Daz Skubich on accessibility in the Pokémon franchise

For Pocket Tactics, Daz Skubich discussed the waning accessibility of the latest Pokémon games, Scarlet and Violet, suggesting a reversion from some of the improved features such as signposting shinies:

[…] The way that shiny Pokémon work has changed a few times over the years, including an increase in spawn rate to one in 4,000 Pokémon. The biggest change that came with the Switch generation of games is that as of Pokémon Let’s Go, shiny Pokémon are now visibly shiny in the overworld, meaning you don’t have to engage every Pokémon you see in battle to see if it’s shiny. Legends: Arceus made spotting a shiny even more accessible with the addition of a shiny-specific side quest, and visual and audio cues when you spot a shiny.


Sadly, other members of the shiny hunting community thought that these accessibility features that benefit a wide range of disabled and able-bodied players make the hobby ‘too easy’, and it would seem The Pokémon Company heard their complaints above the praise and suggestions for improvement from disabled fans.

Scarlet & Violet have made shiny hunting less accessible than it was in Legends: Arceus, instead of improving on what we already had. Yes, shiny Pokémon are still colour-swapped in the overworld, but there are no more audiovisual cues when a shiny spawns or even when you lock onto one. These trigger when you engage them in battle like in previous games, but this makes the shiny hunting process for visually impaired and colourblind players grindy and arduous compared to the experience of able-bodied players.

Gatekeeping shinies has always felt super weird to me but being ableist about it? Get in the bin and stay there. I’ve enjoyed the open world aspect of Scarlet and Violet but I would happily exchange some of the newer features for more accessible ones if it meant everyone could enjoy the game to its fullest, even if it meant having to change as a neurodivergent but able bodied Pokémon fan.

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