Internet Reacts To Game Freak Laying Off 478 Pokemon

Internet Reacts To Game Freak Laying Off 478 Pokemon
Image: Unemployed Pokemon seen begging for job outside Gamefreak HQ

The Pokemon world is currently in shock after fans learned that the franchise has undergone its largest round of layoffs in its history, leaving 478 Pokemon unemployed.

Fears about the cuts have been coming for some time, following the news that not all Pokemon would be importable into Sword & Shield. The confirmation that Sword & Shield would only have a regional Pokédex and not a national one, meaning that Pokemon not included in the Galar Region could not be imported from another game, only solidified concerns.

In other words: hundreds of Pokemon, happily servicing Game Freak and millions of friends, fans and families around the world, have suddenly found themselves out of work. In total, 478 Pokemon were informed of their fates at the Game Freak offices in Tokyo, with some of the pocket monsters having featured in every regional Pokédex, thereby contributing to the franchise from as far back as February 27, 1996.

The affable Psyduck, pictured above, is one of three base Pokemon alongside Magnemite and Zubat who have been in every regional Pokedex. All three were informed by management some time ago that they were surplus to requirements for Sword & Shield‘s Galar region, although news of their dismissal only came to light recently.

The full list was compiled after users got their hands on a copy of Sword & Shield early, allowing fans to work their way backwards. A thread on ResetERA has compiled a list of all Pokemon, outlining which ones have retained a position in Sword & Shield and those who failed to make the cut:

Image: ResetERA (u/Joseki)

Another coloured form that might be easier to parse was also posted on Twitter, using a red/green/blue schema to indicate which Pokemon would feature in Galar, and those left behind.

The most startling of the cuts includes Bulbasaur/Ivysaur/Venasaur and Squirtle/Wartortle/Blastoise, leaving Charmander as the only remaining first generation starter Pokemon in Sword & Shield. Other notable cuts include the Geodude line, Abra and their evolutions, Shinx/Luxio/Luxray, Greninja, Wigglytuff, Wobbuffet, Lugia, Cubone, and many, many more.

Fans have been horrified by the news, particularly given some of the pocket monsters that will continue to inhabit the British-inspired world of Galar, like Trubbish. How a literal bin has continued to be employed through the summer over some of the series’ most beloved icons has left people stunned.

Image: ResetERA (u/Scarlet Spider)

An official account for Bulbasaur-themed propaganda said it best:


  • The no starters outside of Charmander is all sorts of garbage. Pokemon has gone nowhere since the early 2000s, but even then this is a new low.

    Pokemon I really wanted to jump back on this gen, but its so low effort that all my interest has died.

  • I don’t really understand the issue here, unless you are a competitive player and want to bring your team with you. Isn’t one of the main points of a new pokemon game to use new pokemon? Why would you want to keep using old ones in a new game, except in the case of competitive play? I’m genuinely curious.

    I mean sure it sucks if you’ve become accustomed to importing old pokemon into new games for the past 20+ years but I think this was going to happen eventually. There’s now about 1000 pokemon and at some point they needed to draw the line as it just becomes impractical to include all of them in every game.

    • I’ve known some people who complained about newer games being easier, etc… Meanwhile they imported a whole host of Pokemon from previous games as soon as they could.

      Witnessing them unable to connect the two was really quite something to behold.

      • The games are far easier even if you import nothing. You gain 3x the XP you did in previous games due to the experience share so you are always way overlevelled for everything.

        In Gen 5 they added an optional hard mode which people thought was a step in the right direction but in Gen 6 they abanoned all that kind of thing. They even stripped battle frontier out of the remake of Ruby and Sapphire. When asked about why they had made the game easier they said this:
        We created a “balanced” game that was suited for our time and age, where everyone is very busy and young people have various means of entertainment. Using smartphones and other devices they can access a great number of games, so the time they dedicate to a single game is less than in the past.

      • I haven’t seen any analysis of this outside of aesthetics and gen, though. Pokemon have types, relative strengths, movesets… maybe the Char- line got kept because they were light on fire types. Maybe Trubbish is in there because there’s an early-game route that in an urban area, or they needed a low-to-mid tier poison type. Maybe some of the cuts are because they’ve started planning the next game, they’re planning on having as little overlap between this game’s regional Dex and the next game’s because of how many people think that the regional dex means their old favourites have been deleted, and the next’s game region is a perfect fit for a few of the pokemon.

        Maybe this leak’s a troll, in which case it super worked.

        There’s a lot of clever pokemon people, and with a leak like this I’d half expect them to be working out the probable distribution of the pokemon, and they’re mostly freaking out that they didn’t implement Sandslash.

