r/pokemon Nov 21 '22 Silver 3 Gold 2 Helpful 2 Rocket Like 1

As a software engineer, it's wild to me that the developers themselves are getting so much flak when this is obviously a product management problem Discussion / Venting

Bet I'm going to regret wading into this argument.

I had this thought while walking through the academy. It and the hub city are this HUGE extravagant set piece but they're both so empty. None of the buildings have interiors and the school doesn't even have hallways! And coming at this from a software development perspective, it's clear that they're cutting corners to meet deadlines, but why like this? Because the first thing that I'd advocate for is like... making the school smaller so that you don't have to spend as much time filling it with stuff, and so the performance issues aren't so obvious? But that's not what they did, because Game Freak, at some level, doesn't fully control what goes into their games. I'm willing to bet so many design decisions are made at the Pokemon Company level so that the new generation can be aligned across all lines of business. So they say, "Paldea has this giant Pokemon Hogwarts", and the people who make the TCG and the show and the merchandise are like "cool, we'll center that in our content". But then if Game Freak is like, "well that is a completely unreasonable scope for the timeline you've given us to make this video game", TPC just says "tough nuts", because failure to release the game means at least like 3 other companies now have no sellable product. They've set this cadence where everything has to release at once, INTERNATIONALLY in like ten different languages, so if one thing gets delayed everything has to be delayed, and from the perspective of the money people that cannot happen.

It's the same thing with the sandwich minigame. It's so detailed, they modeled so many, like, conventional groceries, and for what? Why didn't they use that time to make the game perform adequately? Probably because the anime episodes centered around Ash making sandwiches with Koraidon are already in post-production and TPC has decided that this is something they can't drop the ball on. So Game Freak is forced to make this tradeoff of, well if the performance is bad it might sell worse, but if there's no sandwich minigame then the TCG cards full of sandwich art are going to make NO SENSE.

What these games really need is for all parties involved to budget more time and workers for their software products YEARS in advance. That, or actually let the software people dictate the pace of their work. But I don't think they're going to ever do that because they can just crunch their team of devs to death to put out something economically adaquate. I bet the devs are pulling their hair out at being forced to release software that's so subpar because they clearly put so much work into this game, it just wasn't nearly enough work relative the unreasonable scope set for them by the brand-level creative team.

This is just my hypothesis for what it's worth. But I feel like this whole situation makes more sense if you think of Pokemon's brand less like Call of Duty and more like Sanrio, because that's who they're really competing with.

EDIT: Figuring out who is to blame isn't important and not my point here. It's just that in a huge corporation like this decisions are made from the top down not the bottom up and I don't think everyone gets that.

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u/SSJTriforce Nov 21 '22

To be fair, I've seen a lot more people criticize The Pokémon Company or whoever's decision it was to push the game out too soon than Game Freak this time around when compared with Sword & Shield.

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u/Kittah4 Nov 21 '22

Game Freak's weird City game wasn't hindered by a draconian schedule and still came out to a resounding thud, so I don't think its just TPC.

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u/DirtyDan413 Noodl Nov 22 '22

Little Town Hero was so forgettable people don't even remember how boring it was or that it even exists. Whenever people say "Game Freak would make an awesome game if they just had more time!!" they neglect to acknowledge the fact that Game Freak made a game unrelated to Pokemon, and therefore had full executive control, and it still fucking sucked. Yeah they need more time, but they also need more competent staff.

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u/Gawlf85 I am the night! Nov 22 '22

OP's point still stands that most of the issues come from top-down decisions, not a lack of competence from the bulk of the working force, which is what many refer to when they say "more competent staff".

Little Town Hero isn't boring and forgettable because GF's programmers don't know how to code (as people often claim). It is boring and forgettable because of how it was designed and directed.

Nobody's saying TPC are the only ones to blame. But within Game Freak, the higher ups, directors and producers, are the ones making the calls too. Not the coders or artists.

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u/gogoheadray Nov 22 '22

Sure I agree that most of the blame should be centered on the higher ups but we can’t absolve the workers as well. Case in point the camera clipping through the environment; the memory leak causing slowdown; the fact that text plays after animations in battle making them last longer; and the worst sin imo rendering the entire world at the same time rather than only the parts you are at making the game run worse over time.

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u/Gawlf85 I am the night! Nov 22 '22

Most of those issues would've probably been fixed with more QA and polishing time. All games have tons of bugs during development, they just get squashed prior to release.

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u/gogoheadray Nov 22 '22

That’s assuming gamefreak has the technical expertise to fix these issues in the first place ( which I doubt). Gamefreaks inability to code properly have been going on for about 20 years ( remember double and triple battles on the 3ds?). Gamefreak knew about this and released it anyway because for the most part they have been immune from criticism in the wider gaming community and also always had some ready made excuse ( it’s on a handheld; it’s only 40 dollars; etc). TBH this is the first real blowback that has affected the Pokémon games.

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u/Cinnadillo Nov 22 '22

I don't think you can separate the two and we have no proof of competent staff. The two often go hand in hand.

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u/AgenderWitchery Nov 22 '22

Little Town Hero

Little Town Hero might have been a flop. Sometimes a company makes a game and it's not good despite their best efforts. Personally, I haven't played it, but I HAVE played Giga Wrecker. And, listen, Giga Wrecker fucking slaps.

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u/Cuesport77 Nov 21 '22

That also means that any merchandise being made by licensees has to be delayed, or those plushies of Pokemon eating sandwiches make no sense. There's no way to piss off licensees quite like giving them a spurious, ever shifting deadline to coordinate with the game release. Shame, because all of this cheapens the product that the merchandise is centered around.

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u/hobo131 Nov 21 '22

Still thinking about the halo promos that came out a year early

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u/[deleted] Nov 21 '22 edited Dec 20 '22

[deleted]

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u/hobo131 Nov 21 '22

I mean its alright you just gotta look past network issues. The biggest sin is the change to melee and player collision. The gun play is pretty fun. It did need another year delay for sure.

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u/TwilightVulpine Nov 21 '22

Once again to be blamed on The Pokémon Company. They should have noticed that GameFreak was already struggling to adapt to the evolving technology demands, so they shouldn't have assumed it would all keep to the usual cycle smoothly, with no need for adaptation.

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u/metalflygon08 What's Up Doc? Nov 23 '22

They probably are well aware, but the sale records keep going up so they don't care.

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u/venia_sil Nov 21 '22

That also means that any merchandise being made by licensees has to be delayed, or those plushies of Pokemon eating sandwiches make no sense.

To me that sounds like a problem of priorities. I thought it was the anime that was created specifically to advertise and sell the stuff? If they want the games to serve that vehicle role, the economically rational thing is to make sure that the merchandise is not sent to shelves before the games are ready, not to rush the games out to sell exactly the same things that the anime is already selling.

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u/unitedshoes Nov 22 '22

But how could they possibly fill in a gap in their merchandising schedule? It's not like there are over 1,000 Pokémon that could get merchandise made of them in a longer gap between game releases. God forbid you try to sell 'em all instead of just making the 456,893rd and 456,894th pieces of Charizard and Pikachu mech.

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u/venia_sil Nov 22 '22

It's not like there are over 1,000 Pokémon that could get merchandise made of them in a longer gap between game releases.

And thats's the thing I mean, I know you don't jest about the 456,893rd Charizard merch but really Pokémon marketing team needs to realize they actually have assets and start launching eg.: Donphan or Lileep plushies during the "gaps". Because I certainly haven't ever seen an official Lileep plush, and would readily tear and burn all the Charizard plushies from the 142,841st onwards so there can be one.

And honestly, a merchandise gap, if it were to exist in Pokémon which according to my experience with retailers is not something that can be said to be, is not that much of a bad thing. Mental market saturation does is a thing in particular if you consider at the prices Nintendo sells their things (and prices that don't drop, ever) that means you are more or less forcing your audience to always have to be questioning if to Pokémon or to have food to eat for the week.

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u/StraightFlame Nov 22 '22

Just so you're aware: The Sitting Cuties collection currently has pretty much everything up to gen 4, and i believe they're working on gen 5. I'm not trying to argue - in fact, i agree that the less popular species need some more love - but i just wanted you to know that if you're okay with one of these, there's no need for a Charizard genocide.

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u/ghost20 Nov 22 '22

There's only 3 more episodes of the current anime left, with no news or announcements of anything new. Journeys has also been plagued with understaffing and quick staff turnover. At this rate, there might not even be an anime to compete with.

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u/GroovinTootin Nov 22 '22

As if Pokémon doesn’t sell enough merch. Just put out a shiny wave of plushies and wait

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u/ContinuumGuy ZAPDOS IS THE BEST! Nov 21 '22

I mean, the obvious solution to that is to provide the licensees with other stuff to use for an extra year or so between main games. Have new Pokemon and trainers to make merch of debut in movies, anime, and spin-off games (they've done it before, but never more than a few here and there). Plan ahead.

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u/AussieCollector Nov 22 '22

This is why TPC need to desperately move away from the 3 year generation cycle. Look at what its doing. It's making half assed products.

3 years is not enough for these things to be produced clearly. With PLA being as good as it was, something had to give and it was S/V.

Now with ash being champion its the perfect time to finish the anime. Move onto something else. Something different.

TCG can just come out when it comes out, nobody is racing out the door to get that compared to the games.

Personally i'm more than ok with going back to a 4 year cycle on pokemon gens.

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u/GroovinTootin Nov 22 '22

It’s incompetence on both of them. GF is clearly not big enough to handle these games and TPC keeps rushing for games

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u/Exhonor Nov 22 '22

Game Freak is The Pokémon Company though.

The Pokémon Company is owned 1/3rd by Game Freak. They're imposing these deadlines on themselves.

I doubt it's Nintendo pushing them like this considering they're not doing the same with other multi-milliom franchises like Mario and Zelda.

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u/SSJTriforce Nov 22 '22

That's true, but Pokémon generations are planned out in sync with the anime and merchandise and stuff, unlike Zelda which can be pushed back year after year without affecting much.

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u/Exhonor Nov 22 '22

Between Gens 3, 4 and 5 there was 4 years each, since then it's been 3 years.

That extra year can make a big difference and in the gens we had that extra year, we were in the golden age of Pokémom games imo.

