Despite the bugs, everyone plays Pokémon Scarlet & Violet

Me and my Sprigatito at the beginning of Pokémon Scarlet.

Screenshot: Nintendo/Kotaku

There are games that will sell anyway. Grand Theft Auto VI could be released in such a broken state it kills your first born, and it would still sell a billion copies on day one. Breath of the Wild 2 could come with anthrax, and people would buy two copies each. So it doesn’t matter what condition Pokémon Scarlet and purple (PSV) was released in, it was guaranteed to do extremely well. That it’s so badly, badly broken is devastating, but would never significantly affect inevitable sales. What’s more interesting is how the majority enjoys it anyway.

I know I am.

Only UK figures are just herebut show it PSV to be the second best selling pokemon game of all time, beaten only by the 3DSs Sun and Moon. In fact, it could be much bigger as these are just boxed sales figures as Nintendo does not release any download data. Scarlet and purple could easily earn the highest opening week numbers for the franchise, despite being the most unfinished pokemon to date.

So why? Well, there are many factors that come into play here. But I think it comes down to a combination of hype, nostalgia, and the fact that as much as we like to complain, people are willing to play broken games.

Stalker Nemona is preparing for terastalization.

Screenshot: Nintendo/Kotaku

pokemon unequivocally benefits from one of the hardest things to establish well in gaming: a formula. (That’s the polite way of putting it formally.) Like Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Smash Bros., or many other successful franchises, audiences are looking for the game patterns they already know, but perhaps with incremental improvements. People want what’s familiar, nostalgic even, but also with enough innovation that it feels so-slightly different from the last. And while many will protest, want to make huge progress, and probably quote BOTW above previous Zelda incarnations, they would also be absolutely furious if Tears of the Kingdom turned out to be vastly different from its predecessor.

While PSV possibly promoted as a dramatic shift from Sword and Shield– the arrival of an open world, with three times the storylines to explore, and you can even shuffle the gyms – the reality is that when we watched the trailers it looked just familiar enough to pre- order. You would buy it anyway, right? Why don’t you get that bonus item? Look, there are Psyducks! Nintendo’s limiting reviews to the day before release (to sites they thought were good enough to review, of course) certainly didn’t help, making it very difficult for any outlet to communicate to readers or viewers how broken this was. game is.

Read more: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet players are trying to get a refund

Of course, we in the gaming press glorify ourselves for even imagining that our words about a game series as mainstream as this one could materially affect sales. Never mind that it will only be a fraction of people who will change their minds not buy a game after seeing negative reviews. As those early sales figures show, the widespread coverage of the game’s serious problems has made absolutely no dent in its popularity.

Well, that’s pre-purchase enthusiasm, but what about after people start playing? Well, again, niche groups are in danger of thinking they are much more representative of the general population than they actually are, and in this case it is the public outraged who are deluding themselves.

A feast of coffee.

Screenshot: Nintendo/Kotaku

Yesterday, I wrote about how much fun I was playing Pokémon Scarlet in cooperative. Know how a Kotaku commenter would respond immediately, I’ve heavily reserved the article with disclaimers that, yes, it certainly wasn’t released in a good enough condition. I said it because I believe it – it’s not OK for a publisher the size of Nintendo to release a $60 AAA game knowing it’s playing like a beta. They knew what condition it was in, but they also knew a pokemon release date can’t be missed, due to the ridiculous number of dominoes that would topple over a multi-billion dollar franchise. And people who read a specialized gambling site like this are absolutely right to be upset about that. It’s just, they also tend to think they’re in the majority, and their righteousness is representative. So much so that despite tripping over myself in acknowledging it, commenters still felt the need to indignantly inform me that the game is unacceptably broken, and this moral corruption is driving the game’s demise.

But I bet they are still playing. I bet they’re furious, but still want their Koraidon to be able to climb walls, so they’ll just do that one other Titan battle. Yes, there are a few looking for refundsbut the real majority carry on in spite of everything, except without becoming enraged as they do it.

It also seems very likely that the amount of attention drawn to the game is due to its more and more funny bugs and glitches might help too. Sure, you’re watching a clip of someone falling through the floor, but you’re also reminded that this new pokemon game exists. And apart from that bit where the man fell through the floor, it’s bright and colorful and full of cute, adorable creatures!

But perhaps more than anything, the truth is, you can play the game. It automatically saves continuously, and while absolutely unforgivable, hard crashes are the rarest of problems in the game. I’ve run into so many stupid issues with the game, but the sincerest response I usually have is to show my son so we can laugh at how stupid it looks, or him to me. And then we move on to having fun with the game.

A beautiful sunset in Pokémon Scarlet.

Screenshot: Nintendo/Kotaku

I’m way more furious about how the game is wasting Poké Balls by refusing to capture lower level creatures with a fraction of the health left, than I am, because every time I’m on a ramp, the game shows me his underwear . My patience is tested every time the game tells me that a Pokémon is sleeping, then tells me again for no reason that the Pokémon is sleeping, then immediately tells me that the Pokémon didn’t do anything because it is sleeping, before I get another one. can take lactating turn. It hasn’t been nearly as tested by the disappearance of my Koraidon, so it looks like I’m floating above the ground.

As a games critic, I’m amazed Pokémon Scarlet and purple‘s janky release, and will be happy to warn people about it until it’s restored in high heaven. As an enthusiast, I play it in small time windows, trying to fill my Pokédex, buy new hats, and get excited when my team of Pokémon evolves. It’s definitely not good enough, both in terms of its technical awfulness and lack of ambition beyond a wider range. If I were to write a review it would be one of those irritating reviews where I list in great detail everything I think Game Freak should have done better, then add that I have a lot of fun playing it.

The pokemon games have a hook, and it’s a good one. There’s a reason why it’s one of the most successful game franchises in the world, surviving in its core game loop for over 25 years, and continuing to do so despite the complaints of a loud minority with each new release. That minority is most likely right, but what the success of the series shows is that being right doesn’t mean much to this juggernaut. And, you know, a juggernaut you bought and play despite everything.


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