Pokemon Sword & Shield Producer Says National Dex Will Not Be Expanded, Despite Controversy

Pokemon Sword & Shield Producer Says National Dex Will Not Be Expanded, Despite Controversy

After weeks of fan outrage and anger, the producer of Pokemon Sword & Shield, Junichi Masuda, released a statement yesterday addressing the decision to not have all Pokemon move forward into Sword & Shield. The statement is fairly short and the main takeaway is simple: They hear all the anger and disappointment, but they aren’t changing their plans to only have some Pokemon return from previous games.

Earlier this month at E3 2019, during a Nintendo stream, Masuda confirmed the bad news to viewers. Unlike previous games in the franchise, Sword & Shield would only allow some Pokemon to be imported from other generations and regions. This news spread fast across the Pokemon community and many fans were upset over the news. For some players who have been importing their favourite Pokemon for years from game to game, they were fearful this would no longer be possible.

In the statement released yesterday and during that initial announcement, Masuda assured fans that this wasn’t an easy decision to make.

Masuda feels that moving forward, this was for the best. Masuda also added that just because a Pokemon doesn’t appear in Sword & Shield, doesn’t mean it won’t appear in a future Pokemon game.

He also ended his short statement with a simple message to fans:

“We are pouring our hearts into these games, and we hope you will look forward to joining us on this new journey.”

This is something to remember. The people at Gamefreak who are working on this game are spending months and years of their lives developing this new Pokemon adventure. It’s ok to be disappointed or even a bit upset about the National Dex news. But don’t attack, harass or insult the people making this game. That accomplishes nothing and is a shitty way to treat people.

We still don’t know the full list of Pokemon in Sword & Shield and which creatures have made the cut. Until we learn that information, players will have to hope their favourite Pokemon has made it into the upcoming game.


  • Imma skip. The joy of bringing the same Pokémon with me for the journey is gone. Those little critters are more than half my age now. This takes away the draw for me.
    It was good while it lasted. It’s a shame this happened though. Can’t say I’m not disappointed.

    • Yeah I stopped playing for years when the original gen 3 games prevented transfer. I spent more time than I can count rebuilding my dex and then almost finishing the whole thing when there were about 720 pokemon.

      I’m not going through anything even slightly like that experience again. I’m skipping sword and shield

  • Having all Pokemon, to scale, on the overworld in ‘Let’s Go’ was so much more immersive. They just can’t go back from this anymore.

  • Kotaku need to stop being such saps when it comes to things like (anything related to) Nintendo.

    Gamefreak are a business and they’re putting out a new product on more powerful hardware, which seemingly has less content than before, the same outdated animations as before, less than stellar graphics (it’s no BotW let’s be honest) and so far the only innovation we’ve been shown is large Pokemon (so a single variable change at the code level). But don’t worry, they are sure to charge an extra $20 over the handheld titles for this giant leap forward….

    Why exactly are Kotaku not slamming them for this? Because of this?
    “We are pouring our hearts into these games, and we hope you will look forward to joining us on this new journey.”
    Pretty sure DICE said the same thing about SWBF2 but that didn’t stop Kotaku going to town.

  • When I read his full statement yesterday, I thought to myself “Never have I read so many words that amount to saying nothing at all”. Honestly, a middle finger emoji would’ve said more.

  • Gotta laugh, all this time Pokemon fans are asking for something different, bigger, and here they are making it and they start complaining again.

    • Is it different and bigger though? It looks like last gens (sun/moon) game on the switch. I give you the dynamax systems does make a pokemon bigger, but i don’t think that was what people meant.

    • I don’t really see the connection with what you are saying. This looks to be just like all the other Pokemon games only with a crap ton of features and pokemon removed.

      • My point being, we barely know what the game has to offer yet, give it a chance before jumping on the usual ‘hate it’ bandwagon.

        • I don’t see why they would come out and do a presentation that only tells us what we are not getting compared to previous games when we are only a few months out from launch.

          Surely if they had some good news they would share it to soften the blow of all the bad?

          • I think you need to take it on face value, we’ve only scratched the surface of what this game is. There will no doubt be another Direct between now and November to fill in some of the blanks.

