Game Freak recently made the controversial announcement that Pokemon Sword and Shield would not be supporting every single Pokemon species ever. Instead, the game will only let you use the species that will be included in the Galar region’s own Pokedex- which will include all the new Galar Pokemon, and some from older games.
The announcement has been met with a hefty amount of backlash from the Pokemon community. For a series that has always been all about “catching them all”, it’s a bit strange for its newest instalment to not let its players do just that. But according to Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda, producer on the game, this was an inevitability.
Speaking in an interview with US Gamer, Masuda said that Game Freak had always known that there’d eventually come a time when they’d have to stop supporting all Pokemon in a single game. And the reason for that? There’s literally too many of them. With the new Pokemon being added with Sword and Shield, there will now be nearly a thousand Pokemon species in total, and for the game to support all of them, it’d have to have animations, voices, and numerous other data for every single one of them.
“There are a couple of different parts to the thinking behind it, but really the biggest reason for it is just the sheer number of Pokemon,” said Masuda. “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. But even more than that, it’s coming down to the battle system. We’re making sure we can keep everything balanced and give all the Pokemon that appear in the games a chance to shine.”
“We knew at some point we weren’t going to be able to indefinitely keep supporting all of the Pokemon,” he continued, “and we just found that Sword and Shield would probably be a good point to go back and reevaluate what would be the best selection of Pokemon that appeal to the widest audience while keeping into consideration the balance of the battle system. It isn’t just going to be all-new Pokemon in the Galar region Pokedex; there’s still going to be a lot of favorites that fans will be able to bring over that they’ve adventured with previously. But yeah, it was pretty much just balancing and getting this optimal selection of Pokemon for the adventure we wanted to provide.”