Recent releases, and the reactions to those releases, point to The Pokémon Company facing an interesting challenge at it celebrates its 25th Anniversary. On the one hand the franchise is continually trying to grow and attract new fans of various ages; on the other there are Pokémon players that are long-term fans and have expectations around the evolution and progression of the IP.
Some of the criticisms in recent years have been fair, we'd suggest, especially with accusations that the games haven't shown enough improvement in terms of presentation and mechanics - especially considering the size of the IP and resources at the company's disposal. Yet arguably some areas of criticism are tough to resolve, as the franchise tries to balance its approach to old and new fans.
That topic was the focus of an Axios piece that included some quotes from The Pokémon Company's director of consumer marketing, J.C. Smith. It mentions 'Dexit', in which fans were frustrated that a series tradition ended with Sword & Shield having an incomplete Pokédex; though sales were still strong, the atmosphere online in particular was rather intense. Smith addressed the clash between fan wishes and what the development and creative teams want to do with the franchise.
But there's also a vision for what the creators want to provide, and it's [a matter of] finding that delicate balance throughout.
We have a group of creators and professionals working at the Pokémon Company that have been through a lot — seen, heard [a lot]. They have thicker skin than many people do because they’ve heard it.
Smith goes on to say "we hear it" on the topic of fans seeking more 'sophisticated' and 'grown-up' entries in the series, but states that "we try to focus on making the core accessible to everyone".
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond And Shining Pearl are next up on 19th November, but despite The Pokémon Company's efforts it's being extensively leaked online. We'll need to see how the broader fanbase reacts to these remakes when they arrive next week.
Let us know what you think of Smith's remarks. Do you feel fan feedback has ever been too hostile, or perhaps you think the responses to various releases have been generally fair from the fanbase? Let us know, as politely as possible(!), in the comments.