With how much more intricate developing games is these days as compared to then, that extra time is even more important.

Let Game Freak (or preferably a better developer) work on the mainline games for the full 4 years and hire a lot more developers. Hire other companies to work on games like Mystery Dungeon, Ranger and Legends and assign a team who's job it is to create parity between all those games.

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u/Xbob42 Nov 21 '22

The devs appear to have been dragged kicking and screaming into 3D games. I don't think they have the expertise or the manpower to make the games they're trying to make. Ever since the 3DS their games have struggled with performance. Y'all can pretend like this is a new thing, but as soon as they went 3D there were significant problems that either never got addressed, or barely got addressed.

And each time, the problems have gotten worse. To an outsider it kind of looks like they just took their sprite-based team and said "start making 3D games." Maybe this is a management problem, maybe it's not, that is not relevant to me and never will be. They're the biggest media franchise in the world. Whoever's fuckin' fault it is, they need to open their goddamn cheapskate wallets and start paying a reasonably sized team and apportioning them enough time to make these games.

Of course, that's not gonna happen. Why sell 20 million copies every 5 years when the fans will complain but still buy the games and we can sell 20 million copies every 2 years?

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u/RaysFTW Nov 21 '22

The whole "devs don't have experience in 3D" is just not an excuse anymore. It's been how many years now since LGPE and Sw/Sh? They should have experience or should've been replaced with someone who does by now.

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u/GroovinTootin Nov 22 '22

Who would’ve thought LGPE would be the pinnacle of switch Pokémon games in terms of graphics and style. Truly amazing how things turn out

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u/Xbob42 Nov 21 '22

Hence why I said "expertise." You can do something for a long time and still be bad at it without proper training, resources or guidance. Also I totally agree.

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u/UristImiknorris Nov 22 '22

Some people have ten years of experience, others have one year repeated ten times.

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u/broomhandle77 Nov 22 '22

I can relate this to my skill in rocket league

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u/ethanxy Nov 22 '22

And mine in both competitive Pokémon and Smash.

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u/azurleaf Nov 22 '22 edited Nov 22 '22

GameFreak has finally graduated to the problem open world games had like 15 years ago. Giant, sprawling oceans about two inches deep.

They'll figure out how to fix it in a decade or so, just like Ubisoft / Rockstar.

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u/Morkins324 Nov 22 '22 edited Nov 22 '22

Is the Pokemon Company Game Freak some family run business where they don't hire outside help? No? Then, I don't see how that even makes any sense. Because I believe that there are other companies that make games and some of those people might have an idea of how to do those things, even if the original staff from the original Pokemon games might not. It's almost impossible to believe, given the fact that they are hiring programmers and artists that work in an industry that almost universally involves making 3D games, that they don't have staff that have experience making 3D games with some other company. It would almost be impressive if they had somehow managed to complete avoid hiring people with that sort of expertise.

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u/stealthrockdamage Nov 22 '22

no you don't understand. hiring external help costs money, and they don't want to do that because spending more money means they get less money at the end because thats money that they could using on Having More Money

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u/SylviaSlasher Nov 22 '22

If they were an American company that would make sense. However, remember this is a Japanese company. A somewhat xenophobic country that prefers traditional methods. It would make sense from a cultural aspect that they would prefer to work internally and keep on doing what they have done before, resisting help or new methods.

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u/Morkins324 Nov 22 '22

That assumes that they have literally hired zero new staff in decades or only hired staff with no prior experience before working at TPC, which simply is not true. Even hiring exclusively Japanese talent, you'd still have at least SOME employees that worked at Square Enix or Nintendo or From Software or [Name Any Japanese Studio making 3D games].

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u/xdSTRIKERbx Nov 22 '22

That was an example for the 6th and 7th gens. Now we have bigger problems, like trying to make a 3d open world AAA game in 3 YEARS.

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u/mrescapizt Nov 22 '22

I wish they just reduced the scope of the game. Not every game needs to be open world. That would allow them to focus on developing well designed routes and fill the game with content as opposed to empty land masses with low resolution assets that offer a <24fps cinematic experience.

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u/RechargedFrenchman Nov 21 '22

Alternatively, and an idea I think should get more consideration -- making not 3D games. They have fantastic artists and programming for sprite based 2D and 2.5D games, they demonstrated over and over again they can make good ones, and Gen III stylistically and performance wise is still one of the best generations in the franchise ... I would love games from GameFreak that look like generation 3.5 instead of generation 10, or look like gen 3 again, or look like the indie game Coromon. I loved that art style then and still love it now. And they can actually do it, right now unlike 3D as evidenced by every attempt they've had to date.

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u/KennyLog_Ins Nov 22 '22

I constantly gripe to my friends that, with HD-2D games like Octopath, Triangle Strategy, and Live A Live becoming more prominent, Pokemon would have been poised to really knock it out of the park. The sprite work in gen 5 is absolutely fantastic.

The problem now, of course, being that since they went to 3D they can never really go back.

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u/unitedshoes Nov 22 '22

Man, I would love to see a AAA 2D sprite-based Pokémon game (or even some 2.5D combination with 3D environments populated by sprites of human characters and Pokémon). I'm sure they could totally do it well.

But I'm guessing some marketing person or executive somewhere has made the bonkers decision that now that the series has gone 3D, it would be impossible to sell fans on 2D ever again.

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u/JayJayGolden Nov 22 '22

but they dont need to sell to fans.

they need to sell to kids.

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u/spookyskeletony Nov 22 '22

Careful, we only use that line of thinking to justify bad ideas

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u/unitedshoes Nov 22 '22

Poorly worded on my part. It's not about selling to fans vs. selling to kids in this case. This hypothetical marketing/executive is going to insist that a 2D/sprite-based game absolutely cannot possibly sell to anyone, no matter how many extremely popular 2D/sprite-based games you show him the numbers for.

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u/the_Real_Romak Nov 22 '22

the problem here is that if you go back to sprite based 2.5D games, after seeing how good a fully 3D open world pokemon game can be, how are you going to make it work? how will you implement roaming pokemon in a 2D world? how will you implement flying mons in the overworld? how will you justify throwing away thousands of well made, well animated 3D pokemon assets? How are you going to integrate everything to be compatible with the other Pokemon titles like Go and Home (you effectively double the workload to make 3D assets for those apps)?

And to top it all off, you have to then sell it to little Timmy who grew up playing nothing by 3D games (not just pokemon mind you).

At this point, going back to 2D is plain and simply a downgrade and is not feasible.

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u/LongFluffyDragon Nov 22 '22

They made a shitty engine and stuck to it, since making an engine takes years and money.

At this point, even a wholesale move to unity would be a huge step up, as sad as that is. At least it has rudimentary support for large environments, and handles stuff like LoDs without shitting itself.

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u/yudiandre333 Nov 22 '22

And I saw that some people that worked on the 3D mainline Pokémon also worked on stuff like Battle Revolution. So they have the knowledge to create good 3D animation, but it seems like the management just want to release games as soon as possible.

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u/AussieCollector Nov 22 '22

And on top of that LGPE were probably some of the prettiest switch games on the console.

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u/OrnsteinBagels Nov 21 '22

I would love a return to 2D sprite-based pokemon

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u/Aiyon Nov 22 '22

If you don’t mind emulators, check out inclement emerald.

It has physical special split, mega evos etc. and Pokémon from up to Gen…7? Possibly 8

And a nuzlocke mode you can turn on

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u/marm0rada Nov 22 '22

There are dozens of us!!!

I love art done under constraints. I love the painterly style pixels ask for. You know that modern problem where pokemon look dull and lifeless? It is much harder to let that slide in 2D, where you must manufacture dynamic art from the beginning- you don't get to just punch in an asset and call it a day. You have less to work with so you can't rely on a suite of other things to shore up your work.

Also, pixel art can look insane with modern engines. Look at Octopath Traveler, SLAIN, Backbone, Hyper Light Drifter, ANNO: Mutationem, etc. And most of those are tiny indie devs that couldn't get AAA polish.

It feels like they gave up a little when it came to marrying 3D and pixels, tbh.

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u/Univirsul Nov 21 '22

This game really does have the vibe of a 3D game attempting to be stretched over the bones of a pixel/2D type game.

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u/sudopm Nov 21 '22 edited Nov 21 '22

This excuse is getting so fucking old. They've made SEVERAL 3d games at this point. 3D has been a standard in the industry for over decade, no maybe TWO at this point. You're telling me there are developers out there in their career at this point that specialize only in 2d sprites and can't bother with the resources to learn about making 3d games? And 9 years of 3d games since x and y isn't enough practice yet? This is literally all assuming that they've had the same employees ONLY for almost 30 years! (Unheard of in software)

I'm not sitting here to play the blame game on the devs, this is likely their first time developing an open world game, and they were likely rushed, we already have evidence of ao many things implemented in extremely innefficient ways. Gamefreak dropped the ball on hiring people that know what they're doing, sure, but at some point you can't just keep pretending we live in the fucking early 2000s and developing games in 3d isn't already mainstream with tons of reaources out there to take advantage of. The engineers can absolutely be blamed for some of the dumb ass decisions made here, it's not even a matter of TIME, a lot of it is just poor implementation and obviously 0 research, this shit goes back to the SUN AND MOON titles and earlier! Years ago

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u/TheMadTemplar Nov 22 '22

3d has been an industry standard for 2 decades now, or just about. The Gothic series, morrowind, a few mmos, were all coming out in the early 2000's with 3d worlds.

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u/MayonnaiseOreo Nov 22 '22

with 3d worlds

Not even just that, but open worlds. 3D games have been the norm since the freakin' PSX but for some reason a lot of people want to give Game Freak a pass because "well it's Pokemon".

I think the newer games are still mostly fun and I know I'll end up playing SV at some point but it sucks knowing that we could be having a dramatically better experience if the games were made by a more competent company. Sure they're enjoyable but they feel like they're 15 years behind the curve.

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u/Xbob42 Nov 21 '22

You're telling me there are developers out there in their career at this point that specialize only in 2d sprites and can't bother with the resources to learn about making 3d games?

Ew, no. I'm telling you they have no reason to do that. They make critically acclaimed games that sell millions of copies, they're probably extremely proud of whatever it is we're looking at. Reddit and Twitter rage is so tiny compared to the overwhelming praise they get.

