The Pokemon Company has released a statement saying they do not have any issues with a fan-favorite style of Pokemon playthrough after comments made by ex-employees earlier this week. The Pokemon Company confirmed to Eurogamer that they do not mind players doing Nuzlocke runs on Pokemon games, stating that "The Pokémon Company International does not have any issues with fans or creators playing the video games with Nuzlocke rules". The comment seemingly brings an end to a confusing weekend's worth of online discourse surrounding Pokemon games, influencers, and the popular fan-made ruleset.
A Nuzlocke is a Pokemon game playthrough that adheres to specific arbitrary limitations. While there are several Nuzlocke variants in play, almost every Nuzlocke requires a player to release any Pokemon on their team that has fainted during a battle and limits which Pokemon they catch to the first Pokemon they encounter in a set area. These restrictions force the players to be much more cautious and deliberate with their actions, especially in early areas when they don't have a deep pool of Pokemon they can use. Nuzlocke runs are popular with many influencers and Pokemon content creators, in part because it adds an extra layer of difficulty to a Pokemon game and often leads to dramatic turns when a beloved Pokemon faints during battle.
Nuzlocke runs entered this weekend's discourse thanks to the Kit and Krysta Podcast, which is hosted by former Nintendo Minute hosts Kit Ellis and Krysta Yang. The duo recounted a time that they suggested to Nintendo that they run a Nuzlocke for Nintendo Minute, but were met with incredible resistance. Ellis noted that The Pokemon Company consider Nuzlocke runs "to be on the same level as using a hacked game" and said they thought they would be fired for suggesting a Nuzlocke run on an official Nintendo channel.
Some of the confusion could be because many Nuzlocke runs are made using emulators and randomizers, both of which manipulate a Pokemon game's code. Those versions of Nuzlockes are on the same level of a hacked game, because....well, they are hacked games.
Regardless, The Pokemon Company has seemingly cleared up the matter, so players can play through Nuzlocke runs of their favorite Pokemon games at their heart's content. Just make sure to give your Pokemon especially meaningful names, to make their release that much more tragic.