There has been a lot of backlash responding to the recently announced cuts made to the national dex in Pokémon Sword and Shield– and rightly so. It is famously "Gotta catch 'em all' not 'Gotta catch some of 'em, and many long-standing favorites didn't make the cut. But, as with any viewpoint, there is an alternative stance. Counter-backlash has arisen in the form of #ThankYouGameFreak, which is wonderful. Game Freak should get recognition for the hundreds of beloved Pokémon they have put forth, as well as all the years of memories. While many on both sides of this divide are able to uphold their views respectfully, some have resorted to slander and worse which just isn't okay.
You Can Criticize Out Of Love
The #ThankYouGameFreak support has grounds for its stance just as #BringBackNationaldex is right in wanting to preserve generations of Pokémon. What's not cool is #ThankYouGameFreak supporters framing their stance in argumentative lights such as "Fans Fight Negativity" and so forth. Nationaldéx supporters are not necessarily being negative for wanting to remain loyal to decades worth of content.
People who use "negative," "toxic," and "childish" are missing the point behind #ThankYouGameFreak. The hashtag movement should be used to pay ode to the many cherished memories and experiences Game Freak has made possible within the Pokémon franchise throughout the years; not to tear-down others for their loyalty to the origins.
It is entirely possible to love something while simultaneously wanting it to continue getting better. #BringBackNationaldex supporters are avid fans of the series. Many of them started their journeys off with Ash Ketchem as he left Pallet town over twenty years ago. These long-time loyalists love the series, wanting nothing more than to see it grow and flourish. For them, seeing half the dear friends they've grown up with and several moves they've come to rely upon cut out is absolutely gut-wrenching. It pours salt in people's wounds for Game Freak to do this just to make way for features like Gigantamaxing; a literally oversized and lamer version of Mega Evolutions.
#ThankYouGameFreak has merit in paying homage to what once was while looking forward to what is to come. However, it is not right of some supporters to discredit others in wanting the game to advance and actually take advantage of its new platform.
Another factor to keep in mind is that Pokémon Sword and Shield – being the first console-rendered games in mainline Pokémon – will be a hefty $20 more than the previous main series installments. It seems hard to justify that $60 price tag when so much content has been forfeited. Not only does it look like there will be significantly fewer characters within the new console games, but the mechanical advancements are grievously disappointing.
Despite the benefits of being on a home console, Sword and Shield are still apparently locked at 30fps which is the same as past handheld titles. Even more infuriating, the frame rate is tied to the game speed, so savvy Trainers cannot increase the fps without running the game in fast forward. The graphics and animations are also not significantly better than recent generations on the 3DS. This is extremely aggravating news for a lot of fans. What else are the developers doing with console capabilities if not having a field day with the frills and thrills?
Just gonna leave this here pic.twitter.com/ihydicncmO— Jelani Thompson (@j_yabish) November 12, 2019
The most perplexing fact of all is no major game-changing features have been added to warrant the significant amount of cuts that have been made. Yes, it was possible to incorporate the Gigantamax feature without sacrificing half of the Pokémon on the roster. Fans could've had their pie and ate it too. In fact, Game Freak effectively passed up several opportunities presented by releasing the next main series game on console. This explains why some fans who wanted to see the game flourish are so enraged.
Things Can Get Out Of Hand
When matters of passion and loyalties are involved, people have a tendency to take things to the extreme. While many #BringBackNationaldex supporters have the best intentions in rallying for the livelihood of their beloved series, it is true some fans have reacted incredibly immaturely. Personal attacks and especially death threats on social media are never okay. Acts of hate are not the way to demonstrate immense amounts of love held for any cause. Surely they are not how one advocates for the wellbeing and prosperity of said cause either. There is no room for that kind of behavior in as positive a world as the one shared with Pokémon. Still, it is possible to separate the whiners and aggressors from those who have legitimate grievances about their favorite game franchise.
There's no debating the fact that many Pokémon will be sorely missed in Sword and Shield. Some long-beloved friends seem to have left the game, possibly for good as confirmed by Junichi Masuda. This is understandably heartbreaking to some long-time fans who've lived by the catchphrase "Gotta catch 'em all" for over twenty years. As upsetting as this news is, it is still no call for violence or slandering on either side of the spectrum. Pokémon fans should rejoice in the time spent in-game with their virtual friends, recount the countless memories, and vote with their wallets if they really want to make things right. Above all fans shouldn't stand divided, but rather unite in their shared love for the hundreds of creatures that form the history of the Pokémon series.