With the newest entries in the Pokémon franchise – Sword and Shield – launching this week, yet another controversy has hit in the form of #GameFreakLied.
This hashtag, which is trending in many countries at the moment, focuses on the apparent reuse of Pokémon models from previous games in Sword and Shield.
Reuse of assets from previous titles is the norm in game development and this isn’t the issue here. The problem, according to many fans, is how developer Game Freak apparently lied about the topic.
A now infamous interview in Japanese publication Famitsu (partially translated here) made the claim that all the Pokémon models for Sword and Shield were made from scratch. This effort on the part of the developer was offered as something of an excuse to explain why not all Pokémon would be returning in the new games.
The fact that not every Pokémon would be available was met with outrage. As a franchise with collection as core tenet of its formula, this did not sit well with most fans.
Now, in the past day or so, those with early access to the game have begun to dig into the code, especially the much discussed models. By comparing these models and looking closely at their meshes, it seems that they may have been reused after all.
We have to offer some defence for Game Freak in the matter of fairness here. There is some argument over the exact translations of the much quoted interview, the models and meshes people have been parading may not be real, and there’s no way to confirm anything until the games release publicly on 15th November.
TL;DR through a translation of an interview key members of Pokémon developer Game Freak apparently made the claim that all the models were remade from scratch for the new games, and this is part of the reason why you can’t actually catch ’em all in Sword and Shield. Through early leaks of the game and some data mining, people have provided some convincing proof that this is a lie.
At this point we’d love to provide some example of the comparisons people have been making between the models of Sword and Shield, compared to previous games. Game Freak and Nintendo, however, have been particularly litigious around leaks this generation so instead we’re going to point you to @Blazingflare on Twitter.
This modder has been cited in many of the #GameFreakLied conversations and their work comparing the models is rather convincing. You can see one example from them in the header image above for Tyranitar.
We also encourage you to look at the #GameFreakLied conversations to see more examples and to make your mind up for yourself. Just keep in mind that there’s a lot of vitriol and emotionally-charged discussion there.