Pokémon Sword & Shield has come under fire for some questionable decisions and a new one could be thrown on the pile, as a leak suggests that part of the options menu is tied to a background NPC.
Pokémon Sword & Shield have been criticized by fans for not including every Pokémon in the series, as Junichi Masuda revealed at E3 2019 that only Pokémon that could be found in the Galar region would appear in the game. It was also revealed that Mega Evolutions and Z-Moves would not be returning in Pokémon Sword & Shield. The recent leaks for the game have revealed that lots of moves have been cut from Pokémon Sword & Shield and it's looking likely that some of the online features from the previous games are gone.
One of the strangest design choices in Pokémon Sword & Shield has been discovered by a Twitter user named thatdude433, who is uploading information from a leaked version of the games. It seems that the player cannot adjust the volume through the in-game options without first acquiring an item called the Hi-tech Earbuds from an NPC in the town of Motostoke. There is nothing about the NPC to indicate that he is of any importance and it would be easy for the player to miss him if they didn't go out of their way to talk to everyone they encounter, potentially missing the item.
also something that was totally baffling to me was that the sound control settings were locked behind a key item. This key item is obtained from a random totally optional NPC. So if you want sound control, find this guy in Motostoke. #SWSHLeak pic.twitter.com/PTwqvOrQsl— TD (@thatdude433) November 12, 2019
The ability to adjust options to the player's liking is something that usually doesn't need to be thought about, as it's such an obvious inclusion that no one would think to mess around with it. Sound options are something that most players will use at least once, especially those who prefer to listen to outside music instead of in-game soundtracks.
Game Freak has come under fire for some of the cuts made to Pokémon Sword & Shield, but it's hard to defend such a strange choice as hiding major options in a place where the player could miss them. It might have made more sense to give the item to a vital NPC that couldn't be missed, such as a Gym Leader, and it would have made even more sense to not put them in an item at all.
Pokémon Sword & Shield will be released for the Nintendo Switch on November 15, 2019.