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.
I wanted to see if I could start a #ThankYouGameFreak trend. #ThankYouGamefreak for creating the games that got me through all the tough times in my childhood. I know times are rough, but there are still fans that love what you do. Spread if you appreciate what Gamefreak does.
— MysticUmbreon#GoldenDeer (@MysticUmbreon94) November 9, 2019
The hashtag has since gone viral, with an outpouring of support from Pokémon fans all over the world toward Game Freak.
— Alchem1st (@Alchem1stX) November 10, 2019
— don't talk to me I'm bulby (@AsparagusEdu) November 10, 2019
— Matt the Big Thankful Shaymin (@MattORL89) November 10, 2019
I was a nerdy baby who found some friends through pokemon, and it's also one of the things that first got me into drawing! From a nerdy bab to now an artist in gamedev, #ThankYouGameFreak! pic.twitter.com/gZoI4Dv99H
— piyo ???????????? (@PiyoStoria) November 10, 2019
#ThankYouGameFreak for my fondest childhood memories. When I moved to a new neighborhood I had no new friends, but because I had my DS & Pokémon Platinum I had a way to talk to others & was able to make some of my closest friends still to this day, so I'll never forget that ???? pic.twitter.com/WheKPs8hTt
— Aero (@ActualAero) November 9, 2019
— ???? | ???? (@gurugurugravity) November 9, 2019
#ThankYouGameFreak for creating a franchise that makes the relationship with me and my son even stronger. It also teaches him being dedicated and a good caring person, leads to positivity in your life.
It's also made me amazing friendships across the world. Thank you ????✌ pic.twitter.com/OMJE4mWEAs
— PokeTaj ポケタージ (@PokeTaj) November 9, 2019
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.
Wow…#ThankYouGameFreak is trending all over the world!
It’s lovely reading all of your kind messages. And it’s lovely to hear that so many of you are looking forward to the launch of #PokémonSwordAndShield next week!! We’re all excited too!
Sending the love back at you ???????? pic.twitter.com/T2XzRypci2
— James Turner (@JamesTurner_42) November 10, 2019
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.