“In a world where Grand Theft Auto V is the best selling game ever made, we realized that your game doesn’t need to be good in order to sell.”
Those were the words that Junichi Masuda, the Director of the title, spoke to us as we sat down with him in Tokyo. We had made it very clear that we weren’t exactly happy with the way Pokemon Let’s Go was being handled, and Masuda was quick to reassure us that that was perfectly acceptable. It was, in fact, the reaction they were hoping for.
“Following the success of Pokemon Let’s Go, it became very clear to us that we needed to put out a release that would ease those players into the wider world of Pokemon.” He explained. “We wished to incorporate key features such as Battling in a way that would not be off putting to the new players. We wanted to convert these mobile players into Nintendo Switch players. The concept was easy enough… we incorporated elements from Pokemon Go into a proper Pokemon release. However, there was one major roadblock that we needed to deal with.”
That roadblock, Masuda explained, was nostalgia blinded fanboys.
“With every Pokemon release, certain fans insist that the new games aren’t anywhere near as good as the old ones.” Masuda told us. “No matter what improvements or changes we make to the formula, we are bombarded with complaints from grown adults about how our children’s games aren’t mature or sophisticated enough for them.”
These people, Masuda explained, are the driving force behind any sort of negativity lobbied at Pokemon. “It is very difficult for any player to discuss how fun these games can be online if hardcore fans keep nitpicking every aspect of the games. Such as, say, the Pokemon designs. Many non or lapsed fans genuinely feel as if there must be SOMETHING wrong with Pokemon, and are unwilling to even try the games because of that sort of negative talk. It has gone beyond people simply insisting that Red and Green are the only good ones at this point.”
We were quick to ask just what Masuda’s point was.
“In the end we decided that we needed to give these people something real to complain about.” He said. “We ripped a ton of models and assets from Pokemon Stadium 2 and planted them into Let’s Go. We simplified the movesets, trimmed down the puzzles, made beating the Champion extremely simple and not all that challenging. We wanted the reception among fans to be as poor as possible for this particular mobile audience focused release in order to lower fan’s expectations before the proper reveal of Generation VIII next year.”
This, Masuda assured us, will bring in lots of positive attention and praise to Gamefreak, Nintendo, and the Switch, drowning out any nonsense complaints from older fans who are still playing a game they should have outgrown years ago.
Time will tell whether Game Freak’s tactic will work, but until then…. I will be playing Pokemon Let’s Go, with the Pokeball accessory AND Pokemon Go app in hand.