Over the weekend, thousands of Pokemon fans on Twitter got the hashtag #ThankYouGameFreak trending on Twitter in an effort to push back against the wave of negativity the franchise's developers have faced of late. Disappointment over the restricted Pokedex in the games has colored Sword and Shield discussion for months—but while the hashtag was trending, a few members of Game Freak gave thanks for the positivity flowing its way.
#ThankYouGameFreak broke into the worldwide trending topics list on Saturday. On top of the outpouring from fans who simply wanted to show their love for the Pokemon series, many told stories of how Pokemon strongly influenced their lives and careers.
I basically owe my entire career to Pokemon. It's through my realistic takes on Pokemon that basically every art director has found me. Who would have thought me drawing Pokemon as a kid living in a trailer would have led me to success some day. #ThankYouGameFreak pic.twitter.com/YZgQALpPz7— RJ Palmer (@arvalis) November 9, 2019
#ThankYouGameFreak for basically shaping up my childhood and fueling my passion for character design. I don't know what my life would be without these loveable monsters. Thanks for all the great memories Game Freak! <3 pic.twitter.com/J9uAZEHOyE— doodlelotl (@Doodlelot) November 9, 2019
Game Freak also received some love from fellow developers Playtonic, the studio behind the Yooka-Laylee games:
Since Twitter isn't a pure beacon of kindness even at its best, if you look through the #ThankYouGameFreak tweets now you'll also find some messages from fans who're upset at the developers. Most of the ire and complaints still revolve around "Dexit," the fan rallying cry against Game Freak's decision to exclude many older Pokemon from the roster in Sword and Shield. Be warned: there's also the chance you'll run into leaked information if you scroll too deep into the hashtag.
While #ThankYouGameFreak was at its peak, however, the sentiment was overwhelmingly positive. By Sunday, the hashtag caught the attention of some Game Freak developers. Series director Shigeru Ohmori and lead producer Junichi Masuda gave their thanks:
世界中から沢山のお返事ありがとうございます！とてもビックリしています！— 大森滋 @ポケモン剣盾2019年冬発売！ (@Shigeru_Ohmori) November 10, 2019
ゲームフリークスタッフみんなで制作したソード・シールド。楽しんでもらえたら嬉しいです！I'm happy for everyone's reply. Thank you very much!#ThankYouGameFreak
Thank you, everyone!— 増田順一@GAME FREAK inc. (@Junichi_Masuda) November 11, 2019
Designer and Art Director James Turner also chimed in with his gratitude and an adorable illustration of two Ditto:
Wow...#ThankYouGameFreak is trending all over the world!— James Turner (@JamesTurner_42) November 10, 2019
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
With Pokemon's strong emphasis on picking favorite monsters and forming bonds with them over the course of one or several games, it's natural that Game Freak's seen pushback over cutting the line-up. Whether you want to boycott Sword and Shield or you're happy with the reasoning for limiting the Galar Pokedex, #ThankYouGameFreak should stand as a reminder that the people who play, critique, and make the Pokemon games are just that: people. Sometimes after folks have been riled-up online for too long, people need to come together and spread some cheer—and the Pokemon community did just that.