Pokemon Games Could Be Exceptional By Now If Game Freak Didn’t Have A History Of Scrapping Its New Additions

By now, expectations for Pokemon fans are typically on the minimal side. It’s not that they don’t expect a fun game—they do. But they’ve gotten so used to Game Freak following not just the same formula, but the same lack of dedication to building upon its games. What do I mean by this? Aside from Game Freak refusing to add difficulty settings into the mix, the company has also neglected to greatly improve upon its graphics (when you look at Breath of the Wild as a comparison, for example) or create a more involved overworld that’s more focused on exploration. The list of things that Game Freak could implement into a new Pokemon game, yet choose not to, is overwhelming. And it’s not like a lot of these qualities would make the game feel less like a true Pokemon game—they would only enhance upon the great content already there.

But honestly, this is about more than just a random list of stuff that Game Freak has refused to pick up on, because Game Freak has actually introduced a lot of new and fun concepts over generations of games… only to dump them shortly after.

It seems to me that the bigger problem Game Freak has is introducing cool new features and then leaving them in the dust afterward instead of actually developing the content more and adding to it as games continue to get released. Dynamaxing was introduced with Pokemon Sword and Shield, but don’t get too attached to it because it probably won’t stick around either. According to Nintendo Everything, when Pokemon Sword and Shield director Shigeru Ohmori, Metro was asking about whether or not Dynamaxing was going to return after Sword and Shield, he said, “At Game Freak, it really just comes from our desire to surprise the players with new gameplay. Not to do the exact same thing every time but have a new twist on something, that keeps people surprised and enjoying the new style of gameplay.”

While keeping things fresh is great, there’s definitely a good balance between scrapping every new concept game-to-game and repeating the same content over and over again. I mean, considering they actually do keep relatively the same plot for every game (start Pokemon journey, collect gym badges, face the Elites), I can hardly imagine they would consider it a crime to build upon some of the other same features from past games. People are still extremely into Pokemon, so I think it’s safe to say they’re okay with some form of consistency.

If we look back at the history that Game Freak has of introducing new features only to abandon them on the side of the road after, it’s pretty clear that this has become a trademark move. The following are some examples of abandoned features that were enjoyed by many and Game Freak had no problem removing:

  • Z-moves
  • Pokemon contests
  • Primal and mega evolutions
  • Pokemon following
  • Online system from gen 6
  • Battle frontier
  • Rotation and triple battles

Any of these features could have been carried over and built upon in the newer games, but instead, they’re distant (or not so distant) memories. Considering all the directions Game Freak could go with the battle frontier and rotation and triple battles, for example, I don’t think it would have been too difficult for these to have stuck around without making the gameplay stale, as the company claims it wants to avoid.

In short, Game Freak, if your goal is to keep content new and exciting, that would be better achieved by adding new and exciting features to ones that exist already rather than cycling through a whole host of different gameplay features just to abandon them. I guarantee you, if you work on making some of the content that you already have more in-depth and exhilarating, that will please fans much more than leaving some of their favorite characteristics behind in favor of new stuff that will only be around briefly.

Next: Why Digimon Never Became As Big As Pokemon: It’s Not Just That Pokemon Came First

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Stephanie is an Editor at TheGamer, solidly aligned chaotic neutral. Though her favorite game is Fire Emblem: Three Houses, she vows to do everything in her power to one day see a Legend of Dragoon remake. Absolutely nothing can top her immense love for The Lord of the Rings.

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