said ‘shut up’, now this is quite an improvement in behaviour and maturity of thought. Congratulations for your achievements.

  9. They really need to get Masuda and Ohmori off of PR Control because their ignorance to the situation, not to mention their lack of empathy, is only making the situation worse.

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