  • And i must be alone in thinking the less pokemon in the game, THE BETTER.
    The full pokedex is fucking nuts.

    • Nah man I agree. As a fan who’s played XY six times, ORAS six times, SMUSUM four times, and the pre-3DS games too many times to count, I have used almost every Pokemon in the Pokedex at least once. I’m not even remotely phased that not every Pokemon will be in the game. I’m more concerned with the number of new Pokemon, or preferably the number of new regional variants like Alolan forms.

      My brother has also pointed out that it makes for a healthier, more varied competitive scene, as it’s less likely that overused staples will be around, thus forcing players to innovate and create new strategies.

      • They have done this in the past without flat out removing pokemon. For example in competitive they only allowed pokemon from that generations regional dex. You were still able to use any pokemon you wanted in single player if you transferred it across from other games.

      • Ive played ALL THE GAMES a little to alot. Trying to fill the pokedex that requires you to transfer them over from not just the previous game, but 2-3 gens back was a pain in the ass and i havent finished a pokedex in MANY GAMES because of that limitation.
        Im kinda glad its gone.

        • In Pokemon Sun/Moon they removed the national dex so even though you were able to technically use all the pokemon only a few hundred showed up for collection in the Pokedex.

          I don’t see how this is better than that.

          • I dont see how missing out on some pokemon is enough to boycott the games like alot of people are.
            But here we are.

          • I can’t speak for others but for me it’s not specifically about missing out, it’s that we’re missing out for no logical reason other than cutting corners. Storage requirements? No, the older 3DS cart could already fit everything and it had terrible optimisation. Improved models/animation? They don’t look any better than Let’s Go (which are mostly just the same ones since X/Y upscaled). Balance? As PiratePete said, that could easily be done with competitive restrictions.

            I wouldn’t even mind all that if they said they had to cut some corners so they could really focus on ‘X’ new/innovative feature but instead they’re just giving bullshit excuses, which really doesn’t fill me with hope about any new features.

          • “Bullshit excuses” have been thrown around alot, Except the excuses arent that, its just that you didnt get what you wanted.

          • Did you actually read the rest of what I wrote or just pick up on thise two words? What reason/excuse exactly have they given that you think isn’t bullshit as I pointed out above?

          • @sabrescene
            They made the choice to not have over 800 pokemon in the game.
            They have given their reasons.
            Then people complained, made shit up saying its the same old animations, old sprites, to validate their reasons why its bullshit that they arent doing over 800 pokemon and writing all that new code for a new system and implementing that.
            The reasons dont matter, its the fact you didnt get what you want.
            To paraphrase.
            Mastuda hears ya, Mastuda dont care.

          • So basically you didn’t read what I said, haven’t bothered to read anyone else’s issues (which you consider “making shit up” regardless of the facts) and then say it’s other people just being self-involved?

            Yeah ok… Fanboys gonna fanboy I guess.

            They have given their reasons… The reasons dont matter, its the fact you didnt get what you want.
            As I’ve said already, the reasons do matter, the reasons they gave though (improved animations and balance) are like saying we have less Pokemon because the great monkey emporer said so – it’s nonsense. They clearly haven’t improved the animations (look at the trailers alongside the 3DS games and try say they have with a straight face) while balance is a non-issue due to competitive restrictions *already* being in the games.

            they arent doing over 800 pokemon and writing all that new code for a new system and implementing that.
            What are you even talking about? All the Pokemon are already there, the 3D models were made around 6 years ago. New code doesn’t need to be written for each Pokemon, they would all share the same base code class with the specific variables (typing, moveset, etc) being set based on individual identifiers.

            In terms of coding, Pokemon is about as simple is it gets, if you don’t believe me, just look at all the fan games that Nintendo shuts down which are almost always more advanced and better optomised than modern Gamefreak titles.

            I’ll leave it there because I’m guessing you’ll only read half of this post like the others anyway..

          • @sabrescene
            Im done arguing with someone who constantly denotes anything new in the game, forgets that this game has multiplayer raids, and then acts like everything has already been done and single interger changes the bigger pokemon and nothing else.
            No wonder you think the reasons matter, you believe everything is a copy paste from previous games.

