Why are the graphics of Pokémon Scarlet / Purple controversial?

While the release of Pokémon Scarlet / Purple is near, social networks continue to debate again about the graphics of these new episodes of the main saga. Conversations that remind those of the beginning of the year around Pokémon Legends: Arceus and that are relevant explanations to understand what is happening in the Pokémon franchise.

Summary

  • Pokémon, a Nintendo license like any other?
  • Game Freak, the major player that refused to grow
  • Untenable production deadlines?

Since Pokémon went to 3D and home consoles with Pokémon Sword / Shield, we always have the right to debates on social networks about the question of graphics as the release of a new episode approaches. If you follow video game news, you surely remember that this is what happened at the beginning of the year with the launch of Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Despite all that has been said, the question of why the graphics of the new games of the franchise are not what the Switch can offer has arisen again and this time it appears in Pokémon Scarlet / Purple, titles that introduce the ninth generation of pocket monsters. As their release is near, we invite you to understand what has happened to Pokémon in recent years.

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Pokémon, a Nintendo license like any other?

In the eyes of most of the public, Pokémon is one of Nintendo’s franchises like others, such as Mario, Zelda or Animal Crossing, and for good reason, all the games in the series are released exclusively on the publisher’s consoles. , if we don’t have the mobile titles. , trouble. Many people think that Nintendo owns Pokémon, but things are more complicated than that. Indeed, The rights to Pokémon belong to the Pokémon Company, which is itself owned by three different players: Nintendo, Game Freak, the developers of the game, which we will talk about later, and Creatures, which talks about some derivative products., including maps. Thus, the Pokémon Company manages the license rights and determines what will be done in the future for the benefit of the franchise. Within this structure, Nintendo does not play an active role, but clearly receives income like the other owners.

Why are the graphics of Pokémon Scarlet / Purple controversial?

If we take the liberty of clearly specifying the place of Nintendo vis-à-vis Pokémon, it is to answer the questions of many players who wonder why the manufacturer does not invest more in the development of games from the saga. After all, when it comes to open worlds, the company is starting to know how to do it, as proven by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild released for the Switch launch. In addition, if the project is also successful, it is because a studio has contributed to the development of the title and brought its knowledge: Monolith Software. If this name doesn’t mean anything to you, it’s the developers who are the originator of the Xenoblade Chronicles saga, that is, games that offer large expanses where players can wander. but since Game Freak handles the Pokémon games and the company remains independent, Nintendo cannot provide support and expertise to help development.

Game Freak, the major player that refused to grow

Why are the graphics of Pokémon Scarlet / Purple controversial?

Once we have the first element of response to understand the Pokémon situation, the heart of the explanation is the essence that can be seen when we look at Game Freak, the historical developer of the saga. Without retracing the entire history of the company, remember that it was originally a fanzine, a fan magazine for video game enthusiasts who one day decided to become a studio to create their own games. After many small projects, the idea of ​​Pokémon quickly came to the table, with the success that we know later. However, while the company became one of the main players in the most profitable franchise in the history of mankind, so, Game Freak remained a small structure its scale is not shaken by the scale of Pokémon.

Why are the graphics of Pokémon Scarlet / Purple controversial?

Today, Satoshi Tajiri, who founded Game Freak when it was still a zine, is still the owner and president of the studio, and that means a lot for the company. First of all, it is not responsible in terms of profit and profit to shareholders or any other investor, leaving the structure free to develop as it wishes. However, We note that the will of the company remains the same as its beginning, which is to maintain a modest workforce no matter what happens.. This can be felt when looking at the number of employees which is very small compared to what you see in the industry today.

Why are the graphics of Pokémon Scarlet / Purple controversial?

According to the figures reported by the journalist Oscar Lemaire in an article on his website Ludostry about graphics from Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Game Freak will exceed 50 employees for the first time in its history during the DS era. And if the studio has long wanted not to expand further, it is forced to do so by force of circumstance, especially between 2014 and 2018 when the workforce will double. For the development of Pokémon Sword / Shield, it seems that about 200 people worked on the project, counting those hired only for the duration of the mission. Finally, on the official website, we know that 170 employees work at Game Freak in 2021.

Why are the graphics of Pokémon Scarlet / Purple controversial?

If these recruitments are driven by the fact that the development of new Pokémon games requires more resources, Game Freak continues to create with titles close to its heart. If we look in detail at how the employees are distributed within the company, we know that one part takes care of Pokémon, but the other takes care of the original titles. Unfortunately for the studio, this is a relatively cautious release, as Little Town Hero was published in 2019 on various media in addition to the Switch. Not enough to discourage the company, which wants to make something other than Pokémon games and which, in any case, has enough to cover some commercial failures given its cash flow in very good health thanks to what the franchise has brought.

Thus, the small size of Game Freak is another element of the answer that helps to understand the graphic quality of the latest Pokémon games. But to better understand the situation, we can quote a sentence from Oscar Lemaire, in the same article about Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which sums things up perfectly: “Above all, Game Freak gives the impression of never wanting to fully enter the great game of capitalism.“.

Untenable production deadlines?

Why are the graphics of Pokémon Scarlet / Purple controversial?

Beyond the small workforce of Game Freak, another key factor can explain the quality of graphics in the latest Pokémon games: time. You must have noticed, but we still regularly have new Pokémon sealed titles, either these episodes of the main saga that introduce a new generation of creatures, the famous third version that completes the two previous ones or even the remakes. So, with around 23 games for the main series alone, Game Freak releases a new Pokémon title every year or two.

Why are the graphics of Pokémon Scarlet / Purple controversial?

proof, between 2016 and 2019, we will have the right to a new game every year, while in 2022, two Pokémon created by Game Freak itself will be released in the same year. In addition, it is not just any title, because between Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Pokémon Scarlet / Purple, we are facing a real change in the series. If Arceus serves as a transitional stage by offering many new open areas (although Sword/Shield Wilderness plays the role of experimentation), the next installments will go further through to offer a truly open world never before seen in the saga. But with two games slated for release in the same year, some concessions have to be made, and that’s part of the reason why Pokémon Sparkling Diamond/Sparkling Pearl are the first remakes of the franchise not yet developed by Game Freak.

Why are the graphics of Pokémon Scarlet / Purple controversial?

To fully understand why Game Freak is subject to such continuous production delays, we have to remember that video games play an important role in the Pokémon franchise. With each introduction of a new generation, it is the games that start, while the cartoon, cards and other derivative products follow afterwards. In that logic, it is unthinkable that a Game Freak title will be delayed because it affects all the companies that create products for the franchise. This is why the end of the year has become an unforgettable event for Pokémon games. While Game Freak remains one of the co-owners of The Pokémon Company, that doesn’t stop them from being under some pressure for how much they rely on their games.

Why are the graphics of Pokémon Scarlet / Purple controversial?

With a small number of staff and especially a long production time, it is therefore difficult for Game Freak to succeed in offering graphic quality that meets the expectations of players. However, things may change soon. In 2021, the annual Pokémon is a remake made for the first time by a studio other than Game Freak. If this gives Game Freak more development time than usual, it’s because there are two (or even three) projects running at the same time: Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Pokémon Scarlet/Purple. However, if this practice of making remakes made by other studios becomes a habit, then it will leave more time for the developers to create a game that can match what players see from the franchise.

Pre-order Pokémon + a steelbook for €39 at Fnac (Fnac+ member)

Pre-order Pokémon Scarlet and Violet on Amazon for €44

About Pokémon Scarlet/Purple

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