Pokemon Sword & Shield Dev Releases Statement About National Dex Drama

Producer Junichi Masuda has shared a message about the controversial decision.

39 Comments

Pokemon Sword and Shield are set to arrive on Nintendo Switch this November. The games will be compatible with the new Pokemon Home service, which launches next year and will allow players to import their older monsters to the titles--albeit with some restrictions. As we learned during E3, players won't be able to transfer every old Pokemon over, and future games similarly may not support every monster--a controversial decision that has resulted in backlash from many fans. Now series producer Junichi Masuda has responded to the controversy.

In a message shared on the official Pokemon website, Masuda thanks fans for their love of the series and reiterates the decision to exclude Pokemon from the titles wasn't made lightly. "Just like all of you, we are passionate about Pokemon and each and every one of them is very important to us. After so many years of developing the Pokemon video games, this was a very difficult decision for me," Masuda said.

Despite the fact some Pokemon won't be transferrable to Sword and Shield, Masuda assures that those monsters won't be excluded from the series permanently. "I'd like to make one thing clear: even if a specific Pokemon is not available in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, that does not mean it will not appear in future games."

Masuda first revealed that some Pokemon wouldn't be compatible with Sword and Shield during at Treehouse Live demo at E3 2019. Masuda acknowledged this decision was a change from previous games and said it was ultimately made in part due to development time. As he explained through an interpreter:

"In previous games that worked with the Pokemon Bank service, you were able to--for example, in Sun and Moon--bring over any Pokemon, even if they weren't in the Alola Pokedex. But with the transition to the Nintendo Switch hardware, being much more powerful [and] allowing us to be much more expressive with each of the individual Pokemon...at Game Freak we really spent a lot of time thinking about what the best way to move forward was, really preserving the quality of all the different Pokemon while also taking into account the battle balance, having so many different Pokemon available, all within a limited development time so we don't keep fans waiting too long for every new entry in the series. And after a lot of discussion, we decided to come to a new direction."

Sword and Shield launch for Switch on November 15. The games take place in the new Galar region. We don't yet know how many monsters will be in the Galar Pokedex, but we've already gotten a glimpse at a variety of new and returning Pokemon. The games also introduce a new battle mechanic called Dynamaxing, which allows you to supersize a Pokemon for three turns during certain matches. For more on the titles, be sure to check out our Pokemon Sword and Shield pre-order guide.

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Chupert

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That's a TON of BS, from everything they've shown the animations on battles are pretty much the same as in Sun or Moon, I didn't see any expressions or whatever, this is just for that camp thing where you can play with your pokemons, feed 'em and other stupid sh*t nobody cares like they been doing on past games, just to have the few pokemon in the game fully animated for those dumb features they sacrifice the national dex.

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ipathsk8n7

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Edited By ipathsk8n7

I am completely fine with the national dex not being available at the beginning of the game. The only reason why is because it makes it a little more realistic. I don't think that was their reasoning but I think it makes sense. There aren't elephants in north america and there are not penguins in africa. If we really lived in the pokemon world, we would not have all the pokemon available to us unless we traveled to the different regions in the pokemon world. It makes sense that some pokemon are not available in certain regions.

I would introduce the national dex as either dlc or maybe as a new game plus feature. For new game plus you could arrive in the Galar region as a brand new trainer after completing the game for the first time with a national pokedex you got in kanto from professor oak for example. Or it could be a gift to the champion after winning the championship during the first play through. It could be something you get in the mail as dlc.

Either way they need to find some way to get into the game. I love, love using new pokemon and i try not to use the older ones unless i have too or if im making a certain team. Make it happen Pokemon! This one needs to be one for the ages!

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Artemisthemp

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When I read the response I get the feeling like they will add them to Sword and Shield but as DLC

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madsnakehhh

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Thankfully I'm not that attached to my older games/monsters ... Even if the last one I played was Sun ... I wouldn't mind to start all over again with none of my older Pokemon.

