As fan complaints over game quality grow, The Pokémon Company has said it is now having “more and more conversations” about ensuring game standards – while keeping to the series’ relentless release schedule.
The Pokémon series’ breakneck launch rate has recently seen at least one major game or pair of expansions released per calendar year, and it’s something fans say is having a detrimental effect on the games themselves, particularly as the series has morphed to become fully open-world.
Last year, Nintendo was forced to apologise for the state Pokémon Scarlet and Violet arrived in at launch, and acknowledged the technical issues affecting each games’ performance. Now, The Pokémon Company has also addressed the issue.
“I think in general, if you look at the past, the path we’ve taken up until now has been this constant release, always regularly releasing products on a fairly fixed kind of a cadence, you might say,” The Pokémon Company’s chief operating officer Takato Utsunomiya told Comicbook.
“That’s how we’ve operated up until now,” he continued, “[and] I think we’re still operating in that way, but there’s more and more conversations, as the development environments change, about how we can continue to do this, while making sure that we’re ensuring really quality products are also being introduced.”
Complaints about the quality of Pokémon game releases have existed for years, though became particularly prevalent around last November’s Scarlet and Violet, which arrived the same year as Pokémon Legends Arceus.
Arceus, meanwhile, launched just two months after Pokémon remakes Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
Since 2010, Pokémon generations have come around every three years – but it’s only been more recently that each game has become more ambitious, and intervening years have also seen major spin-offs or expansions launch.
The last year a major Pokémon game or expansion did not arrive was 2015, before 2016’s Sun and Moon, 2017’s Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, 2018’s Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, 2019’s Sword and Shield, and then 2020’s two expansions The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra.
2023 will see Scarlet and Violet expanded with their own two expansions, The Teal Mask and The Indigo Disk, footage of which prompted yet more comments by fans who say they expect more from the series’ visuals and technical abilities.
Digital Foundry dubbed Pokémon Scarlet and Violet as “comprehensive technical failures” in the team’s appraisal last year, lambasting the games for “embarrassing artwork, terrible draw distance, poor performance and a litany of bugs”.
Fans made memes of the games’ various glitches, but also suffered save wipes due to technical snafus. Nintendo has continued to patch the game into this year.