Pokemon Sword and Shield producer Junichi Masuda sparked much controversy earlier this year at E3 2019, when he revealed that the upcoming Switch titles will not feature every Pokemon from the series. This marks a dramatic change from past installments, and now we’ve learned a bit more on why developer Game Freak came to that decision.
Speaking to Game Informer, Masuda revealed that the decision to scale back Sword and Shield’s Pokedex was made in part to free up the development team to work on other ideas for the games.
“Up until now, we’ve been proud we’ve been able to include so many Pokemon in the games, but as a result of that, there’s actually been quite a few features or gameplay ideas that we’ve had to abandon in the past,” Masuda said. “Going forward, thinking about the future of Pokemon, we want to prioritize all those new gameplay ideas, new ways to enjoy the game, and want to challenge ourselves at Game Freak to create new ways to enjoy the game. That’s really what drove the decision for this new direction.”
We recently got a glimpse at a couple of new features in the games, such as camping and curry cooking, and it appears that’s only the tip of the iceberg. “We have a lot of awesome new challenges that we haven’t even revealed in Sword and Shield,” Masuda said. “We want to continue to come up with these new features, so we figured this was the best path forward for the franchise”
While it’s disappointing that Sword and Shield won’t support every Pokemon in the series, Masuda reiterates that cut monsters will still return in future games, so they aren’t gone permanently. “You can look forward to seeing Pokemon that don’t appear in these games appearing in different regions in future games,” Masuda assures.
You’ll also still be able to store all of your old Pokemon in the upcoming Pokemon Home cloud service, which will launch for Switch and smartphones early next year. “We’re really designing it as the place for all of your Pokemon together, so it’s really important for the future of the franchise, and it’ll be more than even Pokemon Bank as a place to gather all your Pokemon together in one spot,” Masuda said.
Pokemon Sword and Shield launch for Nintendo Switch on November 15. We’ll learn a bit more about the games very soon, as The Pokemon Company will be broadcasting a 24-hour animal cam-style stream starting this Friday, October 4, which will showcase “live” footage from an in-game location. For more on the games, be sure to check out our Pokemon Sword and Shield pre-order guide.