It was always going to happen. Pokemon usually has a terrible time keeping leaks under wraps, and after a slow drip feed of half-rumours, the dam has broken. These are not leaks – this is a flood. Just nine days out from Scarlet & Violet, and the flood is everywhere. Time to get to high ground and stay strong, gamers.
I won’t be writing about any leaks here, although unfortunately the flood has already claimed me. Instead, I want to focus on how impossibly dull Pokemon’s leaks are. I don’t mean these specific leaks point to the game being boring or uninspired, I mean the whole nature of spoiler culture around Pokemon is endlessly, inescapably mind-numbing.
Pokemon is always extremely protective of how many codes it sends to outlets, in a vain attempt to stop the flow of these leaks. I like to think I have a little more self-respect than to celebrate when the cookie crumbles our way and cry foul when it doesn’t, but it’s clear this method does not stop leaks at all. Perhaps because of Pokemon’s huge stature in pop culture (therefore subjecting it to more interest and scrutiny), or perhaps because of some flaw in Pokemon’s security, Pokemon leaks always end up in the world anyway. It’s always tempting to hunt them down, but they’re always disappointing.
This is not necessarily because the Pokemon themselves are boring. It’s because the leaks are always bland. I’m not a fan of the way spoiler culture has been fetishised to extremes. We had critics writing 3,000 word God of War Ragnarok reviews promising no spoilers behind that which was already in trailers, which is less a review and more an advert. A willingness to engage with ‘spoilers’ is crucial for any kind of critical engagement, because talking about anything in depth requires you to peer beneath the surface. When it comes to Pokemon though, I’m fully on board the no-spoilers train.
It’s not because I love Pokemon and have a blind spot for it, it’s because Pokemon spoilers are always complete rubbish. There’s never much of a story to Pokemon, but even with Scarlet & Violet tackling an open world, the leaks are obsessed with the same pointless trivialities. ‘Here’s what X Pokemon evolves into’, and it’s always just ‘another Pokemon’. You might like the Pokemon, you might not, but that’s always the answer. Maybe there’s a slight, salacious buzz at knowing before the rest of the world, but it fades very quickly. It’s just another Pokemon. Hooray.
Pokemon leaks are never about interesting mechanics, fascinating design ideas, or even unexpected story twists. It’s always just a peek behind the curtain to see the actors putting on makeup, half dressed in their costumes. It’s just another Pokemon. Nothing more. Maybe some people derive a sense of fun from that, but for me it takes away from the joy of seeing them in game. I can understand the temptation to give your chosen starter a vibe check, but Pokemon leaks take away the magic. Other leaks add to the mystery, giving a sense of depth and anticipation. Pokemon is always just ‘another Pokemon’. You’re so close, baby. Just a little further.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet is almost with us, but the flood is only going to grow and spread. Stay safe out there gamers. If you get tempted, just remember how colossally boring and surface level Pokemon leaks always are, and steel yourself. Nine days out. We got this gamers.
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