The developers at Game Freak have issued a statement that explains why the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield will not feature full voice acting, despite now coming to consoles for the first time in the main series. While this is not particularly surprising, see how full voice acting has yet to come to many different Nintendo franchises, and many JRPGs like Pokemon have made it to the modern era without voice acting, it still comes as a disappointment to some. Speaking with Metro UK, director Shigeru Ohmori went into further detail as to why the decision was made no continue the Pokemon series without voice acting:
There’s sort of two main reasons, so firstly this is a RPG with a whole lot of text that we’re then localising and releasing in nine different languages at the same time. So from a purely practical point of view actually getting that organised and carrying out all the voice recording, the corrections and so on in nine different languages for release on exactly the same day is something that would be incredibly difficult. So, that’s one reason why we haven’t chosen to do it this time around.
But the other reason is one of character image, in the sense of when you play a game, if you’ve got a voice on that character that instantly provides to the player an image, a feel for that character that they don’t generate themselves, it’s pushed on them from the development side. Whereas if we have really flavourful text, for those characters, but no voice the players can kind of create their own image of who that character is as they’re playing. And that’s something we really like to encourage as we’re creating games.
So it appears the reasoning behind was a mixture of logistical and creative reasons, which seems like a fairly straightforward reason for such a decision. Either way, odds are most people will not be terribly bothered by Pokemon sticking to its roots, as it has so often done.
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield will release for Nintendo Switch on November 15th, 2019. You can watch a recent trailer for the game showcasing some new features below: