An unexpected Pokemon highlights some of the fears about a controversial change in Pokemon Sword & Shield. Earlier this summer, Game Freak announced the controversial decision that not every Pokemon could be transferred into Pokemon Sword & Shield, the upcoming pair of Pokemon games for the Nintendo Switch. In essence, this means that players can't "catch 'em all" and complete their National Pokedex, a running list of every Pokemon available in the franchise. Instead, players will only be able to transfer Pokemon found in the Galar Pokedex, the regional list of Pokemon that can be caught or otherwise obtained in Pokemon Sword & Shield. Fans freaked out about the decision and even launched #BringBackNationalPokedex and #AllPokemonMatter hashtag campaigns to protest the news. Last week, Game Freak director Junichi Masuda released a statement promising that Pokemon not available in Pokemon Sword & Shield would appear in future games.
Over the weekend, a post on /r/Pokemon highlighted one of the potential issues with not allowing every Pokemon to be used in a game. A fan pointed out that the Pokemon Glameow and Purugly haven't appeared in any Regional Pokedex since Pokemon Diamond & Pearl. If the Pokemon don't appear in the Galar Pokedex (the list of Pokemon available in Pokemon Sword & Shield), it will have been 14 years since the Pokemon has appeared in a Regional Pokedex. While this wasn't a problem in older Pokemon games since Pokemon could be transferred or traded into newer games, Glameow and its evolution show that Pokemon have gone decades without appearing in a game's regional Pokedex.
Of course, there are a few big caveats to using Glameow as an example as to why abolishing the National Pokedex is a mistake. For one, Glameow and Purugly were available to catch as post-game content in several more recent Pokemon games. Also, not featuring a Pokemon in a Regional Pokedex wasn't an issue before Pokemon Sword & Shield. Not putting Glameow in older Regional Pokedexes simply wasn't a problem before now, and it's not equivalent to use examples of past Pokemon games as evidence that a Pokemon could wait 14+ years between appearing in Pokemon games.1comments
While frustration among Pokemon fans are high, there's still over four months left before Pokemon Sword & Shield's release. We still don't know how many Pokemon species will appear in the Pokemon games, nor do we know if there are some other twists waiting for fans in the months ahead. In the meantime, players will have to wait and see whether their favorite Pokemon appears in Pokemon Sword & Shield, or if they'll have to wait until the next Pokemon game before they can catch and use their favorite Pokemon once again.
Pokemon Sword & Shield comes out on November 19th.