Not All Pokémon Can Be Imported Into Sword And Shield

Not All Pokémon Can Be Imported Into Sword And Shield

Pokémon fans eager to see the previous seven generations of pocket monsters popping up in Pokémon Sword and Shield received disappointing news yesterday when producer Junichi Masuda announced that only Pokémon present in the new Galar region Pokédex can be imported into the upcoming Switch games.

Pokémon Sword and Shield kicked off yesterday’s Nintendo Treehouse Live presentation at E3, with producer Junichi Masuda and game director Shigeru Ohmori exploring the game’s vast explorable overland and its array of free range Pokémon battles. The presentation ended with a breathtaking four-player battle against a gargantuan Steelix.


After the battle ended, Masuda delivered the bad news. While the recently-announced Pokémon Bank replacement, Pokémon Home, was built to be a service that collects all of players’ pocket monsters in one place, not every pocket monster players store in Pokémon Home will be able to be transferred into Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Unlike previous entries in the long-running monster RPG series, which allowed Pokémon from multiple generations to be traded and imported, Pokémon Sword and Shield draws the line at Pokémon appearing in the Galar region Pokédex.

“In previous games that worked with the Pokémon Bank service, you were able to, for example in Sun and Moon, bring over any Pokémon even if they weren’t in the Alola Pokédex,” Masuda said via a translator during the presentation.

“With the transition to the Nintendo Switch hardware, with it being much more powerful and allowing us to be much more expressive with each of the individual Pokémon, and now we’re well over 800 Pokémon species in the games.”

According to Masuda, developer Game Freak spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to move forward, taking into account battle balance and development time, and came up with a new direction—limiting Pokémon imports to those in Sword and Shield’s specific Pokédex.


It bears mentioning that we have no idea about the size of the Galar region Pokédex is at this point, or how inclusive it is. We’ve seen a handful of new Pokémon and a smattering of old favourites so far, but not enough to give any sense of scale. Game director Shigeru Ohmori followed up Masuda’s comments with assurances that completing the Galar region Pokédex will be no small feat.

“In the Galar region you’re going to find a lot of Pokémon, including a bunch of Pokémon that no one has discovered yet, so the games are definitely chock full of content,” Ohmori said via translator. You can watch the entire exchange in the video below (starting at 1:40:08).

Basically what Masuda is saying is that rather than update every single one of the more than 800 existing Pokémon with new expressions and animations to fit in the new games, Game Freak decided to limit the scope in order to reduce development time.

It makes a certain amount of sense, but that doesn’t mean fans have to be happy about it. They are not. The Pokémon Reddit is filled with threads and comments from upset players. Some are calling for the games to be delayed until all of the pocket monsters can be added. Others suspect the limited scope is due to greed, and the Pokemon available to transfer could increase through downloadable content or in later iterations of the game.

My favourite Reddit thread so far is one by Redditor Saltypuddingmountain titled “Gotta Catch a limited variety for the purpose of a very sudden focus on game balance.” Exquisite.

While I will be perfectly happy with Scorbunny and friends, I understand why the prospect of leaving behind digital pocket monster friends that have been by players’ sides for decades can be upsetting. We’ve reached out to The Pokémon Company and Nintendo for comment on this new direction and will update the post should either reply.


    • They sure did! In Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon you can use every single Pokemon that existed when the game was made.

  • Yep, I was quite unhappy with it when I read the news on Serebii. It’s not the customer’s fault that there’s over 800 of the little blighters now, we’re just catching what they put into the game.

    I’m sure people don’t expect us to be able to catch every single Pokemon ever, but being able to migrate all that we have from the 3DS to the Switch is expected. Otherwise we’re going to have to possibly pay to keep them eternally stored in the cloud until they make another game.

    • Gonna make a reply instead of an Edit.

      As far as I remember, EVERY Pokemon’s model in Sun/Moon was actually in HD to future proof themselves, then they were scaled down to the 3DS’ resolution. They even included complete walk / run animations. Let’s Go actually used all of the exact models from Sun/Moon but added a bit of shading. So it’s not like they have to recreate them all, but I’m also not saying it would just be an “easy to do job” either.

      They just want this out during the Christmas shopping period, no other reason.

  • As an adult who has been playing these games since I was a child. The thing that keeps me coming back is the attachment to my Pokemon. Some of these guys I’ve been keeping around since the GBA days.
    I feel like I’d prefer bad animations and expressions if I could have my old friends with me.

  • It gets a bit morbid that the region has strict import controls, that means that they are treating exotic pokemon as biosecurity risks at the border. Do they stop people from entering at the border, transmit pokeballs back, crush the occupied pokeballs or release the pokemon and give it a lethal injection? Thats an episode of Border Security I would like to see.

  • I’m fairly certain the majority of fans would be more than happy to have it delayed to add them if that’s the actual issue, but I’m pretty certain they’re just bullshitting with that as the reason

  • What a load of absolute garbage. They are just going to use it as a selling point for Ultra Sword and Shield down the line and try to paint themselves as the good guys for giving us what should have been in at launch.

    Nobody would ever choose having slightly more expressive Pokemon over having their favourites in the game.

    • Pretty sure they are doing it to get the game out in a reasonable time frame. Adding in hundreds more pokemon and all the animations to go with them would be a huge task. At some point you’ve got to stop the feature creep you’ll end up like that Duke Nukem game.

  • Man you people are entitled.

    Do you expect to be able to tranfer Diablo 1 characters into Diablo 2, or 2 into 3?

    What about characters from any other game into its sequals?

    What is wrong with a company making a brand new game as stand alone so to speak?

    You still have your previous games and can play them to have fun with those Pokemon.

    Enjoy this new entry for what it is and have fun catching all new Pokemon.

    A fresh start as it were.

  • Their reasoning for this decision seems like such bullshit to me. If it’s purely about focusing animation time on a limited number, why do we not have following animations? On top of that, I guarantee it won’t have all the Pokemon of the Kanto region (plus Melton/Melmetal) even though all of those are animated on the Switch already.

    Alternatively if it’s about balance, why not just add a new battle class that’s restricted to the regional dex?

    Really feels more like the reason is simply a combination of laziness and wanting to simplify the games even further because game freak still think children are morons.

  • I understand that the game mechanics can be pretty important for some people, but I guarantee that the majority and I mean the freaking large majority of the player just want this game to have some fun, not focus on competitive battle. Because of this argument, we don’t have more new mega-evo, not all types of eevolution and now not even all pokemons…

  • I’ve played every gen since the start and I’m not going to condemn this as a bad move until I know more details.

    One of the biggest problems in the last few generations has been power creep, culminating in Mega Evolutions on already overpowered pokemon then Ultra Beasts with ridiculous minmax stats.
    I hated Dynamaxing when I first saw it but it has a real chance to make underused pokemon shine useful again.
    Also, in limiting how many old mons are brought in from old games, IT FREES UP SPACE FOR MORE NEW POKEMON. Hopefully they make good use of the opportunity.

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