And it's not an excuse, I make no excuses for them, they can defend their own asses. It's an observation. Every 3D game they've made has had the same problems. They all look bad (some look relatively less bad because of platform expectations, i.e. 3DS titles but are still super basic) and they all have performance issues.

I honestly think they have no idea what they're doing and that that's probably exacerbated by management, rather than being exclusively a problem generated by management. I think they lack the skills, training, resources and manpower necessary to build these games. I think their technical staff needs to be completely retrained (or replaced, but I mean... people can learn, just get them good training) and if they want to keep up this pace of games, maybe they should have multiple teams like every other big publisher has learned over the years. Normally it's not sustainable so it becomes evident to the creators, but that might not happen here because every single mainline Pokemon game is wildly successful.

It's incredibly frustrating. I'm especially torn because I have no problem not buying Pokemon games, I've skipped several generations because I found the formula stale beyond belief for the longest time, so I was pleasantly surprised with Arceus and was glad they were keeping a lot of those ideas for this, even if they got rid of good ones like just being able to sneak up and catch a Pokemon without a battle, which made the act of catching and battling potentially different gameplay that kept things a bit more fresh.

So on the one hand, I think they've designed something fun that is, in my opinion, a good step in the right direction for the series. On the other hand they seem to be getting worse technically with each game. So do I support the direction I want the series to go or refuse to buy undercooked shit?? When it's just another Pokemon game it's so much easier. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon? No thanks. Sword and Shield with a sad incomplete Pokedex? Ehh second hand, thanks. A new direction for the series that feels fresh despite the massive issues? Goddammit, now it's a bit harder.

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u/ertaboy356b Nov 22 '22

Except Let's Go. That shit looks good and performs well.

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u/Xbob42 Nov 22 '22

Yeah, it's a weird outlier. Easily their best looking and running 3D game. Feels like it was designed by an entirely different team. In my head I actually think of it being made by a different team even though from what I can tell it was indeed Game Freak. That makes the whole thing even more confusing.

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u/EnglishMobster Zappy Bird Nov 22 '22 edited Nov 22 '22

GF has 4 regular directors:

  • A team led by Kazumasa Iwao, which did USUM/Arceus

  • A team led by Hiroyuki Tani, who did the Sword/Shield DLC (his first work as director)

  • A team led by Shigeru Ohmori, who did Sun/Moon, Sword/Shield, and Scarlet/Violet

  • Then Masuda, who did Let's Go and supported BDSP

Masuda stepped down from "main series" games after Let's Go - it was his last outing as a director. But the people who made the game were still there. There's also the team that made Little Town Hero, under Masao Taya.

If we assume that 1 director has 1 team with minimal overlaps, then we can assume that Hiroyuki Tani likely took over Masuda's team. This gives us the following dev teams:

  1. Main Series, mainline titles (Sun/Moon/Sword/Shield/Scarlet/Violet)

  2. A "Side Outings" team who works on less "important" games (Let's Go, Sword/Shield DLC)

  3. An "Expanded Universe" team that expands on what's already been done (Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon/Arceus)

  4. A "not Pokemon" team, who does support (BDSP) and "not Pokemon" games (Little Town Hero)

There's likely some cross-pollination, but not much - Scarlet/Violet have a lot of issues that Arceus didn't have, but you can also see that they reused some aspects (like the UI when targeting a wild Pokemon).

So we probably have:

  • Kazumasa Iwao starting currently in early production on what will either become the next Legends game or something like Infrascarlet/Ultraviolet, due 2024

  • You have Hiroyuki Tani working on Scarlet/Violet DLC, coming out next year

  • Shigeru Ohmori beginning pre-production on Gen 10, coming 2025 or 2026 (depending on if ILCA does another remake or not)

Masao Taya and Masuda are both question marks, but the "main" teams are all accounted for and have begun work on what's next.

It's very likely that the Scarlet/Violet DLC will be actually good, and maybe will fix some of the issues the main game has as the Let's Go team comes in to clean up the mess.

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u/Xciccor Nov 21 '22

One reason that it is a bit messed up to be this outraged is a simple fact;

Japan doesn't do corporate shit the same way. A sad reality that many of us are too spoiled to see is simply that great works in the industry is often created based on explotation of workers. Maybe this depends on the person, but the gaming industry culture of work in the United States is very sad. People are hired project by project and taken advantage of with little to no benefits, while the people making off with the money are big CEOs.

Japan on the other hand has a working culture that motivates corporations to keep innovating with the same workers they have. Not to suddenly expand with 300 new hires, for a 2 year project only. Not to say that GameFreak doesn't expand their workforce, they definitely do. But, a lot of their expertise has been developed--not bought.

You can't really be too mad at their studio for that. Their workers are doing well. We appreciate their products. Ultimatelly the triangle of evil which encompasses Pokemon in general (all of the pokemon companies) is what leads these types of things to happen. The fact that it is not in GameFreak's hands only, has led us to this.

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u/SonicFlash01 Zipzapflap Nov 21 '22

No one's suggesting throwing away experience, but it doesn't really seem like they have any or are building any. This isn't their first shot at 3D, and certainly not the first shot at HD 3D. If they are keeping their employees then where is that experience going?

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u/albifrons Nov 21 '22

They must be holding everstones

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u/elveszett Nov 21 '22

A sad reality that many of us are too spoiled to see is simply that great works in the industry is often created based on explotation of workers

That's not a Japanese thing though. Crunch, 100 h weeks and bullshit working conditions are widespread in gaming companies across America and some parts of Europe too.

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u/Nobody_Likes_Shy_Guy Nov 21 '22

What this comment is saying is that American corporations are more likely to expand for short-term endeavors than those in Japan. If Pokemon was being developed in America there’s no way it would have as small of a staff as Gamefreak does.

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u/turtlesinthesea missing Nov 21 '22

It's harder to fire people in Japan, but a LOT of Japanese workers are indeed on temp contracts or hired through agencies just for some projects.

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u/ThrangOul Nov 21 '22

Japan on the other hand has a working culture that motivates corporations to keep innovating with the same workers they have. Not to suddenly expand with 300 new hires, for a 2 year project only. Not to say that GameFreak doesn't expand their workforce, they definitely do. But, a lot of their expertise has been developed--not bought.

I mean, I'm not so sure about that - just google Japanese animators working conditions and you will read all about the exploit and underpaying the artists that you would expect from any Western company

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u/Xciccor Nov 21 '22

Don't get me wrong, Japan has a whole bunch of problems when it comes to working culture and their attitude towards their jobs. The animation industry is a prime example of that, but it is not the industry we speak of.

But, that doesn't matter. Ultimately the difference here lies within the different corporate attitudes towards hiring people for jobs. While people will work themselves to death in Japan; they still are not hiring people in the hundreds for a certain project alone. In the states, most workers are extremely replacable. This fuels competition between developers and is a big part of how they exploit them.

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u/submerging Nov 22 '22

But Pokemon is constantly coming out with new games. These developers could be kept on to produce the next game after one releases.

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u/Trickycoolj Nov 21 '22

A big reason I turned down a job interview at Nintendo of America was repeated reviews online that roles are stagnant with little growth unless someone above you leaves and all decisions have to be made in Japan. So you can have a guaranteed butt in seat but no local decision making authority and I already experienced that for 10 years in the corporate job I was trying to leave at the time. I still think NOA would be a neat place to see and work at for a few years, they have pretty good perks for being an “older” company in the space (especially Seattle) but I just couldn’t justify leaving a role where I had 10 years of seniority built up for more of the same culturally.

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u/Leandenor7 Nov 22 '22

Sub-contracting on software development is a thing in Japan if the man power is lacking. I am currently working on a project that was sub-contracted to the Japanese company I am employed in by another bigger Japanese company that was sub-contracted by a well known international Japanese company.

This chaining happen because of lack of manpower. The well known international Japanese company started a huge software project. They themselves handles the more critical and security sensitive parts and sub-contracted the other parts. The company they sub-contracted with is currently swamped with projects so they sub-contracted a portion of the project they got to us.

You can imagine how slow things gets decided while the schedule never changes. It means, I started working on the project even before I get any final specifications or even screen designs. And as developer, there's nothing I can do but scream at the void and program like I was running with scissors.

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u/Hydraetis Nov 21 '22

You can't really be too mad at their studio for that.

I can absolutely be mad at a company for any practices that result in them handing me a sub-par product for money that cost me a portion of the finite amount of time I have to spend.

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u/teruma Nov 22 '22

I checked out of curiosity yesterday. Their starting salary for open deveiles is 4 million yen... which is a whopping $28000. I didn't se a single open position for more than 12 million yen (maybe 15, recalling from memory), which only just approaches my starting salary in dev 10 years ago.

Senior devs in America make close to 42.5 million yen.

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u/ContinuumGuy ZAPDOS IS THE BEST! Nov 21 '22

And each time, the problems have gotten worse. To an outsider it kind of looks like they just took their sprite-based team and said "start making 3D games."

I mean, I feel like the complaints (both the extremely justified and the extremely not) complaints about Pokemon games have exponentially increased since the 3D era began, so I think you're on to something.

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u/stygian07 Pokemoonmoon Nov 21 '22

As a software engineer. Im bad at my job and want to qui...
oh wait wrong sub.

I think the general consensus was always that gamefreak lacked the necessary TIME to make these games due to management and all that higher ups things etc.

But I have a friend who dabbles in game development and he mentioned that some of the problems with things like camera angles and seeing the hollow spaces between the maps are rookie mistakes that were issues during the PS2 Era.. so... maybe theres a slight chance of incompetence too?

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u/Ourmanyfans Nov 22 '22

maybe theres a slight chance of incompetence too?

I don't see why the two can't go hand in hand. When you have a workforce that's undermanned, underpaid and crunched to death just to pump out the bare minimum on a ridiculous timescale, there's barely enough time to figure out how to get it to work at all, let alone efficiently.

S/V are held together with the coding equivalent of string and chewing gum.

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u/GroovinTootin Nov 22 '22

Probably a lot of cutting corners

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u/FaceTheTruthBiatch Nov 22 '22

I was going to say "The pokemon devs aren't undermanned, it's the biggest franchise in the world". But Game Freak has 150 people, that's so ridiculously low I thought it was a typo.