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DuoMaxwell007

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you cant support very Pokemon because just like ANY game, youre running out of memory, stop making up 150 NEW pokemon every year and we wouldnt have this problem,

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Valtair

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@DuoMaxwell007: 150 per year? Interesting math considering pokemon red was released on february 27, 1996 and 23 years later the total number of pokemon numbers 807. That averages out to about 35 new pokemon per year. That being said, people are too attached to useless pokemon they never use that sit in a box, they just like to say "I have every pokemon ever created" but do they use even 50 of them? Highly doubtful.

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DuoMaxwell007

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@valtair: unless they changed the formula the first game had 151 pokemon, the second had 251 or 252 that's 100-101 new pokemon per game. They shit out new Pokemon games about as often as Madden (every year) soooo you do the math?

Though I cant careless about ALL pokemon being added. I can only name the original 151 and most of the gold/silver generation. After that is meh. So as long as I get most of the classics I'm fine. I'm just happy to FINALLY see a Pokemon game on a console with console worthy (well for Nintendo standards anyway) graphics. So my wish has come true

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Valtair

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@DuoMaxwell007: I did do the math. For you. 807 pokemon after 23 years. If they put out new mainline pokemon games every year and they all had 100+ brand new pokemon we would be sitting at over 2000 pokemon total, but we have 807 pokemon after 23 years across 7 generations. No generation has introduced as many new pokemon as gen 1/red and blue.

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DuoMaxwell007

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@valtair: how many did gold and silver add then?

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Linusa

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@DuoMaxwell007: Wow, you really need to know when to quit. Also, they release new games almost every year, but not new Pokemon. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were the new games for one year, and didn't add any new Pokemon.

But seriously, he already did the math, you just need to accept it.

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Xshinobi

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If I had to guess I would say that it is because they have moved to a new engine and having to recreate new animations and models for all 807 Pokemon would be a monumental task. I would imagine that has more games come out on this engine that they will continue to add models for older generations of Pokemon. It is kinda similar to when Polyphony Digital added cockpit views to Gran Turismo starting with GT5 only some cars had unique interior models while everything else used a generic interior model.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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a really good choice. makes the world feel much more organic. in the first couple of games it was kind of reasonable to find all of them within the game world.

i always liked to liken pokemon to collecting dinosaurs. many of them existing only in certain continents and areas. i wish pokemon go also went with that philosophy instead of randomly placing 20 different pokemon every square mile. so that you get most by never even leaving your hometown, imagine ash being able to do that and stay his whole life in pallet. i think pokemons should be way more area spesific, to the point that they could almost become local town mascots. "we have rattatas, town over has mankeys, goo us"

this choice allows the pokemon herds be bigger and more local, seemingly handplaced. yes transporting data from other games kind of... but animating etc all of them is lot of work... and you wouldnt be collecting anything anyway if you just transfer your 1000 pokemon and stomp through game.

my switch itch has gotten too much. theyre just making homeruns after homeruns currently. time to return to original team red.

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ipathsk8n7

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@PrpleTrtleBuBum: My post was very similar. There are not any elephants in north america and there are not any penguins in africa. If we were in the pokemon world we wouldn't have every pokemon available to us unless we traveled. It makes sense that every pokemon isn't available. I think they need to find a way to incorporate the national dex into the endgame eventually but there are multiple ways of getting that done. I think they will find a way. I hope so.

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randoisawesome

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Remember when Pokemon games had its tagline: Gotta catch them all?

This latest decision by Nintendo to delete pokemon from the universe marks the beginning of the end of Pokemon games. It's been a great run - 20+ years of a video franchise lasting is an impressive feat. But it will not outlast Nintendo's other powerhouse IPs Mario and Zelda.

