So I've been thinking about the debacle that is the Sword & Shield lack of a National Dex. Looking at Game Freak's record in the past couple of years, it seems that from X/Y, GF has been pumping out Pokemon games almost yearly: X/Y in 2013, ORAS in 2014, SunMoon in 2016, USUM in 2017, Let's Go P/E in 2018, and Sw/Sh in 2019. And with their refusal to either reduce their output, focus on a product at a time (why are they doing Town alongside Pokemon, and not after??), increase their workforce or just delay the game, it seems that the series is going to go through a quick process of annualization that will affect its quality considerably. And while I do think that this mostly due to GF and The Pokemon Company's change of priorities towards the mobile market (Pokemon Go earned wayyyyy more money that any singular pokemon game, or even whole generation, ever did), I also would like to point out another possible problem that might have been hurting the series: its jump to 3D.

Now before saying anything, let me clarify that I mean the mainline title's jump. The series is in 3D since the N64, but after XY, the main series became a 3D game. And considering this jump was made decades after Super Mario 64 and Zelda Ocarina of Time, this should have been fine. And for the most part it was, but it also came alongside major corner cuts: many, many features of the previous games would either be replaced for inferior versions, or just outright taken out. XY were considered mediocre pokemon games after the huge acclaim of Black/White, Sun and Moon were even less well regarded (and USUM were practically carbon copies of those, making them the most pointless of the 3rd version out there), while Let's Go were another Kanto retread that was accepted by most people as just the apetizer before Sword/Shield. And then we heard the news. Sword Shield is going to represent the biggest example of this corner cutting, not only taking features from the previous gens, but also taking battle modes and even Pokemon themselves. I don't think this is a coincidence. The 2D style, while limiting in some ways, allowed a lot of flexibility to add more stuff. It was easier to design the world, characters, interactions, movements, enviromental effects... all while keeping a decent artstyle. Considering sprite-based games like Octopath Traveller look gorgeous, the artistic integrity and the presentation aren't necessarily affected for being 2D, while many elements of the current 3D pokemon games seem underdeveloped. Again, I don't think this is the main issue, but I do think this is an issue.

What do you think? Do you think jumping into 3D was a mistake, or do you think this would have happened regardless or 2D/3D? And, if going back to 2D guaranteed the integrity of the National Dex, would you accept reverting to sprites?

You know it deserves the GOTY.

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