Pokemon

Clues suggest Pokemon Sword and Shield was originally for Nintendo 3DS

by Paul Cot

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After months of hype and controversy, Pokemon Sword and Shield was finally released on the Nintendo Switch on November 15 - but was it actually meant for the Nintendo 3DS?

It might seem unthinkable, but there are a few points which certainly make you wonder.

Pokemon CEO didn't believe in the Nintendo Switch

After all, CEO of the Pokemon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, didn't believe the Nintendo Switch would be a success in the first place. "I told Nintendo that Switch wouldn't be a success before it went on sale, because I thought that in the age of the smartphone no one would carry around a game console," he said in an interview with Bloomberg. He has since admitted he was wrong, however.

Pokemon Company
Pokemon Company
Pokemon Sword and Shield has definitely got the community talking...

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Ishihara believed the future for Pokemon games would use augmented technology, something the global phenomenon Pokemon Go initiated. It still might be but there is still an insatiable demand for the classic Pokemon style RPG.

Nevertheless, Pokemon Sword and Shield reportedly started development around November 2016, four months before the Nintendo Switch was released. This begs the question, with Ishihara not on board with the Switch at that time, did they still have the 3DS in mind for the platform of the game?

Similar issues to the 3DS games

Redditor tristangre97 also raised some interesting points as to why they believe the game was originally for the 3DS. Pokemon scale is clearly an issue in Sword and Shield. In the wild they appear to be the correct size but in battle they simply aren't.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBIVepAerZo

The Pokemon were scaled correctly for Let's Go which was made for the Switch. On the other hand, scaling was always an issue for the 3DS, which was understandable given the hardware limitations. Given this has carried over to Sword and Shield, though, it does make it look like the game was designed for the 3DS.

Another similarity between the 3DS games and Sword and Shield is that some moves cause the player character to disappear. This problem was fixed on the 3DS by moving the camera to hide it. However, the poster thinks they didn't feel like fixing it for the Switch: "[With] the Switch being larger messed up the camera transition and they didn't feel like fixing it."

One other point indicative that the game may have been brought over to the Switch fairly late on is that Pokemon don't follow you. "It's weird they removed Pokemon following you when they had it working in Let's Go," tristangre97 points out. They go on to claim: "[This is] most likely because the 3DS couldn't handle it and they didn't have time to add it in when porting to the Switch."

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Nintendo Life
Nintendo Life
You could make Pokemon follow you in Let's Go...

Graphics befitting of the Switch?

The quality of the game's graphics has divided opinion throughout the Pokemon community and the game doesn't seem quite as refined as trainers would expect. It has been questioned whether the visuals are befitting of a Nintendo Switch game.

A comparison to the acclaimed Zelda: Breath of the Wild has only added to the theory that the game wasn't for the Switch.

It should be noted this is all speculation and it is not something that Pokemon Company have addressed. The points made are certainly worth consideration, though.

So, what do you think, was Pokemon Sword and Shield initially developed for the Nintendo 3DS?