Gigantamax Garbodor asks:

As punishment for your sins, you are now condemned to be transformed into a stage 1 Com Mon. But you do get to choose which one. What do you choose and why?

Also, isn’t it great that I exist?

okay I know you’re joking, but Garbodor is the only Pokémon not from generation I or VIII that has a Gigantamax form (aside from Melmetal, who is, like… generation VII and a half/honorary generation I), and I really did not need another reason to suspect that someone at Game Freak reads this blog and is actively trolling me

(I SEE YOU, TURNER, AND I STILL THINK VANILLUXE IS DUMB; YOU CAN’T STOP ME FROM DYING ON THIS HILL)

anyway, even if you were sent from hell specifically to torment me I guess I still have to answer your question, huh

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Everyone asks:

Hi Chris, so after reading your commentary/essay/novel on Chairman Rose, did you know his battle theme says “Go Rose, go save everyone!” over and over?

Just an interesting tidbit.

I’m not… quite sure I hear it?  But it makes sense; like, that is definitely what he thinks he’s doing.  “Save everyone” is very much core to his motivation, and not even in a bull$#!t “create a beautiful world through Malthusian genocide” way like Lysandre was doing; he really does mean everyone.  It’s just unfortunate that he’s chosen an insane self-aggrandising way of doing that.

Mr. Rected asks:

So now that we have Mega Evolution, Z Moves, and Dyna/Gigantamaxing, if you were in charge, for Gen 9, what would be their totally unprecedented, initially controversial, yet eventually beloved battling Schtick,? Also what type of cake do you think would taste best half burned?

Well, the answer to the cake question, I know from experience, is chocolate; like, ideally you don’t ever want your cake half-burned, but I would say that, of the half-burned cakes, chocolate is the one that suffers the least.

As for the other thing… sooooooooo, I don’t just have a developed idea for one of these lying around, and I’m not sure if there is a “best” answer unless we develop the setting and story in concert (which… no; go away and leave me alone), but here’s three spitball ideas.

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RandomAccess asks:

I recently found out that in Sword and Shield, they retconned some evolution methods, specifically the ones that require being in a certain area then leveling them up. They had Pokemon that evolve in a special magnetic field (like Charjabug to Vikavolt) evolve using a thunder stone instead, the one who evolves around a moss rock(Eevee to Leafeon) use a leaf stone instead, and the one who evolves around an ice rock(Eevee to Glaceon) use an ice stone instead. To my knowledge, this is the first time they retconned an evolution method to one that has already been used before (unlike the case of introducing a new method, like the prism scale item for Feebas to make up for not having the contest-dependent beauty stat in generation 5). I honestly think this is a good move, and really opens up the door to either making things easier for people who don’t like currently cumbersome evolution methods, or changing them in the future to make them reflect the lore better (hoping using a shelder to evolve a slowpoke can become a reality in the future) but what do you think about them suddenly becoming more open to changing long-standing mechanics that they’ve been careful not to contradict before?

It just seems like fairly straightforwardly a good thing, to me.  I mean, those weird location-based evolutions mostly exist, I think, to satisfy the rule that an old Pokémon getting a new evolution has to use a method that wasn’t previously available, to keep the games consistent.  That is a dumb rule in the first place.  Not only is it a dumb rule, though, it saddles us with a requirement that any game with Magneton in it must have an area with a weird magnetic field, and any game with Eevee in it must have a Mossy Rock and an Icy Rock, and so on.  Day/night mechanics are just standard now, but that was actually a problem in generation III because Fire Red and Leaf Green have no clock and it was impossible to evolve Eevee into Espeon or Umbreon in those games.  Even Pokémon that had unusual evolution methods when they were first introduced are kind of a drag… I mean, Inkay, for heaven’s sake; you can’t evolve Inkay if you’re playing on a big screen because there’s no way to turn it upside down.  Meltan’s evolution is tied to a completely different game that Game Freak doesn’t have direct control over.  Like… at some point, common sense has to kick in, just to keep us all from going mad… right?

Mewitti asks:

Have you seen the dialogue in Sword/Shield revealing that Dynamax Pokémon don’t actually physically change size in real life when they Dynamax? I saw an NPC mention it in the postgame content, and it’s also mentioned by Shigeru Ohmori in an interview “101 Rapid-Fire Questions About Pokémon Sword And Shield” at around 2:10:

Interviewer: So does Dynamax, is that like a projection, or a physical transformation?
Ohmori: It’s actually just a visual projection.
Interviewer: So is the real Pokémon still just on the ground doing these moves and it’s like just a big version of that?
Ohmori: Yeah, so the actual Pokémon is in that projection.

May or may not ultimately change anything, but I thought it was an odd reveal that has some interesting implications for worldbuilding.

