It had to happen sooner or later. As the number of Pokemon continues to swell to ridiculous levels, we had to reach a day where a Pokemon title could no longer reasonably include every single monster.
With the release of Pokemon Sword & Shield looming, that day has finally arrived. Nintendo has confirmed that the game will not support a National Pokedex, which means any monsters not available in the Galar region will be unable to join your party.
Sword & Shield will offer plenty of old monsters to catch, of course, and you can still transfer your favourites (or shiny ‘mon) from older games via the Pokemon Home service – provided those Pokemon already exist in Sword & Shield. If they aren’t supported, they can’t be transferred into the new games.
It’s not clear yet which Pokemon haven’t made the cut, or exactly how many will be cut, but I totally understand the decision made by Nintendo and GameFreak to finally draw a line. We’ve been told Sword & Shield will push the total number of Pokemon to over 1,000.
When you consider each of those Pokemon would requiring unique battle animations, rendering, balancing, and more – all in HD – it’d be a little much to expect them all to be included in the game at launch.
Game Freak produer Junichi Masuda told Famitsu:
The total number of Pokemon has exceeded 1000, including new Pokemon and the various forms of existing Pokémon. As a result, it has become extremely difficult to make Pokemon with a new personality play an active part and to balance their compatibility.
Masuda acknowledged that it wasn’t an easy to decision to make (which can’t have been helped by the already intense fan backlash to the move), but said he believes it’s the best move for the overall quality of the series.
This decision is personally sad. Of course, I wanted to be able to bring all Pokemon if I could do it, but it was also a decision that I had to make some day. In the end, I had no choice but to choose the quality.
I’m more inclined to put my trust in the guy who’s been working on the franchise for over ten years, rather than a dude on Twitter who’s upset he might not be able to transfer over his shiny Beedrill, to be honest.
While Pokemon Sword & Shield won’t include every single monster at launch, Masuda did leave fans with some hope, revealing that GameFreak still hasn’t decided whether or not to introduce the rest of the Pokedex down the line via updates, in the same way Pokemon GO has been doing since release.
As long as my boy Dragonite is still in the game, I’ll happily hold off the riots.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.