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u/Ourmanyfans Nov 22 '22

Blame Masuda, he's notorious for preferring "small teams", so Game Freak's been behind the curve for years in terms of numbers of developers.

The irony is Game Freak has been stepping up hiring lately, they just can't do it fast enough. Even with the essentially infinite resources Pokémon has (and let's be clear VERY little of that is actually reinvested back into the games), hiring people takes precious time away from the rest of development to allow for proper integration into the team structure and training with Pokémon's proprietary tools and engine. That's not too demanding with like a dozen or two new hires each generation, but when you need hundreds to match the output of other major studios, it becomes a logistical nightmare.

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u/WheresTheSauce Nov 22 '22

I don't see why the two can't go hand in hand.

Absolutely this. I don't understand where this false dichotomy is coming from. They seem to be technically incompetent, poorly managed, AND crunched for time.

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u/thedybbuk Nov 22 '22

Yes, I'm really not sure why OP is trying to turn this into an either/or situation, when it seems the far more likely explanation is a combination of terrible upper management in these companies and devs who simply don't seem at the same level as their peers in the industry when making a 3D open world.

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u/Phailjure Nov 21 '22

Game freak is a really small company, and i think a lot of their dev expertise comes from 2d era pokemon, they're probably not bad devs in general, but lack knowledge about those kinds of rookie camera mistakes, because they just hadn't dealt with it.

The solution to this is that management needs to hire some experienced 3d game devs to work on their engine and camera etc, because it looks (based on nothing but the size of the company -169 employees - and the knowledge that the dev team was split in half for legends Arceus and scarlet/violet) like the company isn't big enough to handle games the size and scope of these latest ones. I'm not saying they need to match the 650 employees of rockstar north, but they could probably double in size and still not have any bloat, especially since they seem to work in 2 games at once lately.

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u/GroovinTootin Nov 22 '22

At this point I couldn’t care less. It’s the highest grossing media franchise in the world and they treat it like it’s a small indie company cramming games into Gameboy cartridges. They seriously need to hire more people and stop being so damn stingy

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u/Gawlf85 I am the night! Nov 22 '22

The solution to this is that management needs to hire some experienced 3d game devs

That's literally what he said

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u/3163560 Nov 22 '22

Part of the issue I think comes from stories like how in SuMo Lillie had seperate models for every animation and how shiny pokemon had different models stored to regular pokemon.

https://www.reddit.com/r/pokemon/comments/dyfy3a/the_spaghetti_code_strikes_back/

Things like that.

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u/effective_shill Nov 22 '22

I work for a massive company which is built around APIs. Anything non API centric turns out garbage. I don't know why but we refuse to hire UX leads, owners who understand web design, etc. The company just doesn't value it, and I expect Gamefreak was the same when they decided to go open world.

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u/bluesydragon Nov 22 '22

Doesnt gamefreak have a history of being terrible programmers from the first games onwards?

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u/alex494 Nov 22 '22

Yeah, they're terribly inefficient coders that used to be able to hide behind the hardware ceiling or the inherent limits of the sprited art style (not that its a bad art style at all, but its a lot easier to keep an animated 2D art style consistent or have everything meet a set maximum standard, versus a 3D rendered environment).

Now that the hardware can actually handle crazier amounts of stuff they have less of an excuse and their lack of effort or skill is easier to expose.

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u/PalpitationEmpty5997 Nov 22 '22

Good old S/M having separate models for every island.

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u/Ylissian Nov 21 '22

Agreed there's way too many moving parts in this franchise.

I think The Pokemon Company has underestimated how much time it takes to build a AAA console game. From Gen 3-7 they had really streamlined the process of releasing a Pokemon game but what worked on the 3DS isn't really gonna fly anymore.

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u/AussieCollector Nov 22 '22

Not to mention the games prior to the switch were stull games on a hand held. They didnt have anywhere near the scope and level of detail a full console release has.

TPC are pushing GF to make console level games on a hand held time line.

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u/MGLpr0 Nov 22 '22

Gen 7 games upscaled on Citra somehow look more detailed than S&V.

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u/Gawlf85 I am the night! Nov 22 '22

That's just art, not scope. Let's Go also looks a lot better than SwSh or SV, but Let's Go's scope is tiny compared to SV.

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u/zdrup15 Nov 22 '22

I don't think TPC has underestimated how long it takes to build a AAA game.

They don't need Pokemon to be a AAA game, it sells amazingly even when the games are barely decent (haven't played SV, can't say if it's the case here). SwSh without DLC were mediocre and they were still blockbusters in terms of sales.

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u/Resident_Flow7500 Nov 21 '22

I feel like when people say the dev or the developers they mean the company that is developing the games but it's just quicker to say the devs or dev team

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u/FallenHonest Nov 21 '22

From the comments in this thread, i am certain a LOT of them do not understand nor bother to try to understand the difference...

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u/LaserPterodactyl Nov 21 '22

Fair point :)

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u/VelaryonShipwreck Nov 21 '22

I’m also a dev and I think that you’re technically right but I think for many your points are a distinction without a difference.

There are many industries that have all kinds of layers of roles that are unknown to the average person.

For those people “developers” is just a shorthand for “whomever is responsible”.

And often a shorthand is necessary. You can’t blame a company, because a company is comprised out of people that make decisions and execute actions. You can’t blame developers because they might not have made the decisions re: the roadmap. You can’t blame product manager because they might’ve been told to do X, Y and Z. Etc.

So people use a shorthand. If it’s a technical issue it’s “the developers”, if it’s a marketing issue then it’s “marketing” and if it’s an availability issue it’s “logistics”.

There’s something to be said to just blame the CEO, they’re where the buck stops and get paid enough for them to bare the brunt of the criticism, but often that doesn’t suffice as a shorthand because it doesn’t specify the grievances (i.e. technical, logistical, marketing, etc.).

In any case, I wouldn’t take it too personally. As long as people don’t harass individual devs the shorthand is fine especially since most people using the shorthand will happily switch targets to the real culprit if it ever comes to really burning someone on the pyre.

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u/cole20200 Nov 21 '22 edited Nov 21 '22

It's tragic too. Your sandwich mini-game example is a perfect highlight that something is really weird about the generation cycle management.

Just this morning I was making a sandwich in the game for egg power and I was like...this has sooo much puff around this process. These sandwich's could (And in fact are) just be boost items you buy from a shop for their bonuses, why am I doing a little sandwich making game with physics, and special animations, and a ranking system? My dude, there are hundreds of sandwich's in this game to make!

Something is wrong, and it's hard for me to understand exactly what it is. The pokemon themselves are well designed and animated, they look very out of place in the bland game world. The dialog is also often pretty fun, translated into 10 languages, that cannot be easy to do. All the little artwork everywhere, the titanic effort to manage to move/ability/egg/typing/battle animation elements of the pokemon as well.

Maybe the dev teams are just wildly unbalanced? And this game engine also must have a mountain of tech-debt built up that the engine and technical devs just can't get too. We needed an extra year on this thing. Legends Arcues should have released here, instead of right next to SD&P, and this should have released in 2023.

If I was asked to solve this. I'd say:

  • Gen 10 is a huge re-fresh on the pokemon world
  • 5 year development time for everything, TCG/show/merc/core game
  • Develop for next-gen nintendo device
  • New game engine, beef up tech-dev team 3-fold
  • very small number of new pokemon, very heavy focus on regional variates
  • no new gimmick, instead focus on most popular older gimmicks doublebattles/raids,alphas
  • combine the concepts of tera, z-moves, megaevolve, gigamax, etc into some kind of "choose your own hypermode in battle element
  • Fully shift target audience from 5-10 too 12-20. This will mature the game in a way that appeals to kids, and the parents of those kids who played when they were young. Pokemon could be the first IP to embrace its multi-generational audience.

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u/[deleted] Nov 21 '22 edited Nov 21 '22

[deleted]

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u/Gawlf85 I am the night! Nov 22 '22

Ikr? I think it's obvious different teams handled different features, and the open world teams severally underestimated the effort required for their part.

And at some point you can't really just "add more people" to teams, only... Give it more time, or pass the ball around (which also requires time, since the new people in charge will need to understand the existing code first)

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u/LaserPterodactyl Nov 21 '22

And for the record I think the sandwich stuff is fun! If only every system in the game had that much detail.

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u/venia_sil Nov 21 '22

I mean, the minigame has an awful lot of detail about how the MC imaginary-eats the sandwiches through their nose...

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u/cole20200 Nov 21 '22

Totally agree. Making the sandwich's is fun. It needed a bit of polish as well, but it's strong enough as is. It stands out for how much effort went into that mini-game when wind-mills spin at 4fps.

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u/zeromussc Nov 21 '22

I found a mountainside that literally stretch and morphed not just it's textures but the edges of the visual geometry those textures were glued to.

There are probably a bunch of little oddities like this that super hurt the performance in the game if the memory leak stuff is in fact true. If every step I take, a bunch of far off out of view textures and walls and elements are morphing and changing in size and position, that has to be an unnecessary load on the game that a tegra chip is trying to run.

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u/WhiteChocolateLab RIP Piplup 2006-2019 Nov 21 '22

Fully shift target audience from 5-10 too 12-20. This will mature the game in a way that appeals to kids, and the parents of those kids who played when they were young. Pokemon could be the first IP to embrace its multi-generational audience.

What I don't understand is that why are they dumbing down the game? I understand that it's targeted to kids but kids are smart. My 7-year-old nephew does well with more "mature" titles, even with the more complicated features and controls. Kids loved Fortnite and man, Fortnite is far more complex than Pokemon. Kids don't need to be handheld, just teach them enough and watch them roll. The previous games were more difficult and kids did just fine.

Pokemon really should embrace its multi-generational audience. Add easter eggs from previous games and not just Gen I, maybe the gym leaders from the past can return in some aspect with them being aged. Add difficulty settings from the beginning and make hard mode a challenge. I guarantee a lot of kids will play the games again in hard mode because of the extra challenge.

I never really liked this condescending attitude some adults have towards kids. Sure they might not be able to play super advanced games but they don't need to be handheld either.

