Another year, another pair of Pokémon games that sell millions of copies while a vocal chunk of its fanbase criticizes them and still play anyway. Even by their own standards, the recently released Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are huge financial successes, marking the second biggest launch in series history, outselling every entry besides Sun and Moon. They may also be some of the buggiest titles Game Freak has put out.
Although it’s common for these games to be picked apart over lackluster animations and unimpressive environment design, as well as their generally strict adherence to an established formula, the latest releases seem to be in a league of their own when it comes to technical problems, and clips of bizarre and often hilarious bugs have taken over my Twitter feed. Let’s run down a few of the strangest.
To start with the less funny problems, there appear to be severe performance issues, especially in handheld mode:
Here we see pop-in issues, as the background blinks in out of existence, and the game struggles to maintain its framerate. According to the speedrunner Linkus7 these sorts of problems become worse the longer the game runs, likely due to a memory leak, which is when a program fails to manage memory resources properly. Restarting should alleviate this bug somewhat.
Luckily, at least from an outside perspective, most of the other issues are much goofier. For one, there is a tendency towards accidental body horror, as character geometry warps in unexpected ways:
Here is another character in desperate need of an exorcism:
A selfie gone wrong:
While speedrunners are usually able to find unintended ways to get around, it seems like it’s a little bit easier to discover them here than in most. ZullieTheWitch, everyone’s favorite FromSoftware hacker, found one:
A particularly weird case is if you plug in two controllers, you can use both at once to increase your run speed:
And then there’s also a bunch of issues with wall-clipping, which are probably less endearing if it means getting stuck and losing progress:
Maybe this one will be useful for speedruns, at least?:
But trainers aren’t the only ones subject to the jank, and unsurprisingly there are plenty of Pokémon mishaps as well:
Fuecoco can’t seem to catch a break:
Another starter going through it:
While places like Lavender Town have ensured the series is never too far removed from paranormal happenings, the new game is particularly haunted:
There’s also ghost bikes:
Uh, a lot of ghost bikes:
And saving the best for last:
These are just scratching the surface, and there’s plenty of more weirdness to be found, as is shown in this thread, as well as with Kotaku’s findings.
Every new Pokémon release seems to bring about a swirling vortex of painful takes, such as fans becoming obsessed with how the trees look and played out criticisms of devs being lazy, to more level-headed complaints regarding these games’ design issues and technical limitations. The latest has resurfaced worries about the Nintendo Switch’s dated hardware specs, while others have countered that the game’s problems are due to Game Freak’s limitations as a studio or the series’ rushed production pipelines. Some are even comparing this release to that of Cyberpunk 2077, although I don’t think expectations were the same between the two (another pair of entries in a series constantly drawing criticism vs. a heavily anticipated title from a much-beloved studio).
And despite all the issues with Scarlet and Violet, it seems many are still enjoying it, in large part because of the series’ rock solid foundations. At the very least, I’m having a good time watching the jank unfold: