It used to be that, while fighting other players in Pokémon games, you were given 60 minutes to finish the duel. But in Pokémon Sword and Shield, a standard six-on-six battle is afforded a measly 20-minute timer for the entire proceedings — and according to hardcore devotees, that’s nowhere near enough time.
This is likely why competitive Pokémon player and content creator pokeaimMD’s recent campaign #BringBackTimer has made strides within the community after a recent YouTube upload where he explains the severity of the problem. As it stands, 20 minutes is often not enough to even finish a battle. So it’s possible to lose a fight without actually having all of your monsters wiped out. Alternatively, it’s possible to win a fight without knocking out all of your opponent’s Pokémon. This limitation, pokeaimMD argues, makes battling in Pokémon Sword and Shield feel less fulfilling.
“The biggest thing with the timer is how it makes you feel after you play a game, right?” he says during the video. “If I am battling my friend, and the game ends at 6-5, and it says I’ve won, there is no satisfaction in that, right? It’s not complete, the game is not complete, it’s not over. Yet the timer is dictating that the game is over and that I’ve won, but I don’t feel that way, right? And this is why we really do need this change to the timer. It really is a simple change.”
In his mind, it would be better if battles allowed for a full 60 minutes, animations not included, rather than the condensed time frame that is currently allotted. Without it, he fears, the game’s competitive singles scene that plays over Wi-Fi might not have longevity as the frustrated community moves away from it. Polygon has reached out to both The Pokémon Company and Game Freak on this matter.
The video is particularly notable because it includes a variety of Pokémon creators supporting pokeaimMD’s stance, like shiny hunter aDrive and CybertonProductions. These personalities all shared how Pokémon Sword and Shield’s timer has limited their enjoyment. Feeling rushed, for example, might not allow you to employ the best tactics available.
“Why not give us the ability to customize the rules any way we want?” Pokémon content creator Shofu says during the footage. “‘Cause that way, we can enjoy the game in so many different ways. I should be able to set the rules to anything that I so please, and as long as my opponent agrees with them, we should be able to have all the fun in the world.”
Shofu goes on to say that new mechanics, like Dynamaxing, all have elaborate animations that eat away at the timer.
What’s worse, the current limitations are driving players to use off-platform solutions, like competitive simulator Pokémon Showdown. But with a simple change, Game Freak can bring more people back into the fold — and keep them there.
No surprise, then, that social media is largely in agreement with pokeaimMD’s concerns.
Sw/Sh was a divisive game but it really did kill singles and forced them to play on Showdown or move on to other games. I’m a VGC player but I started as a streamer doing battles. It’s sad that the Twitch battle community completely halted with this game. #BringBackTimer (Bonus)
— PrValkyrie (@PrValkyrie) November 25, 2020
yeah okay nintendo cmon, this isn’t good. I loved singles for years during gen 5, so this is silly. Please bring it back?
— Pikachau (@waddleede) November 25, 2020
This past summer I was invited to join my first Draft League. This is the most fun I have ever had with pokemon in the 20 years I’ve been playing. Unfortunately, so many battles are decided by the lack of alternate timers. This 20 minute time is not cutting it. #BringBackTimer
— Angel Sanchez (@thesixofh3arts) November 22, 2020
#BringBackTimer The 20 minutes timer in online battle is one of the most detrimental issue of #PokemonSwordShield It’s still time for gamefreak, TPCi or whoever is in charge, to show that they at least slighly care about what the pokemon community wants. Please fix it.
— Dingosig (@dingosig) November 22, 2020
I LOVE watching 6v6 WiFi battles. It’s what got me into competitive Pokémon back in Generation 6 and it’s why I’m still a competitive player today. Unfortunately, this can’t be done in Sword and Shield due to the limited timer. It’s a simple fix Game Freak! #BringBackTimer
— Joey Ayala (@GalaxyVGC) November 22, 2020