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u/Blueguy16 Unova> Nov 22 '22

They act like kids can’t learn. That natural curiosity will have them exploring every nook and cranny of the game, and of course by doing that they’d get a grasp on how things work. If kids back when the original games were being released could figure it out, then how would the nature of their minds change with the other games that have the exact same gameplay loop, even with slight changes? As for the gen 1 pandering, if fearing kids would be too dumb to figure out the games, then wtf is it all for? None of my generation grew up with pokemania, so obviously they’ll know older people will play them too

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u/tyspy197 Nov 22 '22

I played red and crystal when I was like 8 and under. Those games are brutal in comparison, but I loved them for that. I don’t think dumbing down the gameplay is helping anyone’s enjoyment at all

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u/Polantaris Nov 22 '22

What I don't understand is that why are they dumbing down the game? I understand that it's targeted to kids but kids are smart. My 7-year-old nephew does well with more "mature" titles, even with the more complicated features and controls.

I've never agreed that dumbing down games for "kids" is even a good excuse.

You know what games I played when I was a kid? Diablo 1. Ultima 7. Ultima Underworld. Dragon Warrior.

These games were obtuse as fuck. Combination of poor design decisions due to lack of experience added on to the general hardware limitations of the time resulted in games that were largely figured out by the player. They told you nothing. You had to experiment and find out.

Today games act like if you're not told exactly every bit of information, you're just going to stop playing. It's bullshit. Kids aren't dumb, kids like a challenge, and kids can figure shit out. You'd never know it looking at a PKMN game today.

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u/paultimate14 Nov 21 '22
  • Fully shift target audience from 5-10 too 12-20. This will mature the game in a way that appeals to kids, and the parents of those kids who played when they were young. Pokemon could be the first IP to embrace its multi-generational audience.

This is something I've been hoping they would do for years. I absolutely loved Gen 5 on launch, and I think it is partly for this reason. It eventually had a hard mode and the oldest protagonists.

Watching the anime, it really felt like they were going to have Ash finally age around that time. The XY anime heavily featured the younger character, Bonnie, who got her own cute pokemon to sell plushies of. Afaik she was the first companion character to be younger than Ash, and I speculated at the time they would split the anime: a teen-focused anine with an older Ash, and a child-focused anime with Bonnie turning 10 and starting her own journey.

It looks like there were some drastic changes we don't know about during that era. What ever happened to Pokemon Z, or the Switch game Pokemon Stars? Was this related to Gamefreak making non-pokemon games at this time too? Maybe this is related to Gen 5 selling below expectations?

That being said, I don't think it will happen until a pokemon game sells poorly, and I don't see that happening unless the Switch's successor flops.

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u/Luchux01 Nov 21 '22

Afaik she was the first companion character to be younger than Ash.

Max was younger than Ash, remember?

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u/paultimate14 Nov 21 '22

Ah good catch, thanks

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u/cole20200 Nov 21 '22 edited Nov 21 '22

I wonder WHY they under-sold? I'm inclined to believe the sales projection is off more than the game's content and style being off.

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u/WhiteChocolateLab RIP Piplup 2006-2019 Nov 21 '22 edited Nov 21 '22

Man, there's a lot of factors coming into why B/W undersold. It's not one thing. Here's what I believe:

  • The 3DS was announced before B/W was released in Japan. A lot of people were upset that it was on the DS and not a 3DS title. Seeing that the game didn't take a huge leap graphically made some wait for the next core titles on the 3DS.

  • Genwunners were definitely a thing. The amount of criticism surronding the new Pokemon designs was big and that the Gen 1 designs were perfect. Vanillite was the primary example of this criticism.

  • The only Pokemon you could use before beating the E4 were exclusively Gen V. Not many people were fans of them already and some just hated that you couldn't use older Pokemon. Some believed that the old Pokemon weren't available at all, period, because of this.

  • Honestly, I think ROMs really took off around this time too. I remember that so many of my friends had R4s and just played the Japanese version of the game and eventually the English version once it got released. Why buy the game when you could just get it for free?

  • The rise of smartphones and gaming was right around this era. I remember the popularity of iPhones and Android devices just straight up explode during this period. Plus iPod Touches were popular and could play iOS games too.

  • A lot of the original audience got older and many just outgrew the series.

  • Edit: Now that I remember playthroughs were really popular at this time too. Many might have not felt the need to buy the game after seeing their favorite Poketuber play it.

It's a pretty complicated topic and I doubt I am right, it's just my opinion.

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u/cole20200 Nov 21 '22

That 3rd point, no old pokemon until you beat the game was a huge mistake looking back now. The whole deal with pokemon is that we are playing a kind of meta super game, an infinite continuation of gameplay since the beginning.

Imagine is the Final fantasy series was designed in a way that your original FF1 party from the NES era could NAH, should be carried up through the series as it progressed. Pokemon does something no other game or media franchise has even tried to do. It's an unique mix of maintaining the standard formula, but also innovate, but also everything from the very firsts game have to able to graft up to modern games.

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u/WhiteChocolateLab RIP Piplup 2006-2019 Nov 21 '22 edited Nov 21 '22

Yeah, it was a pretty major misfire at the time. It wasn't anywhere near the controversy surrounding that the National Dex will not be in Sw/Sh though. The very first trailer for B2/W2 showed old Pokemon, front and center. They really made it clear they'll be in the game before the E4 to help with sales.

It represented a soft-reset to the series and forced you to use something new rather than going with your favorites. Lore-wise it made sense; Unova was much farther away from the other 4 major regions. Seeing exclusively native Pokemon fits with that. However, a lot of Gen V Pokemon felt like Gen 1 reskins.

  • Sandshrew line -> Drilbur line.
  • Geodude line -> Roggenrola line.
  • Machop line -> Timburr line.
  • Hitmon duo -> Throh and Sawk.

Any new, creative Pokemon were much further into the story. Plus so many had to evolve with a high level. Of course this was because you caught them later into the game where the levels of everything else was high, but still.

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u/PurpleCyborg28 Nov 22 '22

Over half of the gen 5 mons were just gen1 pokemon reimagined. Combine this with not being able to use prevgen mon before E4 made it feel like a bootleg rather than a genuine pokemon game.

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u/beaverteeth92 Nov 22 '22

That 3rd point, no old pokemon until you beat the game was a huge mistake looking back now.

One of the reasons I like Gen VI so much is that there's so much variety in Pokémon in the Kalos regional dex. They really pivoted to "Hey guys, we're the still the same franchise you know and love! We have some great new Pokémon you can add to your team, but if you want, you can also get a Pikachu really early."

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u/One-Cellist5032 Nov 21 '22

My guess would be that it was because their original audience was off to college at the time, Hence the HUGE dip for BW and XY, and now with Sun/Moon onward, DESPITE significant controversy with SW/Sh have begun rising again in sales now that those people are out of college and able to afford leisure items like consoles/video games and perhaps even introduce their children to said games.

Pokémon’s best option is to cater to BOTH the older generation AND the newer generation, not to just pretend that the bulk of their audience isn’t 20+

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u/paultimate14 Nov 21 '22

I'm skeptical that's why. I remember in elementary and middle school, pokemon was everywhere, but it dropped off in high school with Gen 3 and 4.

Gen 5, everyone on campus seemed into it. The protagonists were older and the games seemed to target and older audience.

I think the problem was the opposite: they didn't get the younger crowds they were hoping for.

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u/One-Cellist5032 Nov 21 '22 edited Nov 21 '22

Pokémon games have been on a downward slope of sales since Red/Blue/Yellow with a very very slight increase with D/P from RSE (1 mil more), and then continued to go downward UNTIL Sun and Moon, which sold more than Gen 5 did, and then Sw/Sh despite overwhelming controversy, was the best selling generation since the originals.

X/Y I’d argue is probably where the trend begins though, since there was no expansion or “Z” game to give it a bump in sales numbers like every other generation.

Not to mention, it’s not like the younger generation was exactly alienated by newer games. Even IF Gen 5 had an older storyline there’s a good chance they didn’t notice anyway.

EDIT:

Following the trend, anyone 10yrs of age would likely be entering college about the time of RSEand graduating around the time of D/P which could explain the small spike, However everyone as young as 5 at the time of the original games would be graduated by the time of X/Y, which is right around the time sales began to increase.

The sales data lines up too well for it to be merely coincidence.

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u/The_Geekachu Nov 22 '22

My experience was essentially the same. When I was in elementary pokemon was HUGE, but in middle school when gen 3 released, mentioning you liked pokemon was basically saying you had a death wish. High School was less aggressive, but pokemon was still not a thing people talked about, and gen 4 came out at that time.

Come college and EVERYONE who had a DS was playing gen 5. I vividly remember a whole bunch of us all gathering around a huge table in the cafeteria all playing it.

it was very reminiscent of this just with BW instead of HGSS.

I always feel so confused when people blame "genwunners" for gen 5 not doing as well, because it was absolutely not my experience. A lot of the people who started with gen 1 stopped playing pokemon for gens 3 and 4 but came back for 5. The fact that it was all new pokemon was actually part of the draw at the time for a lot of them. But the games were met with hostility from those who grew up with gen 3 for some reason, probably at least partially due to that cycle.

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u/WhiteChocolateLab RIP Piplup 2006-2019 Nov 21 '22

Also remember that the 3DS was announced before the release of B/W in Japan. A lot of people were upset that the DS got another generation instead of it being a 3DS title.

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u/paultimate14 Nov 21 '22

The games under-sold Diamond and Pearl, on the same platform.

There's tons of articles and YouTube videos on the subject. It could be marketing issues. But I think there were 2 main factors.

  1. They targeted an older audience. They didn't get all of the sales of grandmother getting their kids some games they don't care about because the nice man at the store said that's what the kids are playing these days

  2. Smart phones. XY didn't do as well as DP either, though it was slightly better than BW. SM was basically the same. In fact, the only game since DP to beat it in units sold was SwSh.

We see the success of Pokemon Go. We see the elements from shitty mobile games get tossed into Pokemon. I think they are still in that handheld mobile mindset. They're releasing games on the Switch because that is Nintendo's handheld. It has a controller and a docked mode, but GameFreak either does not know how to or is not willing to make an actual AAA home console experience.

