Pokemon Sword and Shield volume controls are ‘locked’ behind in-game item

In yet another questionable design decision, the Pokemon Sword and Shield volume controls are reportedly locked behind an in-game item. Yes, you read that right: you can’t change your volume in the Pokemon Sword and Shield options menu without getting your hands on a special item called the Hi-Tech Earbuds.

A submission on Reddit’s /r/Games subreddit highlights a tweet by @thatdude433 which purports to show some screenshots from Pokemon Sword and Shield. These screenshots show some images from the game, one of which is an item called the Hi-Tech Earbuds. According to @thatdude433, you won’t be able to change your volume until you pick up this item in person. Here’s the item’s in-game description, apparently:

Pokemon Sword and Shield Volume Controls item screen

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“[Also] something that was totally baffling to me was that the sound control settings were locked behind a key item,” @thatdude433 said in a tweet. “This key item is obtained from a random totally optional NPC. So if you want sound control, find this guy in Motostoke. #SWSHLeak”


“wait. ok, let me understand this. So to adjust volume in the game we have to.. go see a NPC instead of just hitting options?,” read one incredulous comment on the /r/Games submission. Other commentors were equally aghast at this reported design decision to require the Hi-Tech Earbuds to access the Pokemon Sword and Shield volume controls.

“Basic option menu features should not require unlocking,” began another comment in the /r/Games submission. “‘but earlier pokemon games didn’t even have these options!’ yeah OK and maybe they friggin should have? If earlier [Grand Theft Auto] games didn’t have subtitles would that make it OK for [Grand Theft Auto V] to sell them to you from an npc after a few opening missions where one would presumably want subtitles? No.”

It’s important to note that we haven’t yet been able to independently confirm whether or not Pokemon Sword and Shield volume controls are actually locked behind the Hi-Tech Earbuds in-game item. That said, this person on Twitter has a timeline filled with screenshots from the game, and it’s not unreasonable to presume that these images are probably real.

With the “Dexit” controversy already dealing a pretty severe blow to the morale of Pokemon fans, the requirement of an item to access Pokemon Sword and Shield volume controls just seems like yet another worrying design decision from the people behind the game.

[Image credit: @thatdude433 on Twitter]