Pokémon fans have banded together to spread the love, with #ThankYouGameFreak going viral in support of the long-running developer for the franchise’s video games.

Game Freak has recently faced criticism online for Pokémon Sword and Shield, particularly with its decision to not allow all Pokémon to be imported into the upcoming Nintendo Switch titles. This angered some gamers who have been transferring their collection between games in an effort to “catch ’em all.” Further amplifying the backlash are the recent leaks about which of the creatures will be available in the games, and which ones will be benched.

The criticism has been so toxic that The Pokémon Company shelved a launch event in Japan for the new games, in which producer Junichi Masuda and director Shigeru Ohmori were set to make an appearance. The cancellation was blamed on “operational reasons,” but the prevailing belief is that there were security concerns surrounding the event.

In an attempt to repel the negativity and focus on the positive things that people have experienced from Game Freak’s Pokémon games, YouTube and Twitch streamer Mystic Umbreon started the #ThankYouGameFreak movement.

The hashtag has since gone viral, with an outpouring of support from Pokémon fans all over the world toward Game Freak.

While there are some who are riding on the #ThankYouGameFreak hashtag to fire off more hate against the developer, the thousands of tweets suggest that support remains for Pokémon Sword and Shield. Game Freak appreciates it, through a tweet by the art director of the new games.

As the first pair of mainline games in the series that will be released on a home console, Pokémon Sword and Shield will feature new Pokémon, a new region to explore, and new mechanics.

With the lizard-like Sobble, the chimp-like Grookey, and the rabbit-like Scorbunny as the starters, the new games will take trainers to the Galar region, which was described as “an expansive region with diverse environments.” The combat will be supersized with the introduction of Dynamax and Gigantamax transformations, which give players access to upgraded abilities.

Pokémon Sword and Shield will launch globally on November 15 for the Nintendo Switch.

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