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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - What is up with Game Freak?

Game Freak, developers of the popular Pokemon series is one of the most famous and talented developers in the industry. They're also one of the most frustrating developers in the industry. Not because they're greedy or evil, but because they seem hell bent on living in the past. For a while, Game Freak was one of the very few developers that hadn't yet fully moved on to modern resolutions, as most of their titles this generation were predomedently on the 3DS, including its flagship. Even there, they struggled. When they moved to full 3D with the Pokemon series, the 3DS entries were plagued with performance issues, including massive frame-rate drops even when there isn't a lot happening. Considering how many other 3DS games with more going on didn't suffer those issues, that says more about Game Freak than the system. I won't get into the heavy handed tutorialization of those games since I always viewed Pokemon as primarily a multiplayer series, but I can understand the complaints if you were looking for a single player experience.

Now we get to the Nintendo Switch. Game Freak is now, whether they like it or not, forced to adopt modern resolutions, including 1080p support thanks to the Switch being both a handheld AND a home console. Their first strike was Pokemon Let's Go! Pikachu and Evee. A solid new side series in the main pantheon, but with a development team of 100 people, 2 year development time, with graphics that aren't much better than the 3DS games that's STILL plagued with performance drops. You get the sense that something is wrong with the Pokemon team there. I get moving to HD resolutions is hard at first, and 100 man teams wouldn't be unusually for a graphically intense AAA project, but for a Pokemon game with graphics that look THAT simple, that's a massive red flag in my eyes. And then there's Sword and Shield, which is already plagued with controversies. First off, only Pokemon that appear in Sword and Shield can be transfered from previous games, meaning that hundreds of Pokemon from previous entries can't be transferred. Game Freak's reasoning was due to hardware limitations and time constraints. I don't know how true that is, but nevertheless, it shows just how inefficient Game Freak is as a developer. 100+ people, toiling away at a game that still looks like an upresed 3DS title (Seriously, I've seen low budget indie games look better than this). There's something wrong here.

What's strange is that, None of these problems plague Game Freak's non-Pokemon titles. Those games have solid performance, good visuals, and are made with smaller teams, even on systems with HD resolutions. So either the Pokemon team is that incompetent, or Game Freak doesn't care. Game Freak is very talented studio, and even at their worst, they still make decent games. But the Pokemon team really needs to get its shit together if it wants to survive in the Switch era. That starts with retiring the aging 3DS engine. No wonder these games are taking this long to make, they're still using an engine designed for a platform rendering things at 240p, no shit it's going to be harder. Either make a new engine designed with the Switch in mind, or just license Unreal or Unity. Seriously, it'd save you a lot of time and money in the future.



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Game freak makes other games? I'm not trying to joke here, I honestly have no idea what their other games.



SwitchUP said:
Game freak makes other games? I'm not trying to joke here, I honestly have no idea what their other games.

They have smaller teams that make indie-scale titles in-between making Pokemon. They made games like Drill Dozer, Tembo, Pocket Card Jockey, Harmonight, and have Little Town Hero coming next month. They're certainly a creative studio, but the Pokemon team is just incompetent as hell.



TheMisterManGuy said:
SwitchUP said:
Game freak makes other games? I'm not trying to joke here, I honestly have no idea what their other games.

They have smaller teams that make indie-scale titles in-between making Pokemon. They made games like Drill Dozer, Tembo, Pocket Card Jockey, Harmonight, and have Little Town Hero coming next month. They're certainly a creative studio, but the Pokemon team is just incompetent as hell.

Even Pokémon itself is an indie scale title as far as production values go.



Sarkar said:
TheMisterManGuy said:

They have smaller teams that make indie-scale titles in-between making Pokemon. They made games like Drill Dozer, Tembo, Pocket Card Jockey, Harmonight, and have Little Town Hero coming next month. They're certainly a creative studio, but the Pokemon team is just incompetent as hell.

Even Pokémon itself is an indie scale title as far as production values go.

Not really. Let's Go! had a development team of over 100 people and a 2 year development cycle, Sword and Shield had a 4 year development cycle, with possibly more staff. The games don't really reflect this, because Game Freak has routinely proven they can't make a AAA game in 2019 if their lives depended on it. That's why the Pokemon games have such bloated team sizes and dev times for the games they are. Nothing unusual with 100+ team sizes in modern AAA games, but the presentation should reflect that. Game Freak, at least the Pokemon team, is just bad at large scale game development.



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They got lazy because people buy their games regardless of the quality or lack of innovation, I have never understood how they get away with selling each of their Pokémon games twice, but then again I have never understood the Pokémon mania, maybe someday I will give the Pokémon games a second chance.



gamingsoul said:
They got lazy because people buy their games regardless of the quality or lack of innovation, I have never understood how they get away with selling each of their Pokémon games twice, but then again I have never understood the Pokémon mania, maybe someday I will give the Pokémon games a second chance.

Pokemon games are sold in pairs because the entire point of the series, is collecting and trading with other users. Ergo, make two games each with exclusive Pokemon, and you have a way to force the player to trade if they want to get them all. It's also why the series was Handheld only for so long. It's easy to trade with a portable Game Boy or DS. But you can't lug a Gamecube or Wii out to the park.



TheMisterManGuy said:
gamingsoul said:
They got lazy because people buy their games regardless of the quality or lack of innovation, I have never understood how they get away with selling each of their Pokémon games twice, but then again I have never understood the Pokémon mania, maybe someday I will give the Pokémon games a second chance.

Pokemon games are sold in pairs because the entire point of the series, is collecting and trading with other users. Ergo, make two games each with exclusive Pokemon, and you have a way to force the player to trade if they want to get them all. It's also why the series was Handheld only for so long. It's easy to trade with a portable Game Boy or DS. But you can't lug a Gamecube or Wii out to the park.

Gotta catch them all with your wallet, I just don’t get this, people either have too much extra cash or they are easy to manipulate into buying things they don’t need.



gamingsoul said:

Gotta catch them all with your wallet, I just don’t get this, people either have too much extra cash or they are easy to manipulate into buying things they don’t need.

Most people only buy one of the two versions anyway, so it doesn't bother many people. Besides, it's a practice that's worked for 20 years now, why change what isn't broken?



TheMisterManGuy said:

What's strange is that, None of these problems plague Game Freak's non-Pokemon titles. Those games have solid performance, good visuals, and are made with smaller teams, even on systems with HD resolutions. So either the Pokemon team is that incompetent, or Game Freak doesn't care.

They don't care. They've said as much themselves in an interview, that their B team is developing Pokémon right now.

...

...Yeah.