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u/nahadoth521 Nov 21 '22

I also wish so badly that they would make a hard mode for adults. It’s so disappointing that trainers have like 1 lvl 9 Pokémon when i have 6 that are like 15+ already. They should have a hard mode where all trainers have 4-6 Pokémon, gym leaders have 6 Pokémon and levels are all increased. The elite four should be like lvl 80+. I want to at least feel like I might lose at some point. As a kid I did lose battles sometimes but as an adult it’s not hard at all to win.

Also if they’re going to do an open world I wish they would add more things like small side quests to find things and get rewards instead of just picking up the items and give more reasons to explore more of the map. And Pokémon should level as you do even in old areas so you can go back and do more exploration. But those things require years to develop.

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u/Hydraetis Nov 21 '22

The biggest thing affecting difficulty is to give EVs to the NPC pokemon.

My playthrough of Ultra Sun was with a romhack that did exactly that, and hoo boy.

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u/nahadoth521 Nov 22 '22

That’s probably a factor but if a gym leader has three Pokémon to my 6 I’m not likely to lose even if I play poorly. Like the bug gym leader has two first stage pokemon even though one evolved in like one more level. They don’t even pick very difficult teams for the gym leaders. I think it’s fine for young players but a hard mode would challenge more experienced players.

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u/NeoSeth Waiting for the return of Misty. Nov 22 '22

Just giving the Gym leaders real Pokemon/strategies would go a long way. So let's take the Bug leader as an example. She's an early gym and should be easy, but not THAT easy. Why not give her a series of decent bugs? There are some decent ones in this game; what if her boss was a low-level Frosmoth? What if the Water gym led with Damp Rock Pelipper and proceeded to assault you with Swift Swim Pokemon?

I also think SV specifically missed the boat on how gym leaders use Terastallizing. Instead of using it to convert Pokemon from outside their type into their type, they should be using it the opposite way. Why does the Bug Gym Leader turn her Teddiursa into a Bug? I just kept clicking Ember on Fuecoco and won. Imagine if instead she'd had a Masquerade and Terastallized it into a Water-type. It could unleash a variety of STAB Water-moves on the Fire and Rock-types people likely bring to the gym while also removing its weaknesses. If I were a kid playing the game, it would be a real "gotcha" moment that would convince me of Terastallizing being a powerful maneuver.

But they didn't do that. What a shame.

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u/3163560 Nov 22 '22

Same with some of the gym challenges, like the olive rolling or the dancing. Just unnecessary, and not particularly fun.

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u/Tanabatama Nov 21 '22

so is this inspired by Lockstin and his series of videos on the concept of what if Pokemon is a 3D Teen Rated Action Game (Ala Bayonetta or Legend of Zelda)?

I love those ideas of course.

But I can imagine a particular problem that may not be always asked. I want an answer from you with this question.

"How damaging or not damaging would be to completely remove their G rated Brand Marketing (5-10 year olds) to a Teen and Mature Rating (12-20+)?"

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u/cole20200 Nov 21 '22 edited Nov 21 '22 Eureka!

So, in a pitch, high-level development meeting, let's say I'm the gen 10 pokemon senior program developer. This is meeting zero, and I've just rolled out my pitch and this was the first question you asked as the CEO of TPC our who every it is that can approve or disapprove of my approach:

"Yes, that is an important question Mr./Mrs. Tanabatama, but we aren't just generating a product. The pokemon franchise is a modern pop culture icon across the world. You don't need me to tell you this of course. But we've reached a point where our first fans are parents of our new fans. Pokemon was a phenomenon when it first appeared, and there is no denying that. But we are not reviving pokemon after a long hibernation with this new generation of games and media, instead we are MAINTAINING a living brand. And living things evolve, or they wither. Right now, we have an image problem with our original fans. They are adults, they are internet users, they have a lifetime of gaming to compare things too. And they are disillusioned, right now they say, "I suppose I can overlook some issues and enjoy my time with this new game." But what if they said, "Wow! I feel like a kid again playing pokemon!"

"I feel like a kid again." We must strive for that feeling again, I've read much of the feed-back from the internet, reviewers, you-tube influencers. Pokemon is routine to them, and routine isn't exciting. A routine checks a box, a routine is -good enough-. We have to surprise them again, our loyal fans, with something beyond their expectations. And please understand, their expectations have become low. Our development has become routine, our ideas as well. Imagine the love and care new young people could bring, people who grew up with pokemon as a treasure of their childhoods.

Pokemon is a magical experience, its our job to try and capture that magic for the fans. A teen rating may feel uncomfortable, but we don't have to remove the whimsy. A teen rating doesn't mean adult themes, or violence. For pokemon it means challenge, it means style, it means growing up. The core fantasy of pokemon is the child-like wonder of going on an adventure. Children now still do that today. Going to college is the great adventure made real for many children, getting a job, and coming to understand what responsibility can mean. That is why I'm proposing these changes, our gen10 player character will be 18 years old and are exploring the older side of things. We'll have gameplay systems around building a gym team with specific requirements, that lead to gym approval and becoming a gym leader. We'll have gameplay systems around difficult competition settings, with level limits, smaller teams, and strong and challenging A.I., and a core gameplay loop of exploring a new untamed land, with no towns (our recent game, Legends introduced this), and large distances without refresh support for the player to work through. These are my 3 core ideas of gameplay: gym simulator, competitive battling circuits, challenging collecting and exploration. To put it another way, I want to take many of our older post-game systems, and expand them into core game systems.

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u/Nambot Get blue Spheals Nov 21 '22

Yes, and the project managers blame the finance department, the finance department blame sales, and sales blames the developers, all in an endless cycle.

The problem isn't even with the project managers. The problem is at a senior levels, that the execs at The Pokémon Company simply don't see any reason to allow the time and money necessary to make games that play better, because they still release some of the highest selling games on any Nintendo system they're released on, and make a fuckton more from the associated merch.

The Pokémon Company are perfectly content with the quality given, because they got what they wanted, a new wave of Pokémon to put on cards, toys, and everything else. That's where the real money is made, the game is really just an interactive advert that you pay for, to get you to buy that Sprigatito T-shirt, Quaxly bedspread, and Fuecoco plush. And so long as that merch machine is still profitable, there's zero incentive to change.

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u/LaserPterodactyl Nov 21 '22

Yeah, I don't mean that this is the problem with any individual project manager or something, it's a systemic thing that comes from how the brand is being managed generally. It's just not down to individual programmer talent or something which is my point.

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u/_Fun_At_Parties Nov 22 '22

No offense, but I doubt anyone thinks it is. Most people understand that with the time crunch Pokemon is on the dev team can only do so much. That doesn't mean what they put out was good though, I'm sure they know that too, it's just they were set up for failure.

It's a multi level failure absolutely, but customers don't need to care about the background details. If they criticize the developers, and it actually affects how the game is sold/received/etc... then it force Game Freak and the rest of the Pokemon Company to realize why their dev team went wrong, and how to prevent it from happening in the future. By not criticizing poor development, even if the deck is stacked against the developers, were basically excusing a poorly made game, and that's not something people should do if they want the series to improve

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u/elveszett Nov 21 '22

For all we know, no one is blaming anyone. The games are instant best sellers regardless of their quality. Let's put our feelings aside and think like cold businessmen selling a product. If I can employ 1/5th of the workers a normal game has, and have them work for a year instead of 4, and still sell more than almost any other game out there... why wouldn't I? Who cares about shitty textures and graphics? It's not like the government will fine me a billion dollars for half-assing the game. From my POV, you are just asking me to multiply development cost by 5 to gain absolutely nothing in return, other than the praise of some geeks on the Internet. Too bad both I and my investors want money, not praise.

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u/SnoopyGoldberg Nov 22 '22

This type of mentality isn’t really sustainable forever though, best practices for a “cold businessman” IS to have a product that your consumers are happy with.

In the business world, whenever you’re riding high from success, you can do everything wrong and it won’t affect you immediately. However, whenever your luck takes a downturn, you will find that you can’t fix it even if you start doing everything right.

The Pokemon Company is making short-term decisions that will hurt them in the future the moment their luck turns around. When will that be? Well it depends on how much longer the average Pokemon fan is willing to put up with their bullshit.

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u/Rotsuoy Fire Fan Nov 21 '22

It's so refreshing to see some genuinely good criticism and discussion around this game. Last night, on this reddit alone, I felt like I was wading through far too much emotionally driven complaints that felt superfluous to the actual problems the game has while completely shirking the genuinely good changes made to the series through this game.

As a game dev myself I have a criticism list for this game a mile long- even as an indie dev that's worked on very small projects freelance too. There are problems in this game that I would never let slip into a full release title I had my name or even aliases on. However, I greatly appreciate a lot of the features in this game and I hope they keep them going forward.

In short, I hope to see more high quality criticisms like in this post, and this whole thread for that matter, so that we can really show TPC that we're just not satisfied with the game as a whole. Keep it up folks! You're doing great!

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u/Vecend Nov 21 '22

I don't think people are putting the blame on the devs but the company as a whole, had the games stuck to 2d I believe the games would be a much higher quality but it was most likely a business man who probably doesn't know how to even plug in a computer choice.

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u/Aksudiigkr Nov 21 '22

But over all these years the devs also have proven to be lacking in optimization and other areas of game development. The characters can’t even turn at anything other than a 90-degree angle in cutscenes. We’ve heard of how bad their code is since gen 2.

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u/TempUnknown Nov 21 '22

Gen 2 was considered the better game code wise, but that was due to Iwata fixing it for them.

They were only able to fit both Johto and Kanto on the game due to his optimization input.

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u/Aksudiigkr Nov 22 '22

Right thanks, that’s what I was referring to — that their code was known to be awful ever since back then when they needed Iwata to do it all for them that game. But my wording wasn’t great sorry

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u/Tanabatama Nov 21 '22 edited Nov 22 '22

yep. let's look back at the context of 3d world design in video games. It started at around early to mid 1990s. Most game companies jumped into it.

Pokemon started with the Game boy that has no capabilities in 3D models. The earliest handheld console that can do 3D well was in Generation 4. But let us not forget that they stayed in 2D sprites only. Never 3D design any game design elements at all. If you see that Game freak lacked the expertise in 3D, they should had began 6 generations ago so that the current generation of Scarlet and Violet might had been more acceptable at that time.

