On an episode of Waypoint Radio earlier this week, host Austin Walker claimed morale at Game Freak, the studio behind the mainline Pokemon RPGs, has been at an “all-time low” as of late following controversies and leaks associated with Pokemon Sword & Shield, which are set to launch on Switch next Friday.
While Sword & Shield are still a week away, leaks have come out breaking down which Pokemon will be appearing in the games following a major cut to the roster, which will apparently result in just around half of all current Pokemon being available. That number and the specifics of who’s made the cut hasn’t sat well with some fans, and it’s sent the internet in a frenzy that has already been fairly prominent in Pokemon communities since it was announced not every Pokemon would be part of the next generation.
But today a sizable group of fans are attempting to push back against the negativity on Twitter, and it’s created a trending tag to go with it. #ThankYouGameFreak has, as of this writing, spawned several thousands tweets of fans sharing stories of how Game Freak and Pokemon as a franchise has impacted their lives over the years, and some of it is pretty heartwarming in the face of, well… *gestures at the rest of the internet right now*.
— DodongoHateSmoke(⚔️???? THIS MONTH!!!!) (@CabooseShoes) November 9, 2019
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
— Maddie loves alola #Thankyousunandmoon (@MaddieFandoms) November 9, 2019
I don’t even know where I’d start… This franchise has been a part of my entire life, with no exaggeration. I love this game, I love my job and I’ve loved every minute that I’ve dedicated to Pokemon.
Roll on Sword & Shield. ????
— luke (@GameboyLuke) November 9, 2019
Whether Sword & Shield is any good remains to be seen, but after months of anger and hostility radiating in the comments sections and Twitter responses to every Pokemon news story or just general social media post from the official Twitter, it’s nice to see people channeling some energy into something positive.
News of the smaller selection of Pokemon in Sword & Shield came from an E3 stream back in June, which Game Freak did ultimately address in a more official capacity after fans started to react negatively online. Producer Junichi Masuda made it clear that some of the monsters who weren’t in Sword & Shield would return in future games, but that wasn’t enough for some folks, it seems.
- Pokemon Sword and Shield’s Monsters are All About Personality
- Ranking the Pokemon Starter Middle Evolutions
- Mewtwo is Basically Notorious 19th Century Poet Lord Byron
While some Pokemon won’t be making an appearance on the Switch when Sword & Shield launch next Friday, November 15, a few notable favorites like Pikachu, Eevee, Meowth, Charizard, and Butterfree have all been confirmed to return, and will also be getting new forms thanks to Gigantamax transformations. These battle-only evolutions make Pokemon turn into massive, altered versions of themselves. Pikachu’s Gigantamax form resembles his older, rounder appearance and makes Meowth the embodiment of the long cat meme. Other old critters are getting a new look too, like Ponyta, who is getting a Galarian variant (which Nintendo decided to reveal through an excruciatingly long 24-hour live stream) that looks more like a unicorn than the original’s standard horse look.
In other Sword & Shield news, Undertale developer Toby Fox has been part of the game’s development, as he announced on Twitter he’d been asked to compose a song for the games.