Why Pokémon Academy Settings: Scarlet and Violet Might Work (But Maybe Not)
Why Pokémon Academy Settings: Scarlet and Violet Might Work (But Maybe Not)

Why Pokémon Academy Settings: Scarlet and Violet Might Work (But Maybe Not)

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For some time now, Pokemon has experienced a bit of an identity crisis. The series has produced mainstream entries every few years non-stop for more than two decades, but the once-tried and true formula that guarantees critical success (and a lot of money) has felt a bit stale starting with the franchise’s jump to 3D with X and Y. Frustration reached its peak with the franchise’s last major release, Sword and protectorwho received a lot of backlash for mishandling the goodwill of longtime fans. Sword and protector accused of prioritizing competitive scenes with multiple changes to the meta, lacking content due to a straightforward storyline and few post-game options, and, perhaps most notably, failing to include more than half of the franchise’s 905 total. Pokemon.

It’s been debated since Sword and protector‘s release how much of this is actually Game Freak’s fault. The Pokémon company responded to the controversy by saying that the series had accumulated too many Pokémon to properly implement each one, especially given the series’ short turnaround time for the new game. It seems like Pokemon has grown too big to satisfy anyone completely, as every fan — from die-hard fans to casual players to the young kids the game was originally intended for — all have conflicting interests when it comes to the gaming experience. It seems like Pokemonthe answer to the impossibility of their task is to catch up with modern trends, layering popular aesthetics Sword and protector which has become ubiquitous over the last few years.

The general atmosphere of Galar, the region where Sword and protector set, highly structured around sports, with the story itself mirroring the tournament arc in the sports anime. Seems like a good give Pokemoninherently competitive nature, and, in the early moments of the game, promising and even slightly exciting, the much-needed overhaul of the predictable gameplay that made this series famous. Unfortunately, the games fall into the old trap the series has always had, having a rinse and repeat gym format culminating in a fight against the champion. Despite his attempts to echo events like Haikyuu or Captain Tsubasawith high emotions and passionate players, this game feels more shallow than ever, hampered by too many unexplored ideas like open world areas and Dynamaxing.

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The greatest tragedy of Sword and protector is all wasted potential. There’s a better feel to the game in its DNA; Boss fights do feel exciting and climax, considering the enthusiastic audience reacts to the changing dynamics of the battle and the booming boss theme. But in his efforts not to stay too far from the bottom”Pokemon”, it failed to hit the beat that sports anime should have.


Sword and protectorfirst DLC, Armor Island, received some criticism for its short story, but could have been a great addition if packed into the base game. A direct reflection of the mandatory training arc, Armor Island find players training with baby Pokémon Kubfu in the Dojo and including exclusive versions of rivals. The DLC is a sad and frustrating experience due to its divorce from the main plot, instead of being a standalone side story that many players complete after completing the main game. Taken out of context, though, Armor Island is an interesting and unique story for Pokemon series, and could serve as a blueprint for how the game is structured, carefully deviating into an isolated but emotionally meaningful secondary plot.

Now we are three years out of Sword and protector, (hopefully) it’s easier to have a more measurable judgment; it was a mediocre game and a disappointment for most, of course, but more a symbol of the franchise’s increasing impracticality, which seems to have met its saturation point in terms of manpower and interest. Though Sword and protector remains the fifth best-selling Switch game to date, its reception has become synonymous with its name and could put its follow-up in a precarious position. So what’s a good trend to pursue in 2022?

Based on the trailer for the next installment so far, it looks like Game Freak is landing in a school setting, which isn’t a bad idea. Academic settings have been popular in Young Adult media for decades, particularly those that have had interest since the start of the pandemic, perfectly summarizing the years in between. Sword and protector and Scarlet and Violet. For all my doubts, recently snippet definitely sells many of the elements I’d expect from a setting like this: rogue rival squads, school traditions and events, and a colorful cast of seniors and faculty. Despite the game’s reliance on the gym’s progression system, the trailer implies there are new, non-violent tasks that players must complete to challenge each gym. Scarlet and Violet has staked much of its appeal in the true open world, a sharp increase in Sword and protectorWild Area.

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If Game Freak were smart, they would take inspiration from Fire Emblem: Three Houses and personacalendar system, which extends each game by several months to reflect the school year. Although many find this idea playful at this point (myself included), simulating the school year will address some of the gripes that are exploited in Sword and protector, namely the lack of content and short stories. Stretching the game throughout the calendar year risks making the game feel artificially extended, but allows the opportunity for some dynamic and unique events to take place across gameplay time, and can retain players. Scarlet and Violet long enough for Game Freak to roll out updates and DLC that doesn’t feel awkward to release after the game’s natural lifecycle. If Scarlet and Violet completely open to the world as Game Freak seems to market, it will also allow events to spread around the world in a logical way, preventing the world from feeling empty or undynamic. Day and night cycles can also help, allowing meetings to be defined by times that make them feel coincidental or unique.

When I think of the high school setting in anime, I think of the high stakes and social dynamics that often arise, whether it’s a melodrama from Ouran SMA High School Host Club or excessive sensation of kakegurui. This is a trope that everyone knows, and a good basis that can easily be extrapolated in almost any direction. There is enough evidence to suggest Scarlet and Violet focuses on innovation, given what we’ve seen from the new multiplayer features, auto-battle and collect, and the in-game “three stories” referenced by The Pokémon Company. Many are satisfied with the progress made Legend: Arceuswhich is now read as proof of concept for ideas reused in Scarlet and Violet.

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Despite the promise the game shows, I couldn’t shake off my initial doubts about the game. One of the three previously mentioned stories is, of course, the Pokémon League, a task that becomes increasingly tedious with each entry and even overwhelming with how simple the process is. Sword and protector. In theory, I enjoy fighting Pokemonbut many of these games require significant, weighty side content to support the more formulaic elements endemic to the series, content that must do its best to combine itself with the game’s main campaign.


Pokemon suddenly switched from a series I bought at launch to a series I might consider picking up if some of my friends recommended it. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of Pokemon is that I—and many others, as I’ve noticed—have a hard time voicing what we really want to see happen with IP. It’s far from a dead franchise, but Pokemon may soon become a series that is not supported by the original fans. Perhaps his rudest follower would do well to move on. Sometimes cute creatures just aren’t enough.





Austin Jones is a writer and perfume enthusiast. His unfiltered thoughts are available for free on Twitter @belfryfire.

Source : www.pastemagazine.com

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