As spotted by Japanese site Pokemon Matome, Creatures Inc – which co-owns the Pokémon franchise – was listed as a “main client” on Game Freak’s company profile as recently as November 18, but has now been removed.
Creatures Inc has been involved in the Pokémon franchise since the beginning, but only recently partnered with Game Freak once the game series entered the 3D space with 2013’s X and Y.
Both Game Freak and Creatures Inc co-own the Pokémon franchise alongside Nintendo.
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It’s unclear if the removal has been made in error, or if there has been a genuine change in the relationship between Game Freak and Creatures Inc. VGC has contacted The Pokemon Company for clarification.
Creatures is responsible for, among other things, the 3D models used in all Pokémon titles including recent Nintendo Switch releases Sword and Shield.
Sword and Shield is the first main entry in the series that doesn’t include every Pokémon, a decision that has not been popular with fans, especially following the discovery that many of its character models are identical to those used in 2016 3DS entry Sun and Moon, and 2018 Switch release Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee.
The discovery that 3D models had been reused from older games seemingly flared the ill-feeling among fans, with “#GameFreakLied” made to trend worldwide on Twitter ahead of release.
Earlier Pokémon fans had helped #ThankYouGameFreak trend worldwide, in an unofficial campaign designed to counteract some of the negativity surrounding the game.
Game Freak had previously claimed that additional work required to create Pokémon assets was partly the reason behind limiting the number of characters in Sword and Shield.
Ultimately the controversy did not affect the sales performance of the Switch exclusives, which quickly broke franchise records in several regions.
Released on November 15, the titles surpassed six million combined sales in their first week of availability.
According to Famitsu sales charts, Sword and Shield had sold 1.74 million copies as of November 24, beating the 1.66 million lifetime sales of Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee.
Sword and Shield is already Japan’s best-selling game of 2019.
Additionally, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield sold just over two million copies in its first two days in the US, making it the highest-grossing launch of any Pokémon game in the region.