Japanese Pokémon fans have turned a hashtag thanking the creators of the franchise's games into something far less flattering.
The release of Pokémon Sword & Shield is now just days away, which means the controversy surrounding the slimming down of its Pokédex is pretty much at a fever pitch. That has been helped along by the fact that leaks, which have surfaced over the course of the past week or so, have revealed the extent to which the National Dex has been cut.
Suffice to say, fans aren't happy. Well, actually, some fans are. In light of Pokémon game developers Game Freak being bombarded with complaints (and even death threats) from angry trainers, others have decided to see the good in what the company has given us for more than 20 years. That has been done via a #ThankYouGameFreak hashtag, which is being used to let gamers share their fondest Pokémon game memories.
I wanted to see if I could start a #ThankYouGameFreak trend. #ThankYouGamefreak for creating the games that got me through all the tough times in my childhood. I know times are rough, but there are still fans that love what you do. Spread if you appreciate what Gamefreak does.— MysticUmbreon#GoldenDeer (@MysticUmbreon94) November 9, 2019
As is often the case with social media, especially Twitter, for every good thing that happens, there are ten bad things right there with it. In this instance, Japanese Pokémon fans have taken the above hashtag and tweaked it to #F**kYouGameFreak instead, without the courtesy of the asterisks so be warned should you click the link, it does contain language some people may find offensive.
世界中から沢山のお返事ありがとうございます！とてもビックリしています！— 大森滋 @ポケモン剣盾2019年冬発売！ (@Shigeru_Ohmori) November 10, 2019
I'm happy for everyone's reply. Thank you very much!#ThankYouGameFreak
The #ThankYouGameFreak hashtag has been doing the rounds for a few days. It appears to be Sword and Shield director Shigeru Ohmori retweeting posts that have used it, which really pushed Japanese fans buttons. Ohmori and Junichi Masuda, the lead producer on most of Game Freak's Pokémon games, were also supposed to appear at a Sword and Shield launch event in Japan, but the event was canceled due to "operational reasons."
At this point in time, just four days before the release of Sword and Shield, it probably looks pretty bad for people like Ohmori, and the other developers who are on the outside looking in. However, some solace should be taken from the success of the #ThankYouGameFreak hashtag. As always when it comes to social media, the negative voices always seem to be so much louder than the positive ones.