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Valtair

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@randoisawesome: They ditched that tagline a long, long time ago. By long time I think they stopped using that line over 15 years ago. You're screaming the sky is falling, but sword/shield hasn't been released yet and we know of no sales numbers. The silent majority of people are going to buy the game and it will make a lot of money/they'll keep making more. The odds of pokemon dying is less then 1%, as nintendo isn't going to let the series die with their cash reserves unless they had a string of pokemon releases that all performed abysmally.

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DMZapp

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Edited By DMZapp

That's nice to hear, Masuda.

...yet you can't patch in the missing Pokemon into Sword and Shield post-release why, exactly?

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madsnakehhh

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Edited By madsnakehhh

@DMZapp: Probably tons of other things related to the game post launch like online game and even other Pokemon titles. I bet they don't have the time to animate 800+ characters so little Timmy can import his useless Rattata and probably never use it.

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randoisawesome

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Edited By randoisawesome

@DMZapp: because Nintendo has decided 1000+ pokemon is too much - rotating Pokemon around, featuring exclusives in only some versions, etc. gives Nintendo an opportunity to make even more profits. Imagine Pokemon games a few gens from now, where they split the games into 8 versions, and you need to buy each one to experience all the pokes. It used to be 2, then 4 as we saw with B/W/B2/W2 and S/M//US/UM.

A lot of Nintendo's decisions isn't that they cannot do it - it's how do we do it while extracting the most money from our customers?

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aiyobro

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people play these games to catch new pokemon anway

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atherworld

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I don't mind this for Sword/Shield. The problem is from now on. As in never again. This was a necessity that shows consumers are not into it. So they need to start thinking how they can incorporate the previous Pokemon in the next game.

Then again, do we really need new Pokemon every time? Why not a game that mixes and matches Pokemon from different regions (not because we imported them over)? Why not stop with the Fire/Water/Grass type and do like the Mystery Dungeon games do where we answers questions and get assigned a partner Pokemon? That'd breathe new life into the game. Compared to just adding new battle techniques like Mega Evolution, Z-Moves, and Dynamax.

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vega2505

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As long as they never leave Gardevoir behind, I'm happy.

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Ovirew

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In my personal opinion, it's not a big deal if the game doesn't have all over 800 monsters. It will still have plenty.

The simple fact of the matter is a lot of pokemon are redundant, and existed to flesh out new regions and be refreshing, so you didn't get ratatta every time, sometimes you'd get a bidoof; you didn't get pidgey every time, sometimes you got hoothoot.

Not every pokemon in each gen is good to bring along for the entire adventure, and some make better party members than others. Do you think anyone is bringing Beedrill along on the entire quest? Only the biggest Beedrill fans. And do you think many people will choose not to evolve a Kakuna and keep it from evolving til max level? Probably not, unless you like Kakuna (and like 3 weak moves, max) that much.

I've said it countless times before and I'll say it again. Each pokemon game should be treated like a self-contained adventure. You have old favorites, but they'll phase in and out. It's about the discovery of new pokemon in a new region, new favorites, with a few familiar ones sprinkled in.

Do you trade your leveled characters from the last Fire Emblem game to the new one? No. Why? Because they'd be OP and don't fit into the new story usually. Same deal here.

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JusstaDrop

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This kind of happened after Gold/Silver/Crystal aka Generation 2. You weren’t able to trade from Gameboy games to GBA titles. So, until Fire Red and Leaf Green were released and then Heart Gold and Soul Silver, the full roster of Gen 1/2 Pokémon were missing (unless Diamond and Pearl made it whole again before Gold and Silver remakes?) Point is, I can’t believe Gamefreak kept it going as long now as they have and I would assume of Sword and Shield are massive successes we can brace ourselves for maybe remakes of remakes to flesh out the missing roster.

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Jinzo_111887

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@jusstadrop: Yet with those, they planned for ways to actually get them as the data for them was still in the game. Examples include Naval Rock, Colosseum, and Gale of Darkness. With this, it sounds like they're not planning to implement that. Not that care about Pokemon as much as I once did, but for the sake of people who have remained fans for so long, I really do hope they actually patch them in at a later date.

