Pokemon Sword / Shield Dev Understands You're Upset About National Dex Drama

Pokemon Sword and Shield are coming to Nintendo Switch this November. The games will be compatible with the new Pokemon Home service when it launches next year, allowing players to import their older monsters to the titles–albeit with some restrictions. As we learned during E3 2019, players won’t be able to transfer every old Pokemon over, and future games similarly may not support every monster–a controversial decision that has resulted in backlash from many fans. Now series producer Junichi Masuda has responded to the controversy.

In a message shared on the official Pokemon website, Masuda thanks fans for their love of the series and reiterates the decision to exclude Pokemon from the titles wasn’t made lightly. “Just like all of you, we are passionate about Pokemon and each and every one of them is very important to us. After so many years of developing the Pokemon video games, this was a very difficult decision for me,” Masuda said.

Despite the fact some Pokemon won’t be transferrable to Sword and Shield, Masuda assures that those monsters won’t be excluded from the series permanently. “I’d like to make one thing clear: even if a specific Pokemon is not available in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, that does not mean it will not appear in future games.”

Masuda first revealed that some Pokemon wouldn’t be compatible with Sword and Shield during at Treehouse Live demo at E3 2019. Masuda acknowledged this decision was a change from previous games and said it was ultimately made in part due to development time. As he explained through an interpreter:

“In previous games that worked with the Pokemon Bank service, you were able to–for example, in Sun and Moon–bring over any Pokemon, even if they weren’t in the Alola Pokedex. But with the transition to the Nintendo Switch hardware, being much more powerful [and] allowing us to be much more expressive with each of the individual Pokemon…at Game Freak we really spent a lot of time thinking about what the best way to move forward was, really preserving the quality of all the different Pokemon while also taking into account the battle balance, having so many different Pokemon available, all within a limited development time so we don’t keep fans waiting too long for every new entry in the series. And after a lot of discussion, we decided to come to a new direction.”

Sword and Shield launch for Switch on November 15. The games take place in the new Galar region. We don’t yet know how many monsters will be in the Galar Pokedex, but we’ve already gotten a glimpse at a variety of new and returning Pokemon. The games also introduce a new battle mechanic called Dynamaxing, which allows you to supersize a Pokemon for three turns during certain matches. For more on the titles, be sure to check out our Pokemon Sword and Shield pre-order guide.

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