          • While not having every Pokemon available doesn’t particularly bother me, the animations not improving does. That’s the thing I’m most disappointed by. GameFreak future proofed themselves by making high-fidelity 3D models and then scaling them down for the 3DS games. They should’ve taken this opportunity to future-proof themselves with animations. They have fewer Pokemon to animate by not including all 820ish and so had the perfect chance to start doing exactly that. But they didn’t.

            GameFreak is notoriously lazy and deserve to be criticised as such. I just don’t think that missing Pokemon is the hill I’m willing to die on over proving it.

          • Pokemon has always been a game about collecting, the box literally says “gotta catch em all” not “gotta catch some of em” maybe that aspect of the game is not important to you but it’s important to a lot of other people.

            This game looks like a step backwards from Sun/Moon which themselves were a step backwards from previous games. To me this is enough justification to not bother paying 80 bucks for half a game.

          • The games look like a massive improvement and the most recent gens have been the best since the 2nd.
            Yet you think its a backwards step because you cant get em all in the one game.

          • I feel like you have already decided on what my opinions are before I even get a chance to say anything. Not being able to catch them all in one game is one of several reasons why it looks like a step backwards.

            What feature from the new games to you looks like a Massive Improvement?

            I completed Ultra Moon recently and I was very underwhelmed due to the enormous amount of handholding and refusing to allow you to explore off the beaten track. They also made you unable to use mega evolution until after you completed the game and in my opinion mega evolution was a much more interesting mechanic than Z-moves.

            I really loved the mechanics of X/Y but the game had no post game content which was a shame.

          • @piratepete
            Dont care about the hand holding, that part of the game isnt ‘for me’ nor is it for you, its for the NEW people. If you cant accept that, thats on you.
            Personally im kind of a fan of SOME of the hand holding it does. I prefer the fact that you have to do A LOT less grinding compared to older gens. I HATED having to have a HM slave, so im big fan of those improvements which alot of people have deemed ‘hand holding’.
            Didnt have a problem with Mega being put behind the endgame, especially because the end game is well, OPTIONAL. Z moves to me where just a way to give some pokemon a 5th move which opened up the tactics a little more.
            The open areas, the pokemon in the wild, the camera control. 3 of the 4 things i wanted from a new pokemon game are there. The only thing that isnt, is the fact im sick of 8bit era Pokemon cries/voices and i want to have every single pokemon to be Voice acted.
            Thats why i think the game looks like an improvement.
            The only thing that im not a fan of the most recent gens, has been the lack of a REAL rival. Someone that swoops in when you are in a bad shape to challenge you. All the rivals these days are just too nice.

          • Can’t reply to your extended comment so;
            The open areas, the pokemon in the wild, the camera control. 3 of the 4 things i wanted from a new pokemon game are there
            Those things aren’t really there though, they’re only part of ‘The Wild Zone’ which (I’ll admit I could be mistaken here) seems just like the gen 8 version of Safari Zone from what they’ve shown. A very cool gimmick but not really changes to the game as a whole.

          • They dropped “Gotta catch ’em all” as a tagline a while ago. It was introduced for the Western market, and arguably the series has always been more about bonding with Pokemon than checking them off a list.

  • We are sorry you aren’t happy with us removing half the pokemon.

    We aren’t planning on doing anything about it.

  • It makes sense though. The cost of maintaining every single pokemon and importing/updating their assets as well as making sure they are balanced against the new pokemon and whatever changes are made in the underlying battle system each game is not a trivial task. It is better to trim the pokedex and spend more time on new features for players.

    This doesn’t mean that players won’t be disappointed if their favourite pokemon don’t make the cut. Obviously that is the challenge for Gamefreak, to judge the pokemon on their uniqueness and utility and make the cuts appropriately.

  • All this talk of “just reuse the same models, no problem” is ignoring the changes brought by these new mechanics.
    Every pokemon can now go giant. Every giant pokemon now gets their moves turned into Z moves. I doubt they’re going to be the same as the 3ds versions. They have to go through every type of move available for every pokemon, including alllll the new ones.

  • Simple case of don’t like it don’t buy it. I for one am excited to play through this with my daughter.

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