So for me, as meh as I hate saying this, we may need to wait 3 generations total on the switch and onwards for them to be comfortable making a proper 3D world design in 3 years comfortably.

Right now, they are essentially at the point where they got comfortable floating on the water. Last get is them flailing at the water failing to stay afloat in 3D game design experience.

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u/elveszett Nov 21 '22

The skillset to make a 2D engine vs a 3D engine are quite different, though. A 2D engine is relatively simple, and in older times where hardware was very limited, the most important skills were technical knowledge of how hardware works that allows you to write a very efficient and lightweight engine. A 3D engine is a lot more complex, it requires some knowledge of geometry, and some physics if you want to have somewhat realistic behavior.

Technical knowledge is a lot less important now, firstly because modern consoles like Switch have a lot more power and you can afford to waste some bytes here and there to write easier code, and secondly because the Switch probably has a 3D toolkit a bit more complex than just "this function draws a texture and this one paints a color", so a lot of the code that needs to be very performant is probably already written by Switch devs themselves.

All of this is to say, it's not as simple as "give them some time to gain experience developing 3D games". The skillset required to make the engine for Pokémon Ruby is very different than the skillset required to make SV's engine, and the people that have been working since the first gens have probably 20-30 years of experience by now, it's too late to tell them to ditch that and start their career almost from 0. Here is where a normal company would hire new devs for 3D stuff, while seniors of old would move onto other positions, as their skillset is still valuable, and the experience they have is still needed).

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u/Dovahjerk Nov 21 '22

They could go 2D everywhere and have 3D fights only and I’d be insanely happy. 2D sprites have come a long way with how fun they can look since BW2

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u/HomosexualBloomberg Nov 21 '22

I mean as a software engineer, I feel like that shouldn’t be wild to you 😆

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u/ArpMerp Nov 21 '22

I'm willing to bet so many design decisions are made at the Pokemon Company level so that the new generation can be aligned across all lines of business

GameFreak is technically above TPC, they are one of the 3 owners. And they have a lot of power. Take this excerpt relating to the Detective Pikachu game:

Jinnai, who’s also helped on and off as a producer and adviser on the Pokémon anime, says Game Freak has historically been quite protective of the world it's built. Executives at the game company, which operates as an independent entity with a stake in the Pokémon license alongside Nintendo and Creatures, often stopped writers on the TV program from taking liberties with pokémon, like imbuing the pocket monsters with too many human-like qualities. “It took a lot of convincing to let us break the rules,” Jinai says.

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u/lucaspucassix Autobots, Defense Curl! Wait...no... Nov 21 '22

like imbuing the pocket monsters with too many human-like qualities

isn't that ironic

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u/Hydraetis Nov 21 '22

Why couldn't the paws just stay on the damn ground :c

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u/Responsible-War-9389 Nov 21 '22

Cinderace has entered the chat room

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u/ArpMerp Nov 21 '22

It's only not OK when other people do it.

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u/GulielmusBascarinus Nov 21 '22

That would make sense in a vacuum, but not when we take into account the relationship between parties involved. GF is NOT subordinate to TPC and does NOT take orders from it. From what is known, it’s the other way around, GF projects its schedule (in coordination with Nintendo) and makes development decisions; TPC then coordinates all that to work with their partners.

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u/canonx3 Nov 21 '22

So where exactly is that information given though? I'm not calling you a liar but how exactly do you that is the case between all 3 companies?

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u/Hydraetis Nov 21 '22

Probably some inferring based on the fact that TPC is owned by 3 companies:

  • Nintendo, who publishes the games.
  • Creatures Inc., who handles the modeling, animation, and probably also some share of the designing of the pokemon.
  • GameFreak, who makes the games (or contracts others to make games).
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u/grole2022 Nov 21 '22

GameFreak said it has no plans expanding its team. They have claimed they are purposely dumbing the games down because of bullshit reasons. GameFreak has the option to bow from projects, like BDSP.

This is 100% GameFreak not wanting to change because they have no reason to.

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u/TSPhoenix Nov 21 '22

I guess the question is are those bullshit reasons the actual opinions of the people giving them, or are they made-up excuses to justify decisions forced on them?

Like I remember that Nintendo interview where is was revealed there is a rule about usage of Mario characters, and the devs in the interview said they agreed with the policy, but when you look at the content of their actual game you get the impression they were just saying that because disagreeing with your superiors is just not allowed.

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u/Willias0 Nov 21 '22

Game Freak is more than just game devs. They'll also have their own project managers as well.

I think the point of this thread is - be mad at the people who managed the project, not the coders who had to write it.

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u/Zefirus Nov 21 '22

I think the problem here is that "Developer" refers to both the person that wrote the code and the company that wrote the code. People are mad at the company, not the dude that doesn't get to make any decisions and is just working a ticket.

Like, if this game was on Steam, it would say "Developer: Game Freak, Publisher: The Pokemon Company".

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u/LaserPterodactyl Nov 21 '22

But I don't think they're going to ever do that because they can just crunch their team of devs to death to put out something economically adaquate. I bet the devs are pulling their hair out at being forced to release software that's so subpar because they clearly put so much work into this game, it just wasn't nearly enough work relative the unreasonable scope set for them by the brand-level creative team.

I mean that's basically what I wrote. But Game Freak management =/= the creatives who work for Game Freak.

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u/TwilightVulpine Nov 21 '22

That's true, but a lot of people use "devs" to mean GameFreak as a whole, not Hiroshi-san, junior developer.

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u/Jabrono Nov 21 '22

Is it wrong to use "dev" to mean development company? Maybe I'm in the minority but this post just seems like common sense, individual developers don't have the power to churn these games into the shit we've been presented with lately even if they wanted to. It's all about management.

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u/TwilightVulpine Nov 21 '22

It can be ambiguous. Some people do see it as a lack of skill of the development team, which, even if it was the case, it would still be a failure of management, that didn't seek to hire and train people to be capable of building the game better. But it's more likely that they are too rushed to polish the game as much as it needs.

Still, focusing on the leadership is the better angle. Sometimes I get a feeling that PR uses this sort of confusion to muddle the issue. They go "don't you dare to insult our poor devs you mean gamer, they have it so hard" so that the discussion ceases to be about the quality of the end product. Which, ironically, is often poor because the devs are treated poorly, ordered to crunch like mad to meet unreasonable deadlines.

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u/Lunafreya_NoxF Nov 21 '22

And why would they?

Pokémon fans are buying their game in droves. Millions of 120uss two-pack games.

The most preordered Pokémon game in history and the second (so far) best selling or whatever.

Why would Gamefreaks do anything different when this clearly works?

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u/GabeTheGlueMan Nov 21 '22

I’ve read this in every fucking S/V thread lmao

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u/Dovahjerk Nov 21 '22

I work IT at a fortune 50 and shit has been ON FIRE for MONTHS and really hasn’t let up. We’ve lost a lot of people, don’t have as much senior knowledge, and people are insanely burnt out. I’d imagine any IT field or IT adjacent career is probably facing similar issues, which would definitely be a contributing factor. Especially if combined with some potentials from your post.

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u/lothiavan Nov 21 '22

I'm a software developer and I'm dismissing issues that I know we're because of poor management and I'm having a blast. However my criticisms are all little things that could have been easy to do it the right way the first time.

For example, if you have gaps in your box and catch a new mon it'll put it after all your other slots instead of fill in the gaps. I know appending an array is easier than searching for the first empty slot (though if I had a guess it's an array of an array) but it's not that much more difficult it could've been implemented same day.

Leveling up using the let's go feature clearly has different level up logic written for it because it skips evolutions and new moves. I feel they should've just called that logic again because I hate that I'm missing the evolutions when grinding if I didn't know about it.

However big things like the infamous memory leak I honestly can understand they had a dead line and product management wouldn't find a huge issue with letting that one be a lower priority.

No indoors was definitely because the time crunch too

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u/sectandmew Nov 21 '22

The Pokémon Company are perfectly content with the quality given, because they got what they wanted, a new wave of Pokémon to put on cards, toys, and everything else. That's where the real money is made, the game is really just an interactive advert that you pay for, to get you to buy that Sprigatito T-shirt, Quaxly bedspread, and Fuecoco plush. And so long as that merch machine is still profitable, there's zero incentive to change.

The crunch is obviously hell, but if I tried to pass this code as mine at work, it would be immediately shutdown by QA and i'd be out of the office before lunch.

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u/Ritz527 Leggo my Leaf Blade Nov 21 '22

This is what I call one-way development. Communication is top-down without any feedback from the technical staff. Management sets the standards and devs have to try and keep up.

Twitter and Elon Musk are a great example of one-way development on steroids.

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u/mangano15 Nov 21 '22

As a QA myself, it feels like the client made unnecessary changes to the product, and dev team couldn't keep up with the changes. So what did they do? They cut QA time as always, because that's what all companies do, "dev team codes fine".

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u/Sablemint <3 Nov 22 '22

I noticed something that confused me: the raids. They look really nice, especially the catching animation. That is really well done despite how complicated it is graphically. So there are obvoiusly people who do very much care.

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u/altanass Nov 21 '22

None of the buildings have interiors and the school doesn't even have hallways!

It's so weird coming from Arceus straight into SV where nearly every building had interiors...

Even the player character's house in Arceus had interiors and that could only be found through debug/hacks!!! And it was so detailed too lol !!!

But yes, if you make Pokemon-Hogwarts, you need a school that itself is the size of a zone, with hallways, secret hallways, hidden rooms, hidden sanctums etc.

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u/PassablePhony Nov 21 '22

economically adequate

I'm using this every time someone tries to justify pushing some polished POC out as if it's ready for release on the grounds that it's "good enough". It's not good enough, but it is economically adequate.

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u/9bjames #ShinyBreeder Nov 22 '22

Interesting take, and for sure I'd never put all the blame on the software devs. Even if there does happen to be certain level of incompetence, management should be helping out on that end by setting a more reasonable deadline, or hiring on more staff - ideally hiring more experienced/ more talented workers at that.

