The cutting back of just how many Pokémon show up in a mainline game is something I’ve thought about before, and I was thinking that eventually they’d hit a point and just start including only the most popular lines up to say maybe 500-ish monsters total, and the rest would be dropped from canon. They haven’t gone as far to drop them from canon yet from what I can tell, but even just having the likes of a couple hundred maybe completely unplayable and not included is a concern.
While I am most definitely against crunch and other terrible working conditions, thus why I can wait around just fine for another Animal Crossing, the strange thing here is that they already have strangely high-poly models in prior games, so unless they’re reworking them to be even higher poly, or adding a dozen or so animations to the ones they already have, the main thing here would probably be the textures being upscaled. If the textures in the 3DS were already downscaled from higher resolution ones, I’d think they could just use the higher res ones without much issue. I know nothing about their development process, but they have made odd decisions in the past. Having such high-poly models in the 3DS games also led to the lag during battles, even if they were downscaled to some degree from the source models. Level of detail didn’t seem to be considered for an optimization.
They’re saying something about quality over quantity, but it feels more like they want a quantity of games over the quality of each one. If the whole aspect of catching everything possible wasn’t a thing, maybe this wouldn’t stand out as much. It’s also a reason of why my concerns of graphics over gameplay seem to hold consistently, if there’s a potential drop in variety of things to do for the sake of making everything look fantastic, it creeps more toward being like a movie approach. It’s also why things now have a harder time running on the Switch, not just due to the lower power of the system overall, but also because they don’t seem to want to sacrifice much of the graphics assets at all in order to get it to run, so they just resort to dynamic downscaling and such. There’s a lot of resolution in the graphics going unseen that way.
There’s also the whole aspect of making releases yearly, even if there’s multiple concurrent cycles like with Call of Duty. When games come out that frequently, it can generate a lot of burnout. This definitely applies to whatever sports games EA comes out with, even if they do something for the series like add a story mode, because it all seems to come back to the card games. It also applies to movies, as Star Wars is even going to be having a break from movies for some time, but it’ll apparently just go to TV shows instead. I’m not sure how Marvel movies are managing so many fans now in that regard, maybe it partially has something to do with there being multiple heroes to follow so it’s not always the same ones.
I’m not sure why there had to be an ULTRA version of a game that had come out just recently then, but they did that anyway instead of making a bigger game together because of how it sells. I ended up skipping that one. I also skipped Let’s Go Home since it was more just trying to bridge people from GO to the regular games in its weird ways, and I know how games work. There is a good chance I could skip this one too, as I was just waiting to see if something spectacular would come out of this. They did change up a couple of things, but I don’t know that it’s enough. I might only end up playing it if I somehow win in a giveaway.
I’m also thinking about something I don’t usually think about, sustainable game design. If new monsters or characters keep getting added to each game, if people don’t expect a break for some of the characters, then when they do disappear, it might very well be noticed. Sonic games have a lot of characters, but they don’t show up in every game. I don’t know how it is for Yo-Kai Watch, but that’s still a fairly new series, so it could end up being on-and-off for some throughout. Pokémon has generally been consistent with keeping in characters in mainline or at least the RPG types of games. The last time monsters have been left out in a game that normally includes everyone up to that point was back in one of the Mystery Dungeon games. That was noticed. Super Mystery Dungeon came out after it and had everyone again.
I do wonder if having a sprite-based Pokémon would be something that would ever be considered again, seeing how there’s all sorts of strange art styles popping up in other games. It could pretty much reflect how they want to make the games look like anime by actually making them anime. I don’t know what kind of impact this would have on development time, but it might bring more expression back to the series, unless they really do go back and rework the models to have varied expressions. I think doing that would generate a lot more development time.
Really, for a quality product to come out, I could wait a couple more years if I had to. I have a lot of games I’m playing through, older ones, and with the PC market getting weird with a certain store buying out half of the major games coming out for it, it’s at least a good time to catch up and play through the backlog. There’s also how older games can get cheap at times if I want to keep adding to that. I could actually beat several games if I stick to it from now until the new Animal Crossing.