On Dec. 1, Nintendo and developer Game Freak released their first “Pokémon Scarlet” and “Pokémon Violet” patch since the day one patch. The latest patch promised “other select bug fixes,” according to the official notes released on their site. Players hoped this would address the game’s many meme-worthy bugs.
Currently, though, players can’t agree on whether the patch has done anything to make the game look better. And neither can we. Take a look below and decide for yourself.
Has "Pokémon Scarlet" and "Violet's" latest Patch, 1.1.0, improved the games' performance?
Judge for yourself — we can't tell! pic.twitter.com/jfKD4taYpd
Nintendo’s vagueness in their patch notes has caused a deluge of varying reports from players over whether performance — the frame rate, pop-ins, unloaded textures and more — has actually improved. While some claim that open-world areas of the game, notably the earlier areas, have better frame rates, others say it’s a placebo effect, pointing to bad performance in the later areas players encounter.
Nintendo acknowledged a request from The Washington Post for clarification on what the patch had fixed, but didn’t provide more detail in time for publication. We will update this story with their response.
Regardless of what exactly about the game has been fixed, players are having fun trying to sort it out.
It’s unclear what’s causing these issues from a technical perspective. A popular theory, supported by reputable dataminers and speedrunners of the games like Eddaket, is that the game has a memory leak. In short: It’s possible the Nintendo Switch’s memory doesn’t get cleared properly when players enter any city in-game. This means that the city assets never truly get unloaded, so as players continue to play the game, there’s less and less available RAM on the Switch to load new assets. That would certainly explain the lower frame rates and pop-up issues, particularly in later cities the player comes across that don’t have the assets loaded yet.
For now, and without Nintendo’s input, players can’t know for sure if a memory leak is truly the culprit. And unfortunately, they also can’t tell what — if anything — the latest patch actually fixes.