We’ll start with the game release dates themselves, since that’s completely factual. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, the long awaited remakes of Diamond and Pearl, were first announced alongside Legends: Arceus, on February 27th, 2021. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl were released later that year on November 19th, in time for the holiday season, with Legends itself coming out only a little over two months later, on January 28th, 2022. Having these game releases so close together struck me as an odd decision at the time, and it only got weirder from there. Less than a month after Legends: Arceus released, on Pokémon Day 2022, the first Generation IX Pokémon titles were announced, Scarlet and Violet. These were subsequently released on November 18th that very same year, again as a holiday season title.
With all the hype and the excitement of a brand new generation of Pokémon, with a brand new region and what was being billed as the franchise's first truly open world experience, many fans eagerly began playing the Paldean Pokémon games on release day, and it wasn’t long before the disappointment followed.
Let’s start with the literal game crashes that would occur randomly when this game was first released. I experienced one of these random crashes myself 10 hours into my 14 hour Thanksgiving Day stream, during Bulbagarden’s weeklong coverage of the Scarlet and Violet launch. Fortunately, I had heard about the game crashes and had autosave setup, so I only lost a few minutes of progress. The fact that this was such a widespread issue, and there was no way to predict when a game crash would occur was decidedly problematic. Now, I won’t gaslight and say that this was the only time a Pokémon game was released with game crashes being a widespread issue. When X and Y were released, they had the game crashing glitch that occurred if you saved in Lumiose City. The difference between these scenarios is threefold. One: there was a specific cause of the game crash that could be easily avoided. Two: the issue was not as widespread. While the game had a chance of crashing if you saved on North or South boulevard in Lumiose City, it was not a guaranteed game crash. In the case of Scarlet and Violet, the game would crash for seemingly no reason, and it was an issue that was experienced far more broadly than the X and Y crashes. Three: The issue was quickly acknowledged and patched in Version 1.1, which came out on October 25th, 2013, less than 2 weeks after X and Y launched on October 12th. While Scarlet and Violet got their first post-release patch on December 1st, 2022, with Version 1.1.0, these random crashes weren't actually resolved until the release of Version 1.2.0 on February 27th, 2023.
The underlying problem is the disconnect between the development time for HOME connectivity, and the rushed pace at which the games are released. I don’t think that it’s a controversial opinion or a “hot take” to suggest that Scarlet and Violet really needed an extra year of development time, and should have been announced and released this year, in 2023, as opposed to the end of 2022, and that there was literally no reason for Legends to be released so quickly after BDSP. Being fair to Legends, it is in much better condition than Scarlet Violet (though, honestly, that is a very low bar), but there are still some performance issues and graphical problems that could have benefitted from another 6+ months of polishing.
Now, I will preface this by saying that I am not a Marketing Expert (that's more Archaic's thing), but to me, a much more reasonable timeline of game releases would have been with BDSP coming out exactly when they did in 2021, and then, building off the Sinnoh hype that would theoretically, have been generated from highly anticipated and well received Gen 4 remakes, announce Legends a couple months later on Pokémon Day, as the end of year release for 2022. This way, Legends wouldn’t necessarily cut into sales of BDSP, and BDSP disappointment may not have had as significant of an impact on Legends’ sales. As it is, with Legends coming out November 2022, they could have perhaps taken some development resources from that title in 2021 and given them over to BDSP, which might have allowed them to incorporate some of the features from Pokémon Platinum that fans had been expecting, or perhaps something along the lines of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire's Delta Episode. Scarlet and Violet then could have been announced on Pokémon Day 2023, and have them come out at the end of this year.
Even beyond the release date, there have been many problems with these games. Already mentioned were the botched Tera Raid events as well as the flubbed HOME connectivity. But there are issues that have yet to be fixed, even 8+ months later. I’m not talking about graphical issues, or even the overall poor performance of the games. Heck, I’m not even talking about the major lag and other issues surrounding online Tera Raid battles, though, believe me, I will talk about Tera Raid battles and Terastalizing in great detail in a future article. I’m talking about basic gamebreaking issues that should have been noticed and fixed during a Beta test of the game, assuming that the game even had time to be Beta tested. As of the last time I played Violet, there were still issues with mass outbreaks where the game would claim there was an ongoing mass outbreak on the map, but you would arrive, and there would be no outbreak. For me, the most recent incident of this was an alleged Glimmlet outbreak near Alfornada/The Leaking Tower of Paldea. I arrived at the location specified on the map, but no Glimmlet were there, despite the on screen notice claiming there were, and I did spend time looking around just to make sure I wasn’t missing them. Furthermore, Pokémon continue to spawn in walls or cliffs or otherwise “out of bounds” locations. In particular, this is incredibly detrimental during mass outbreaks or sandwich powers, where having Pokémon spawning in areas that people can’t even see means that it’s entirely possible to miss shiny Pokémon. But, even outside those particular instances, this is an issue that shows up frequently, and should have easily been caught and fixed before the game was released.
Anyway, with all that off my chest, I know it seems like I have nothing but negativity toward Scarlet and Violet, but I do promise plenty of positivity, while maintaining my critical observations, starting with the next article.