Pokemon Scarlet & Violet announced just weeks after the release of Pokemon Legends: Arceus surprised me and many others.
The steady release schedule of a main series title followed by a successor to Legends seems to have been cemented, allowing Game Freak to continually explore its ambitious open-world formula without giving up the dual titles it has specialized in. for decades. This makes perfect sense, offering two quite distinct versions of the wildly popular franchise that each have room for rampant experimentation.
Still, I can’t help but feel that the established development pipeline is a little tight, giving each new game a production time of around two years to continually repeat itself with new mechanics and worthwhile ideas that make advance the series. As we’ve seen many times throughout the story, Pokemon depends on a familiar introduction of new creatures alongside a themed region that all inspire creativity and feel completely new, but the foundations on which they’re built. rest are always the same.
It’s not until late 2022, but watching the first trailer I can already tell how Scarlet & Violet will play in terms of combat and exploration, building on the basics of Sword & Shield at instead of trying something new. And that’s okay, if anything, Sword & Shield felt like Game Freak was still having some startup issues as it first developed a duo of mainline titles on a home console, its wearable origins proving crystal clear in almost every aspect of its design.
Scarlet & Violet could see this vision reach its full potential for the first time, delivering a more cohesive open world with nuanced culture to discover while expanding the wilderness into much more than poorly textured fields the majority of us sprint to advance the main story. Although the finalists roamed the Sword & Shield Wild Area in search of shiny Pokemon and experience points, to me it was a bland reminder of just how much this game could be with the right amount of care. and attention. Instead, it felt like baby’s first open-world game and not much else, ugly in presentation and overly simplistic in gameplay.
Sword & Shield has had its issues, and if Scarlet & Violet is just looking to fill those gaps while keeping the split release format, then I’ll have no complaints, but I wish Game Freak had more time to polish each new one. game. Two years isn’t a long time to curate an ambitious RPG, even as predictable as Pokemon, and that lack of development time is clear with its unimaginative environments, introduction of unnecessary gimmicks, and a fan base. who continues to wish for some form of permanent evolution.
Every time we see a spark of change – like Legends: Arceus – we’re brought back to Earth long before it could ever go anywhere. Knowing that Legends isn’t the main series moving forward, but rather a side project that’s also being run by Game Freak, I can’t help but think that as it moves forward we’ll be watching mainstream releases with disdain, wishing they picked up the slack or moved in a new direction instead of sitting idly by the same principles just because they sell millions of copies by the namesake alone.
I’m a depresser, these are kids games after all, but I’m sure even Game Freak would appreciate some extra development time to play around with new ideas and tweak things to a clean finish. Pokemon isn’t a niche indie game, it’s the biggest franchise on the planet, so it can surely justify a little extra time in the oven to improve its overall image instead of sticking to a release schedule that doesn’t serves only to damage his general classification. Its visuals aren’t a tech thing, the Switch has countless games that look and feel fantastic, so Pokemon coming out with open world environments that wouldn’t be askew on the Nintendo 64 creates an image that we really shouldn’t be overlooked just because it’s Pokemon.
I want it to get better, I want this world to blow me away, and I want Game Freak to reach its full potential even if that means waiting longer for each new game. Arceus is released weeks ago, and now the hype cycle for a new generation has already begun. I could be wrong later this year as Scarlet & Violet changes the game forever, but it probably won’t, and we’ll fall into the same predictable cycle where innovation is robbed of a series that would have so much to give with enough resources and time. I can’t wait for Scarlet & Violet, but I wish I wasn’t so confident about what to expect from a property that should be anything but predictable.
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