“Of course I wanted to be able to bring every Pokemon if I could, but it was also a decision that I had to make eventually,” says producer Junichi Masuda.
Pokemon Sword and Shield have become the unfortunate pre-launch victims of controversy. When Game Freak announced that the games would not have support for every single Pokemon species in existence (a number that will likely be over 900 soon), people weren’t happy about it, and they’re letting Game Freak know. Nor were they particularly happy about the response issued by the developer about the same.
That said, recently, while speaking with Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda – longtime custodian of the series and producer of Sword and Shield – and Shigeru Ohmori – director of Sword and Shield – spoke about the topic, and mentioned once again that though the decision was not an easy one to make, and though they would ideally like to reverse it, the sheer number of Pokemon species they now have to work with makes it very tough to do so. Ultimately, according to them, this is something that was inevitably going to happen sooner or later.
Masuda also mentioned having to create new models and animations from the ground up for all Pokemon species (so it doesn’t look like they’re reusing the 3DS animations after all, and had to remake them from scratch to get to a higher level of quality), and how that played a role in influencing this decision as well.
“With the move to Nintendo Switch, it became possible to recreate Pokemon with more beautiful and livelier animations but on the other hand it took more time to develop,” said Masuda (translations via DualShockers). “Another point is that the total number of Pokemon has exceeded 1000, including new Pokemon and form changes. As a result, in addition to adapting to changes in hardware in order to create quality graphics, it has become very difficult to adjust the balance of each Pokemon’s unique skills. That is the reason for this decision, and why we have decided it will be difficult to have all Pokemon appear in future works.”
“This decision is personally very sad [for me],” he added. “Of course I wanted to be able to bring every Pokemon if I could, but it was also a decision that I had to make eventually. In the end, I had no choice but to prioritize quality.”
Game director Shigeru Ohmori – who also directed the preceding Pokemon Sun and Moon – also chimed in. “Even in Pokemon Sun and Moon it was quite the difficult situation to bring in every Pokemon, but then we switched to Nintendo Switch and the models had to be rebuilt from scratch so we had to make some decisions,” he said. “However, although there are limitations to the amount of Pokemon you can play with, Pokemon Sword and Shield‘s content such as the Wild Area and story are quite extensive.”