Student shows Game Freak how to animate amid Pokemon Sword and Shield criticism

Paul Cot

Game Freak have faced a barrage of criticism over its animations in Pokemon Sword and Shield already, but one student animator has gone the extra mile in an attempt to show them how it’s done. 

Gameplay at E3 2019 revealed the most Pokemon Sword and Shield footage we’ve seen to date. Many Pokemon fans have been scrolling through all of the available scenes, picking parts of the game they believe to be sub-par and letting their opinions be heard. Unfortunately for Game Freak, there’s a lot of negative feedback for them to dig through. 

Animations criticised

One aspect of the game which has come under immense scrutiny is the movement of some Pokemon – particularly Wingull. The animation of the dual water and flying-type has seen trainers accuse Game Freak of cutting corners – quite literally.

NintendoScorbunny’s Double Kick animation has also been questioned by Pokemon fans…

A few Wingulls can be seen roaming the wild area, but after every couple of seconds they take an unnatural 90 degree turn, something that doesn’t befit a brand new Pokemon game on relatively new hardware.

Elsewhere, Scorbunny’s double kick has also received just as much backlash. This has led long-term Pokemon fans to compare battle animations to Pokemon Stadium, a game released in 1998.

Student puts Game Freak to task

Criticisms such as these often divide the fan base – with some holding developers such as Game Freak to a super high standard, while others are sympathetic to their pressures and heavy schedule they have in front of them, working towards that November launch window. 

However, one fan replied to another’s criticism about animations. They said: “It’s easy to laugh and mock them when you’re not doing the work yourself.” Little did they know they were talking to a student animator, who vowed to prove the commenter wrong.

The student, who says they’re in their first year of studies, quickly made a model of Wingull before even having the time to paint it. From there, they were even able to give it a more natural flight-path while adding grass in the background.

They then compare the Pokemon Sword and Shield footage with their own. The student claims it took them 24 hours – from scratch – to create it.

Other than the student showing off their own animating ability, the small project highlights the concerns that fans are having about the upcoming titles. A Wingull turning a little sharply is by no means the biggest deal, but these small things add up over the course of a game.

The backlash over the removal of the national Pokedex means Pokemon fans are examining every aspect of Sword and Shield. So, let’s hope Game Freak produce a game that matches the hype of the introduction of a new generation of Pokemon.

Pokemon Sword and Shield will release on November 15, 2019, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.