The reviewer worked for Portugese website FNintendo and received a copy of the Nintendo Switch game early. He then shared photos of the game online that revealed multiple Pokemon in Sword and Shield that were unannounced at the time.
Nintendo and The Pokemon Company discovered the source of these leaks and took immediate action. But now the two companies have gone further and announced in a statement released to press today that they’ve cut ties with that reviewer and FNintendo completely.
“Both he and FNintendo failed to handle confidential material, resulting in a clear breach of the confidentiality agreement between Nintendo and the media outlet. As a result, Nintendo will no longer work with FNintendo,” reads the statement.
“Nintendo will always protect its intellectual property and brands. Leaks hurt not just Nintendo, but the thousands of employees who work hard to bring games to market, and the millions of fans around the world who look forward to news and surprises.
To surprise and delight players through new experiences is a shared passion for Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. We will pursue all avenues to preserve surprises for players of future Pokémon titles.”
25 Most Wanted Pokemon NOT in Sword and Shield
FNintendo has released its own statement on the matter, which admits to being the source of the leaks, and offers an apology. Here’s FNintendo’s statement:
“At the beginning of November, a series of off-screen photographs leaked multiple new and unannounced Pokémon from Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. We want to take this opportunity to openly admit to our readers that FNintendo was responsible for leaking some of these photos.
Nintendo offered us a copy of the game for review purposes, with clear embargo guidelines, to which we agreed. This copy was then sent to one of our reviewers, who leaked the information. Following the investigation, FNintendo severed its relationship with this reviewer.
Our relationship with Nintendo Portugal dates back 11 years, but our part in this leak is a clear breach of the confidentiality agreement between us, and, as a result, a total breach of trust with Nintendo.
We recognise it is impermissible to break embargo guidelines and we failed to handle the review materials with sufficient care. We fully respect Nintendo’s decision to cancel the confidentiality agreement between our companies as a result of this breach of trust, and accept that we will no longer receive products from Nintendo, nor will we be invited to attend their events.
We want to apologise to Nintendo and The Pokémon Company, and to our readers for letting them down.”
It isn’t just FNintendo that were hunted down by The Pokemon Company for leaking unannounced Pokemon. In late November 2019, the company announced it was after 4Chan and Discord users that leaked photos from the Sword and Shield strategy guide before it was released.
Then, in December 2019, The Pokemon Company said it had been given legal permission to pursue those leakers to the full extent of the law. This involved seeking financial reimbursement from the leakers and any legal punishment that is deemed appropriate by court.
It wasn’t just Pokemon Sword and Shield that was subject to huge leaks last year either. We summed it all up in the biggest leaks of 2019, which includes some of the biggest game announcements in recent years alongside info on next-gen consoles.
Chris Priestman is a freelancer who writes news for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.