Pokemon Sword and Shield fans are sharing love and support for the staff behind popular Pokemon fansite Serebii on Twitter with the hashtag #IStandWithSerebii after its webmaster was faced with abusive treatment in the wake of the controversy surrounding the new games’ release.
The latest entries in the Pokemon series are drawing ever closer to their November 15th release, and fans have made their pre-release impressions of the games well known. From anticipation and excitement for the series’ first mainline appearance on the Switch to unrest over the exclusion of the National Dex, fans have been actively debating changes big and small, like having constant EXP sharing between members of a Pokemon trainer’s team.
Serebii, a site reporting on Pokemon news and updates since 1999, became an unfortunate target for players’ agitation with Pokemon Sword and Shield, receiving violent threats and abusive messages. With word of the messages spreading after a tweet from Serebii webmaster Joe Merrick, readers of the site began to rally under the #IStandWithSerebii hashtag on Twitter to express support for Merrick and Serebii as a whole.
The grassroots campaign echoes earlier efforts from fans of Pokemon Sword and Shield to make their appreciation for the series and developer Game Freak known with the #ThankYouGameFreak hashtag.
#IStandWithSerebii— luke (@GameboyLuke) November 12, 2019
I know @JoeMerrick personally and he is an exceptionally hard worker with his users in his best interest. A wonderful human and a very good friend.
Looking forward to seeing your grind during SwSh’s release fella. Good luck!! 😎
The incident hasn’t been the first time unrest has emerged around the release of Pokemon Sword and Shield, with several calls for a boycott of the games popping up due to the changes being made. Only time will tell whether the outcry will have any major effect on the games’ performance on release day.
Some of the negative reception to the changes being made for Pokemon Sword and Shield is understandable, but the mental health and well-being of people with investment in the franchise is important to keep in mind, including that of other fans.
While influential and considered a vital resource within the Pokemon fan community, Serebii is still a site made by and for fans of Pokemon, and is not officially affiliated with Game Freak or the Pokemon Company. Opinions may differ on whether or not simplifying the game’s roster of available Pokemon is the right move, but making that clear without disparaging others is vital.
Pokemon Sword and Shield will both release on November 15, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.