Pokemon Director Explains Limited Pokedex in Pokemon Sword & Shield

For the first time in years, players won't be able to "catch 'em all" in a Pokemon game. Earlier this week, Junichi Masuda, a longtime Game Freak employee that has worked on every main series Pokemon game dating back to Pokemon Red & Blue, revealed that not every Pokemon would be available in Pokemon Sword & Shield. In a reversal from past generations of games, players will not be able to transfer every species of Pokemon in Pokemon Sword & Shield. If a Pokemon species doesn't appear in the "Galar Pokedex," a registry of all the Pokemon native to the Galar region, players won't be able to bring their Pokemon in using the new Pokemon Home cloud service.

The news came as a shock for many Pokemon fans, many of whom were furious that the franchise was seeming walking back its collection aspect and fearful that they wouldn't be able to use their handpicked team of Pokemon to clear the game. In a recent interview with USGamer, Masuda explained that the decision was made in Pokemon Sword & Shield to focus on quality over quantity - which meant emphasizing high quality Pokemon animations over sticking every Pokemon species in the game. "The biggest reason for it is just the sheer number of Pokemon," Masuda explained to USGamer. "We already have well over 800 Pokemon species and there's going to be more added in these games. And now that they're on the Nintendo Switch, we're creating it with much higher fidelity with higher quality animations." Masuda also cited a desire to balance the battle system to ensure every Pokemon had its chance to shine as a reason for the change.

In addition, Masuda told the Japanese magazine Famitsu that no decision had been made about whether to add more Pokemon to Pokemon Sword & Shield using post-launch patches. However, any Pokemon that can't be used in Pokemon Sword & Shield can still be used in Pokemon Home, which will also allow players to actively trade Pokemon without using a game.

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Pokemon Sword & Shield will still have a ton of Pokemon in it. Over 170 species have appeared in previews for the game so far, including plenty of fan-favorites like Pikachu and Lucario. We'll have a catalog of all the confirmed species from the Galar region in the near future.

Pokemon Sword & Shield comes out November 15th.