Throughout the Pokemon franchise's history, each game's starter Pokemon have played an extremely important role. More even than the player character, starter Pokemon allow players to draw themselves into the world of Pokemon. Players are basically picking a friend to go on a huge adventure with, and as such, it's Game Freak's job to create starter Pokemon that are endearing and unique. Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield's starters, according to game director Shigeru Ohmori, embrace that tradition.

In an interview with Polygon, Ohmori took the opportunity to explain his feelings about Pokemon Sword and Shield's starters. The question he was posed was whether the reaction to Popplio, a starter from the Pokemon Sun and Moon generation, influenced Sobble, Pokemon Sword and Shield's Water-type starter. Ohmori says no, but decides to expound on Game Freak's direction designing this year's iteration of Pokemon starters. Specifically, he talks about each of the starters' personalities.

"The direction we really took with the starters [in Pokemon Sword and Shield] was treating them as kind of a group or set," a Ohmori says, implying that the trio is akin to a group of friends or a set of puzzle pieces that fit together but are unique to themselves.  "We wanted to kind of give them their own unique personalities." In this way, Game Freak allows players to connect with Pokemon Sword and Shield's starters at a deeper level than either aesthetic or gameplay reasons.

Most Pokemon players will likely be able to tell what kind of personalities the Pokemon Sword and Shield starters, Sobble, Scorbunny, and Grookey, have just from what Game Freak's shared so far. But Ohmori, passionate about the subject as he is, provides some ideas into what Game Freak was aiming for. Sobble, obviously, is intended to be "kind of shy, timid, maybe a little sad." Scorbunny is Sobble's counter, being "really energetic but also gets into mischief sometimes." Grookey is a little more interesting, described as "the mood maker" and "almost the leader of the group," who "keeps the group together."

new pokemon sword shield

In general, what Ohmori is describing regarding Game Freak's design practices aren't exclusive to a Pokemon game's starters. Every single Pokemon that Game Freak produces is ingrained with personality characteristics so that each one is unique and relatable. Even Pokemon's silliest designs are still made to appeal to a certain niche of players who will fall in love with it, who have been waiting just for that perfect Pokemon.

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield release November 15 exclusively on Nintendo Switch.

Source: Polygon