Everything boils down to money though, whether it's to do with more hiring or changing an overly tight release schedule. Games companies exist to make a profit through their products, and in that sense it doesn't matter whether the product is high quality or not - as long as they still sell. And these games will always sell (since it's Pokémon)... so unless something big happens, the management types who only see profit will keep on cracking the whip to pump out games on a tight schedule.

Also, yes: I completely believe the other two parts of The Pokémon Company (Creatures and Nintendo) are as much to blame as Game Freak for this whole situation. Not to say Game Freak are blameless, but everything you mentioned about releasing in schedule with all the "tie-ins" makes total sense (even if it does seem a little ass-backwards).

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u/shinyxena Nov 22 '22

I think everyone is speculating and at the end of the day it’s speculation. What’s absolutely true is Game Freak as a company produced this sorry game, and Nintendo published it. Instead of trying to guess which individuals are involved let’s hold the companies accountable instead of trying to micromanage them from Reddit. Regardless if some of the “coders” contribute to any of the mess of this game, it’s management who hired them and or continuing to employee them. Overall the buck stops with Game Freak and Nintendo - full stop!

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u/beaverteeth92 Nov 22 '22 edited Nov 22 '22

I get the impression that it's both. Like, the lack of content is definitely a product management problem, but the total of lack of optimization and knowledge of standard 3D graphics techniques are developer problems. Either of them on their own would be really bad, and Game Freak has both. The latter would be like if my company was trying to develop a modern application in Java, even though almost no one at the company had experience with object-oriented programming and had written nothing but COBOL since 1994.

Game Freak should go back to 2D, hire additional developers who specifically have 3D gaming experience, get Monolith Soft involved in every single new Pokémon game, or Nintendo should buy Game Freak out of The Pokémon Company and make the games as a first party developer, or give them to a new second party developer.

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u/[deleted] Nov 22 '22

The ironic thing is that the show has also been having issues so it makes me wonder if TPC as a whole is just on the verge of drowning

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u/WheresTheSauce Nov 22 '22

Also a software engineer and I disagree. I don't get why people are making this false dichotomy. Game Freak is clearly not technically capable, and they are clearly poorly managed. Two things can be true at once.

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u/AxeEngineer00 Nov 22 '22

This makes sense until you realize that game freak themselves control 33% of TPC so they hold a good amount of weight in the decisions. That and the fact that from a programming or game design point of view they have committed lots of rookie tier errors in the past years, things like miles long "if" scripts or making multiple copies of a model that gets bigger instead of just scaling it

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u/AlexFlame116 Nov 22 '22

People really need to stop acting like Game Freak is some innocent poor company being worked to death by TPC, a company that they own a huge part of.

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u/stephenw32768 Veevee powah! Nov 21 '22

I'm also a software developer with nearly 25 years experience, old enough to be more than halfway through my working life. I'd upvote this into the stratosphere if I could.

Of all the ill-considered ranting that goes on in this subreddit, "the devs are lazy" or "the devs don't care" grinds my gears like nothing else. Software development is hard and stressful and exhausting, and I'm coming from the position of working in a normal-office-hours job, in an industry that doesn't do crunches. I cannot begin to understand how stressful life must be for developers in the games industry under perma-crunch.

I doubt the armchair experts decrying the allegedly lazy, careless developers would last a year in my job, let alone the games industry.

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u/58786 Nov 21 '22

I think it’s a nominative problem. The people who code and engineer the game are called developers while the company that employs those people is also referred to as the Developer of the game (as opposed to Publisher or Distributor, which fulfill different roles and are sometimes the same company).

“The Devs are lazy” doesn’t necessarily mean that any individual developer employed by the company is lazy, rather the Developer itself. I have no doubt that the 50 or so developers employed by Gamefreak are working their asses off the make these games, but Gamefreak is still a lazy and stagnant institution that refuses to put in effort.

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u/Darkmetroidz Nov 21 '22

It's hard to not assign blame to game freak as a whole considering the whole company is so opaque about everything.

I agree it isn't the programmers fault but I think blame does need to be laid at the foot of game freak the company as well as TPC

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u/strom_z Nov 21 '22

You might be 100% correct but at the end of the day most of us pay full price for this game and it is NOT our responsibility to investigate whether the problem lies more with Gamefreak's incompetence or Pokémon Company's greedy tactics (unpostponable schedules, etc.)

Yeah going throug this game more and more I also have a feeling that Gamefreak is at a big disadvantage bc TONS of other games have been postponed and if not, they might end up being a mess like this - there are many good parts about Scarlet/Violet but stuff like awful performance or ridiculously empty cities (which were clearly designed with so many plans but at the current state there is almost NOTHING to do in them except collect items) could obviously be improved a lot if the game got postponed at least half a year.

But for be the bottom line is - MAKE IT WORK, Gamefreak, Pokémon Company, all of you who are responsible.

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u/rnarkus Nov 21 '22

“the devs are lazy” or “the devs don’t care”

People say this in reference to the company as a whole.

aka: The devs of this game are lazy = Gamefreak is lazy and doesn’t care

I know there are crazies that actually blast the individual developers but that is few and far between

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u/Zefirus Nov 21 '22

I am also a developer, and the word "Devs" on a forum such as this refers to the development company as a whole, not the in the trenches guys who have no power over anything.

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u/DarkWolfMCB Nov 22 '22

Everything mentioned here is likely correct, but a lot of people also overlook the cultural context of Game Freak being a Japanese developer working under large Japanese companies.

For those not aware, Japan has a very big hierarchical structure, where anyone who is older, or has worked longer than you have or achieved more than you have is considered a superior. Speaking out against a superior or sharing an idea that directly contradicts a superior is bound to get you some serious trouble.

Take into account that Game Freak is considered a smaller company than The Pokemon Company and Nintendo and other key stakeholders and they're kinda just stuck there having to say yes if they want to keep their job.

So I highly doubt Game Freak is entirely to blame. Yes, their name is on the product and they are the ones doing the work to make the game, but they aren't the ones who get to make the decisions on the games, and if they speak out too much they're probably going to receive serious backlash from other companies. The game is poorly optimised and runs horribly because stakeholders usually don't care to see a game run at a smooth framerate. They only care to see what features are in the game and if this kind of feature will draw in consumers.

All I can think of is how horrible it must feel to work on something you probably care deeply for and feel very ingrained in the development process of, only to have to release it in a subpar state to the entire world.

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u/Die-g03 Nov 21 '22

So why doesn’t game freak hire more developers to help make the game on time. COD:MW2 had over 1000 developers. Clearly the multi billion dollar company can hire a few hundred more competent workers to help make the game. Game Freak has 169 employees which is embarrassingly small. They’re definitely overworking their employees.

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u/NoMoreVillains Nov 22 '22

This isn't how these games are made at all. Gamefreak has no mandated creative decisions imposed on them.

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u/kingdroxie Nov 22 '22

The bottom line is the team needs to expand, or the timelines need to be stretched out farther.

AAA games with this kind of scope are past the point of 2-year development cycles -- that's not realistic, at all.

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u/Barmy90 Nov 22 '22

It's the same thing with the sandwich minigame. It's so detailed, they modeled so many, like, conventional groceries, and for what? Why didn't they use that time to make the game perform adequately?

Being a software engineer, I'm surprised you think that the people who modelled the sandwiches would be the same people who would have been involved in performance optimisation, or that any improvement in one could be gained by cutting time spent on the other.

You are however close to being correct, in that the yearly release schedule is clearly pushed along by merchandising requirements and the knock-on effect of that is the games get rushed; in comparison to something like Zelda which is regularly afforded 10-year, "it will be ready when its ready" development cycles from Nintendo.

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u/Mason11987 Nov 22 '22

Could easily be both.

And if you work for a company and you’re forced to ship garbage that’s on you too.

I work for a large company - bigger than GF - and I push back on bad deadlines all the time. Everyone knows the individual devs didn’t rush this, so it’s pointless to take up against that argument that no one is making.

But Developers like this are not starving for work. If what you do is produce garbage, that’s on you too, even if you were rushed. Everyone who had a hand in it is responsible.

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u/Frescopino What do you mean "Wooper learns ice punch?" Nov 22 '22

Game Freak isn't an indie company that TPC is forcing to work, they're an equal partner in this interaction. They have the power to tell them "No, this is too much, reduce the scope" and "We don't have the workforce for this, we need more programmers/testers".

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u/Captain_EFFF Nov 22 '22

I mean in light of Pokemon being the biggest media franchise in the world that is accounting for the whole of Pokemon products.

The main games have something like a 3-4 year dev cycle and need to get released on schedule to align with the toys, plushies, apparel, tcg, anime, and the infrequent spinoff game.

The problem is the games keep getting larger in scope but the same dev cycle that they used to make 2D games for over a decade is being used to make bigger and bigger 3d games.

Not to mention that in being so protective of the Pokemon ip they don’t typically outsource for help with mainline games. And I think BDSP might have reminded them why.

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u/somethingsuperindie <3 Nov 22 '22

I'm willing to bet so many design decisions are made at the Pokemon Company level so that the new generation can be aligned across all lines of business.

Aaaand this is where you're losing anyone who's paying a modicum of attention. Gamefreak is at least a third of TPC. Yes, not the individual programmers, but Gamefreak. Gamefreak is every bit as responsible as Nintendo and Creatures for valuing holiday seasons, or new-anime-season profits over a good product. They're just as responsible for maintaining archaic Japanese developer culture. They're just as responsible for having no creative integrity and going full-on with "Well, it sells anyways.".

Yeah, of course I'm not gonna tear into the individual dev sitting at the computer modelling or writing code for the game or whatever. And I'd be willing to bet money like 95+% of consumers wouldn't, either. But Gamefreak -as a business entity - is still the management for this game along with the other TPC entities. Hell, the TPC top guy is from Creatures (and iirc, formerly from Gamefreak).

Please, please, please stop perpetuating this weird underdog mantra that Gamefreak is a tiny office that can't expand and has to meet the capitalist overlord's demands. They are willingly doing these things.

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u/Akikala Nov 21 '22

it's wild to me that the developers themselves are getting so much flak when this is obviously a product management problem

Who is blaming specifically the developers??

Everything I've seen is directed at GF as a company, not the developers specifically. Management is obviously the main reason things are the way they are, but I wouldn't be surprised if the devs also were part of the reason.

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