Try to Catch ’em all

With the removal of Pokemon and Pokemon Moves, fans revolt.

Chloe Vander Bee, Junior Writer

Since its release in 1996, the Pokémon Company has pushed the motto of “gotta catch ‘em all.” Unfortunately, that’s not possible anymore. 

In Gamefreak’s newest games, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, the Pokémon Company has decided to cut out over half of these pocket monsters, leaving only 400 of the preexisting creatures and introducing a measly 84 new ones. Many of these “new” Pokémon are Galarian forms of older Pokémon, in other means, re-textured pixels. Despite the content cut, some fans seem to be less upset by the lack of Pokémon than other missing features.

“It’s definitely going to affect the game on a more competitive level, but the game itself genuinely seems more catered to casual play,” sophomore Donny Johnson said.

 Another chunk of the new Pokémon are allegedly being reintroduced as Dynamax forms, which is Gamefreak’s attempt at a new gimmick that can be described as “just Z-Moves and Mega Evolution rolled into one brand new term.” Fans have been referring to this mass exodus as Dexit, a play on words, parodying the British exit from the European Union, Brexit, and reflecting the inspiration that developers have taken from the United Kingdom for the new game’s scenery.

Aside from this massive cut of trainer’s beloved partners, a number of other problems have been worrying fans. One of these revolve around the Pokémon Home, which is a new trading and storage saving device that is set to be introduced in 2020. On the surface, this sounds interesting and even helpful, but further analysis uncovers what is finding fans in such distress. The old Pokémon storage and trading device, Pokémon Bank, is expected to be compatible with Pokémon Home, however since many of the Pokémon being held in Pokémon Bank are not compatible with Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield, the introduction of this new application forces trainers and collectors alike to pay an annual fee to keep the Pokémon that they have been travelling, battling and bonding with since the franchise’s release from disappearing completely — all without knowing whether or not these Pokémon that seemingly vanished into thin air will be added into future games. Essentially, Pokémon Home is a one way trip for the forgotten friends.

And yet, this is not the only issue with the new games. Another distinctive attribute seems to have disappeared from the newest releases — a total of 144 moves, including fan favorites, have been eradicated from the move-pool database. Some of these include Hidden Power, which has had a significant impact in the competitive Pokémon battling scene, and Return, which relies on a close bond between the Pokémon and the Trainer to inflict damage. Fans have voiced their heartbreak over this omission.

“First the removal of Pokémon, and now this? I can’t believe how much they’re stripping away from the series,” junior Adam Rodack said.

Even the financial aspects of the game seem to be plaguing the Pokémon community. Trading now costs extra, with a recurring fee, which, by extension, hinders the collection of a living dex (a fan term for a collection of all Pokémon available ingame).

These microtransactions prevent version exclusives from being traded from game to game. For example, Pokemon Shield may have access to Galarian Ponyta, but Pokémon Sword may not. Yet Pokémon Sword may have access to another Pokémon, say, Galarian Farfetch’d, that Pokémon Shield may not. In older games, this problem could be solved by cross trading these Pokes for each other, but due to the new trading fee, this may not be feasible for some people. All of these features, or lack thereof, add up to a $60 price — $20 more than older games — and many fans don’t think it’s worth it.

After the game release, the Gamefreak has been under fire, the lack of key features in this new generation being blamed on “developer laziness,” yet recent sources state otherwise.

According to WayPoint Radio’s Austin Walker, employee morale at Gamefreak is “at an all time low.” The workers are depressed, there are only about 150 employees who worked on the game at all. According to an anonymous source on 4chan claiming to be an ex-Gamekfreak employee, the workers are forced into a time box to create Pokémon games that they know will accumulate profit. Their superiors “overwork them constantly,” and “they only stay for the ridiculously high pay.” As stated by this anonymous source, “the mass cut of Pokémon and moves could [have been] avoided if the game was programmed properly, but they still do it like they’re in the 90’s.” 

Despite this, fans still have their sights on the employees and workers as a whole instead of the corporation behind it, the superiors of which “know and endorse” the fact that many of the employees “purposely don’t make any effort anymore because they know that any Pokémon product will sell no matter what.” However, many of these complaints appear to be dissipating.

Many fans have complained about the lackluster, linear experience of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. As though to answer these complaints, on January 9, 2020, during a Nintendo direct (a live broadcast updating the Nintendo community on new features to come in the following months), it was announced that up to five new storylines are under construction to be introduced into these recent games as well as the introduction of more Galarian formes and reintroduction of Pokémon from previous games.