Game Freak Responds On Backlash Over Missing Pokémon In Sword & Shield

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At E3 this year, Game Freak director and overall Pokémon spokesman Junichi Masuda announced during a Treehouse Live segment that not all Pokémon would be coming to the upcoming Sword & Shield titles. This meant, for the first time, that Pokémon from previous generations won’t all be in a new generation, so old Pokémon players have been keeping can’t be transferred as they actually aren’t programmed into it.

After an intense backlash over this from series fans who had been carrying Pokémon with them through trading, Pal Park, and cloud-based services over the years, Game Freak has responded for the first time since announcing it. The post, written by Masuda, acknowledges the fervor but stops short of saying they will do anything about it.

“Just like all of you, we are passionate about Pokémon and each and every one of them is very important to us,” Masuda writes. “After so many years of developing the Pokémon video games, this was a very difficult decision for me. I’d like to make one thing clear: even if a specific Pokémon is not available in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, that does not mean it will not appear in future games.”

Despite speculation that more Pokémon would be added post-launch, the blog post doesn’t come anywhere close to insinuating that, meaning it likely won’t happen. The problem, as Masuda explained at E3, is getting all of these Pokémon models and animations to support the new features like Dynamax is just too much work for the game launching this year.

My personal speculation is that Game Freak explored the possibility of adding more Pokémon after launch and deemed it infeasible or, at very least, not worth it. I would not be shocked if, like a semi-related fighting game, they make the inclusion of all Pokémon a selling point for a future generation. For now, though, at best you can hope your favorite made it. If they didn’t, tough luck.

I’ve always preferred to make teams of brand new Pokémon for each new generation and almost never keep old Pokémon to bring forward. I tend to approach Pokémon like Mega Man bosses: I don’t care about old ones, and each new game should have a full set of new ones. There are many that prefer to stick to the ones they grew up with and like and don’t care for newer designs.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield release on Nintendo Switch on November 15.