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uchihasilver

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Dont know why they don't have just a sword and shield dex for say a few months and then patch in the rest =/ also why do we keep getting these gimmicks these days i liked the mega evolution idea but the rest have been kinda meh

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Jinzo_111887

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@uchihasilver: Probably can't think of new ways to keep this interesting. I kind of imagined this as a possibility long ago when I read about the giant Haunter known as Black Fog in the manga. People who watched the TV show might have considered dynamax as something they might see when that oversized Magikarp showed up in the Orange Islands arc. When you think about it, it was just a matter of time. Shame they can't go back to the Shadow Pokemon from Gale of Darkness. Those two games were a breath of fresh air for the series.

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Spaced92

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I don't actually care that much, it has to happen eventually but I've heard they are making another model for every pokemon for a feature as dumb as dynamaxing.

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JackNief

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I just want my Totodile/Charmeleon duo. Is that so much to ask for?

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NaturallyEvil

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That's fine, as long as Pokemon Home is free.

Honestly though, there's no reason they couldn't come up with a few shared animation and ability templates and then assign a few skins to each to fill in the ones they don't want to make unique. Or is the switch hardware "too good" for them to make a few re-skin characters for the sake of completeness?

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Edited By Stunningham

@NaturallyEvil: I don't think you know how animating or coding works... Especially since people would want whatever abilities the past ones had so it's not just creating a few ability templates. They don't want shared animations, it still requires a lot of setup and pre-planning to do and often times doesn't look good because the animation rig is not specific to the model. A big reason as well is that they want the world to feel alive so they want each pokemon to express themselves as uniquely instead.

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V1ndictive

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As a complete outsider to Pokemon, what's the issue? Did every game previous contain all pokemon ever? I'm asking genuinely 'cause I'm quite confused

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Junior_AIN

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@v1ndictive: Yes, they were all coded into the game. You couldn't catch them all in one game but could trade them in.

This time the pokemon won't be coded in so they will be effectively left out and impossible to be traded into sword and shield. As the trading has always been a major part of the game this turns out pretty bad in my opinion.

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uberDave

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Edited By uberDave

@Junior_AIN:

It also introduces several new problems:

It forces you to split your collection. You either keep PKMN in the old games, potentially for multiple generations or accept that your collection is going to be split. If a pokemon on your team gets a new move or a buff, you need to decide if that is worth breaking up the team.

I have well over a dozen teams build around megaevolution. The new games have no megas. ALL of those teams would be useless if I brought them forward.

Also, there's little point in building new teams, since you don't know how many of them will even be possible in the next gen. No point in gettig into the dynamax system because they will probably abandon it by the next games just like they did with megas and Z moves.

Oh, and since pokemon home is cloud based, you need to keep payig them to host your pokemon or you lose them. Forever.

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gamingdevil800

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It would be ok if a lot of the Pokemon weren't straight up garbo like Ice Cream Cone and trash bag pokemon. Imagine how ridiculous it would be if Capcom decided to create e.g. a Beef Steak Monster for Monster Hunter.

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atherworld

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@gamingdevil800: Capcom created Dustman for Mega Man. He's literally a dust buster vacuum cleaner robot guy. So quite frankly, I would not be surprised to see Beef Stake Monster show up.

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Jaxith

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@gamingdevil800: Sure... Just imagine if Monster Hunter had something like a giant angry pickle in it. The very idea is silly.

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atherworld

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@Jaxith: Only if you could name the pickle Rick.

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kingcam07

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Edited By kingcam07

@gamingdevil800: What an amazing false equivalency. There was a pokemon based on eggs, a pokeball, and a magnet in the first gen.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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@kingcam07: yeah its funny somehow people seem to think having 50 variations of a dog or a rat is great, but the second a clock or magnet shows up its too much. they are bit odd ones out but theyre absolutely necessary to make pokemon not just be "animal world"

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