The Pokemon Company has cancelled the Japanese launch event for Pokemon Sword and Shield that was due to take place in Tokyo next week. Lead producer Junichi Masuda, and game director Shigeru Ohmori, were both scheduled to appear at the event.
In an apologetic statement, the Pokemon Company cited “operational reasons” for the event’s cancellation.
Both Masuda and Ohmori gave a round of interviews last month, with Sword and Shield’s controversial lack of a National Pokedex being a hot button topic. “There were a lot of discussions about which direction we should take that in,” Masuda explained in an interview with Eurogamer. “Ultimately we felt that, for the overall game, focusing on creating the richest experience we could within that game, leaving the Pokedex as we did was the best solution overall.”
The angry discourse surrounding the National Pokedex’s exclusion has hit a fever pitch this week as Sword and Shield leaks have begun to emerge, detailing which Pokemon would not be returning this time around. The topic has even been dubbed “#Dexit” by fans, in reference to the game’s UK-inspired setting.
There’s nothing suggesting fan anger led to the cancellation of Sword and Shield’s Japanese launch event, but it wouldn’t be the first time a scheduled event was called off due to potential threats. Square Enix was forced to cancel four Starwing Paradox tournaments earlier this year after several death threats were sent to the game’s management team. A man was also arrested by Tokyo police after threatening Square Enix with an arson attack, stating that he would repeat the Kyoto Animation tragedy.
Blizzard recently cancelled an Overwatch Switch launch event in New York City, too. No official reason was given for the abrupt cancellation, but it seemed to stem from backlash the company received due to the actions it took against Hearthstone player, blitzchung, after he voiced support for the ongoing Hong Kong protests.
Pokemon Sword and Shield launches on November 15 for Nintendo Switch.
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