Looking at the underwhelming ratings and various compilations of technical horrors that surfaced, many assumed that Pokémon Scarlet and Violet could represent the end of an era for Game Freak and a warning to start developing the chapters of the series with greater care. Then the sales figures arrived and everyone fell from the clouds: 10+ million copies sold, with numbers yet to be specified, within 3 days. A milestone that ridicules Sony’s mega-blockbuster, God of War Ragnarok, which also set the record for fastest-selling PlayStation exclusive, clearly doubled by a game with a 75 Metascore. This tells us at least a couple of things: the first is that critical evaluations count for little or nothing with regard to franchises already established on the market, the second is that Game Freak appears to have every reason in the world, in the light of these data , and is unlikely to change its modus operandi to “improve” its games.
It must also be said that Pokémon is not a video game but a real “system” and that its successes are above all thanks to the perfect organization of The Pokémon Company. Game Freak titles come in tow of a well oiled and running machine which starts from the collectible card game and crosses the various multimedia initiatives. However, they are an indispensable element of this, we are not mistaken: the chapters of the Game Boy era have cemented the success of the game in an irremovable way, but now it is a machine that goes on thanks to the whole complex system set up. Also for this reason it is unlikely that Game Freak will be able to significantly change its way of developing games: it must maintain a pace that is unsustainable for any team, even of larger dimensions, let alone if it were to adopt a production level comparable to the big current triple A.
In fact, the problems and general technical backwardness of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet do not derive from an alleged laziness of Game Freak nor from the low power of Nintendo Switch, as often emerges from the comments. It is a team of about 170 elements that finds itself releasing practically one game a year, lately even more given the introduction of spin-offs such as the recent Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
Only with an organization similar to the one adopted by Activision Blizzard for Call of Duty would it be possible to maintain such a pace to release titles of enormous caliber from the point of view of technical quality, or with a rotation of 3-4 teams totally at work on the series, each of them the size of Game Freak herself. This makes us understand how it is impossible to reach these levels and how it is likely, as we have seen with Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, that the games can come out with some problems.
take more time between chapters it would be practically impossible: the “Pokémon machine” is organized in such a way as to always offer new contents in all its market segments and these must necessarily be coordinated: the arrival of the new video game presents the new setting with relative Pokédex, it is updated the Trading Card Game and new animated series or movies are released. It is not even so important that higher quality levels are reached from a technical point of view, in fact: the major work that is carried out for the series lies above all in the conceptual and design planning of the new creatures and related settings, something that in fact goes beyond much of the technical work of the software house. So far, we have seen the most important evolutions with the arrival of Nintendo Switch and the transition of the series to a 3D representation, so it is as if we were still at the beginning of the journey.
In any case, at the end of the day what counts are the results on the market and if these continue to break record after record for 25 years now – moreover with limited costs and superhuman timescales – it is very unlikely that we can meet a change, even in the face of a Nintendo Switch Pro or a generational replacement.
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