Yeah, I am aware of this.  I thought it was… odd, because I’d actually considered the possibility beforehand and decided that it wasn’t necessary for Dynamaxing to make sense.  I mean, we already know that Pokémon can do a magical thing that can drastically change their size in an apparent violation of conservation of matter – evolution.  And evolution is permanent; once I’ve bought into that, I don’t have any problem believing that Dynamaxing can temporarily increase the size of a Pokémon’s physical body.  The animations for Dynamaxing also have this feel of mass and physicality to them that I think is weird if it’s meant to be just a projection.  I guess there is, like… a square-cube law argument that a size increase like that would definitely kill most Pokémon, but since when does Pokémon care about anatomical plausibility?  It makes some thematic sense, I’ll give them that, because of Sword and Shield’s interest in spectacle – Dynamaxing is actually all about appearances, style over substance, which would be a weird take on this generation’s flagship mechanic, but actually fits in the context of the story of Piers and Spikemuth.  I feel like it raises more questions than it answers, though.  Like, if the gigantic form is just a projection, why does it make them more powerful?  How does Gigantamaxing fit into this, why is it any different to Dynamaxing, and why can so few Pokémon do it?  Is there a reason Galar needs huge stadiums, if the Pokémon doesn’t physically get larger; like, can the Pokémon not just have the power without the size increase?  And, well, this was a question I had anyway, but what does Eternatus have to do with any of this?

Also, apropos of nothing, I believe this is the same interview where they are asked “are Pokémon sentient?” and Shigeru Ohmori replies “they’re just getting by,” which frankly is an answer that resonates with me much more than it should. Like, sentient? B!tch, today I slept until midday and then played six hours of Fire Emblem; I’ll work on “sentience” next week.

Vox asks:

Could you link the start of the X nuzlocke? I found you via tv tropes…

You found me via… what, seriously?

Well, this should give you what you need: https://pokemaniacal.com/tag/x-nuzlocke/?order=asc.  I should warn you, though, that I never finished that story and currently don’t intend to, so you should be prepared for disappointment.  I don’t think the TvTropes page has been updated in several years, and even then it kinda gave disproportionate prominence to a project that was never really my main “thing.”  I… could update it myself, but, well… it just seems kind of crass, doesn’t it?  Editing one’s own TvTropes page?

Larry asks:

Hey, are you worried about regional variants making the OG mons get sidelined? Because while I love the new versions, both from a bio nerd standpoint and a creature design standpoint, I look at variants getting evolutions, OGs getting nothing, and get… concerned

What if the answer to “how to deal with pokémon who need buffs” simply becomes “replace them with clones?”

If I’ve merely missed Hoennian Obstagoon from avoiding SwSh spoilers, I’m sorry to bother, but I’m kinda scared. Thoughts?

So… I think there may actually be a reason for this, and it’s a dumb reason.  Game Freak think they’re not allowed to give new evolutions to old Pokémon unless it’s through regional variation, because it would create an inconsistency in how the Eviolite works.  If Hoennese Linoone could evolve, then it would be able to use an Eviolite, which it can’t in generation VII.  Therefore, we can never let it evolve.  Now, personally I think that whether or not to give new evolutions to old Pokémon is a top-level design choice with no inherently right or wrong answer, and I would actually be fine with never seeing it again (incremental moveset/ability buffs or even flat base stat buffs to older Pokémon are another matter, and I think we have every reason to imagine that those will continue; Jim the Editor would like to recommend a YouTube series on the subject that you can find here).  However, “we accidentally painted ourselves into a corner by introducing a weird item during a generation that consciously downplayed older Pokémon” is the dumbest possible reason I can imagine for making that choice.  I hope that’s not actually something that Game Freak’s designers have in mind – or, if it is, that they get over it – but it is kind of consistent with their actions.  New evolutions stop in generations V-VII, with the sole exception of Sylveon (who is allowed, because Eevee can already use an Eviolite), and reappear in VIII, but restricted to Pokémon that got Galarian variations, who can therefore be treated as a blank slate. Mega Evolution and Gigantamaxing, although they have other functions, can also be seen as a replacement of sorts for new evolutions (with the added bonus that you can give them to Pokémon who’ve already evolved twice, such as the obvious best Pokémon that is everyone’s favourite and may not be questioned, Charizard).  It also feels like the same kind of logic that dictates that old Pokémon who get new evolutions must always evolve in new, increasingly obscure ways that weren’t available in previous generations (can’t evolve Seadra in Red and Blue because Pokémon couldn’t hold items until generation II; can’t evolve Piloswine in Gold and Silver because it couldn’t learn Ancient Power until generation IV). On the other hand, they have also now stopped holding to some of those, because it’s just a huge pain when you can’t have Leafeon in the game unless you build an area with a Mossy Rock, and if some godawful pedant wants to ask “so why can’t I use a Leaf Stone on Eevee in Red and Blue?”… well, honestly, fµ¢£ ’em.

So I guess I would say yeah, be scared because the thing you’re describing is definitely happening and can only be stopped by Game Freak choosing to abandon an arbitrary nonsense rule that they’ve held for three generations now.  However, also don’t be scared because Pokémon don’t need to keep getting new evolutions to be valid, there are other ways of buffing them that the developers definitely know about and use, and anyway they’ll probably see the light eventually.