Pokemon Sword and Shield Devs Address National Dex Controversy in New Interview: "In the End I Had No Choice"

Game Freak developers discuss Pokemon Sword and Shield's National Dex controversy and why it was necessary to cut the roster.

By Allisa James

July 13, 2019

In a recent interview with Japanese magazine Famitsu, Game Freak developers Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori address Pokemon Sword and Shield‘s recent National Dex controversy and why some of the iconic monsters had to be cut from the upcoming entry in the franchise.

According to Junichi Masuda:

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. 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]. 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.

Shigeru Ohmori also adds:

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. 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.

The two go on to say that bringing back Pokemon in future updates is currently uncertain as of now. They are looking into the option of reusing assets from Pokemon Sword and Shield. However, with the inclusion of gameplay mechanics such as Mega Evolution and Dynamax which affect all Pokemon, this would mean even more graphics production and balancing, so doing that would be difficult.

They also stated that even if certain Pokemon aren’t included in Pokemon Sword and Shield, they will have their chance to shine in future titles through Pokemon Home.

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It seems a lot of consideration was put into this issue and that Game Freak is seeking out additional avenues to represent every Pokemon in the franchise, even if they cannot be included in the current game. This isn’t the first time Game Freak has addressed the issue, although this interview delves into way more detail concerning the decision.

Pokemon Sword and Shield will be released for Nintendo Switch on November 15th. Meanwhile check out a write-up from one of our DualShockers own, in which he claims this will be the Pokemon title to reignite his passion for the series, which totes that “…we may have another classic generation on our hands.” You can preorder Sword here and Shield here.

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Allisa James

Senior Weekend Staff Writer for DualShockers. Loves JRPGs, artbooks, and anime.

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