Pokemaniacs got good news in early June: Pokemon Sword and Shield, the first generation of Pokemon games to be built for a console rather than a handheld, are hitting the Nintendo Switch on Nov. 15. But then at E3 some fans were disappointed by different news: Sword and Shield won’t include every type of Pokemon in the franchise’s history.
You’re usually able to transfer Pokemon from older games to new ones, but that won’t be the case in Sword and Shield. This caused fan outrage, with some gamers accusing GameFreak, the company behind the Pokemon games, of being lazy. On Saturday Sword and Shield producer Junichi Masuda responded to the outrage through a statement released to the official Pokemon site.
“I’ve read all your comments and appreciate your love and passion for Pokémon,” Musada’s statement delicately began.
“After so many years of developing the Pokémon video games, this was a very difficult decision for me. I’d like to make one thing clear: even if a specific Pokémon is not available in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, that does not mean it will not appear in future games.”
Responding specifically to criticisms of lack of effort, Musada said: “We are pouring our hearts into these games, and we hope you will look forward to joining us on this new journey.” You can read the full statement here.
At the beginning of each Pokemon game you’re given a Pokedex which contains information on all the Pokemon native to that region. After you beat the main game, you’ll usually get upgraded to a National Pokedex, which enables you to use every Pokemon from previous games. At E3 Musada revealed that these games will feature no such upgrade, and that only Pokemon in the Galar Pokedex can be used in the games. (Galar is the UK-inspired region we’ll play through in Sword and Shield.)
In other words, players can only use Pokemon that developers decide are native to the world of Sword and Shield. GameFreak has yet to say how many of the 807 existing Pokemon will be included, or how many new ones will be introduced.
Earlier in the month, Musada told Japanese publication Famitsu that the decision to curtail the amount of Pokemon within the game mainly came down to gameplay balance and making each Pokemon feels visually unique.
“It has become extremely difficult to make Pokemon with a new personality play an active part and to balance their compatibility,” Masuda said to Famitsu. “That is the reason for this decision, and we have decided that it is difficult to make all Pokemon appear in future works.”
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