        (I would bet Actual Money the reason the Pokemon Bank exists is so that they can support a roster of 1000+ pokemon while only actually implementing 400 at a time. I would also bet Actual Money that the next gen after Sword and Shield will not have Sobble or Grooky in its regional dex.)

        • Look, love the energy, but let’s not make Trubbish the hill to die on. There’s plenty of poison types for low-to-mid areas that could have fit the bill (Muk? Nidorino/Nidorina? although the last line I’m very happy to see gone) that didn’t resemble a literal bin.

    • A fair few just want to transfer our collection to the latest generation after the main story is finished. It’s pretty sucky that now there’s a segregation between two different platforms.

      Now we’re going to have to wait until the next next new Pokemon game (because another Let’s GO is likely the next one) to have the chance that maybe the 478 will be included so we can get them off of our old 3DS cartridges.

    • Quite often in newer games older pokemon can get a new lease on life by receiving new moves. Its fun to go back and use something that was garbage 3 generations ago but is good now because it is able to learn some new moves that were introduced in the current generation.

      Also some pokemon get their stats tweaked between generations to make them more or less viable.

      People also like bringing across trophy pokemon like shinies which I think is fair.

      There are plenty of good reasons for having them and no real reason to cut them when you consider how little effort game freak puts in to animating them in the first place. Its not like they have to redo tons of complex animations when the in game moves just cause the pokemons model to wiggle back and forth slightly before the energy beam spawns in mid air.

      If you can manage 800+ pokemon on the 3DS you can manage a similar number on the Switch.

      • As I said, there are now around 1000 pokemon and at some point it just becomes impractical to include every single one in every new game. This was going to happen eventually and they’ve just chosen this generation of games to draw the line, which they were going to need to do at some point.

    • Ignoring that their reasoning for the cut was piss poor, in my personal case I have a 15 year old Bulbasaur. I know its really juvenile, but there is something nice about the idea of your pokemon going on this grand adventure over the years. This just feels more like everything I hate about Pokemon Go, this whole “throw everything old away, it is no longer relevant” mentality kinda just undermines what I loved about Pokemon since the days of my bootleg gameboy copy.

    • Because sentimentality. People who are fans of whatever Pokemon they resonate with have no incentive to buy this now. I love Psyduck. Not out of any competitive reason, just because he’s a cute, funny lil fucker with anxiety issues (which I unfortunately relate to). After getting my daughter a Pokemon tattoo for her 18th b/day (Umbreon if you’re curious) she asked me to get one too because Pokemon was our “dad n daughter activity”. So now I have a Psyduck tattoo. Not because it’s competitive or new, but because it has meaning to us. Part of the story of my family in its own small way. Now with how advanced and complex games are, telling me they couldn’t squeeze them all in is BULLSHIT. Even if I’m wrong, there’s plenty of Pokemon nobody gives 2 shits about (I’m sure the devs have enough stat tracking to figure out which) and you sure as shit don’t ditch the OG starters, again because they’re fan favourites. Don’t tell me what fans want doesn’t count either, because fans without the things they love about a game are just EX-consumers. Something no company can afford to have.

      • Then, those 151 battle to the death! The Poké Games! Pokélander! Poké McRoyale w/Cheese!

        But seriously, f#@k that lamp.

  • Hmm…not sure how I feel on this one. On one hand I play new pokemon games to use the new pokemon…on the other hand they’ve removed some really iconic ones.

    Maybe if there was more logic and keeping more of the favorites in there I’d be happier.

    No idea if/when I’ll buy it….maybe down the track on sale.

  • I don’t get why everyone is so bothered? There’s a few odd cuts (Bulbasaur, Chansey, Dragonite). But I don’t really care. I’m more interested in the new additions.

    • That’s because of the “I’m” part in “I’m more interested in the new additions.”. Other people have different wants. In my case I don’t want to be forced to spend money on Home forever or lose my pokemon. And I want to be able to use my favourite pokemon which almost all of which were cut. So while I too like getting new pokemon, losing the old if I don’t pay up and being unable to use in game firmly kills the desire to buy any new mainline games.

    • If I wanted to be savaged by duck who’s a jerk, I’d play that game where the duck attacks everyone in town and hides their personal belongings.

      Duck Game.

  • This makes no sense to me, shouldn’t the switch game cartridges have more space than the 3DS ones? Why did they feel the need to add 151 or so new pokemon to every game, it was bound to happen eventually.

    • It’s about the time it takes to animate them all (which I find odd, the animation isn’t particularly advanced).

  • Pokemon has gone downhill since gen 5, and this is definitely the worst yet. I would have bought this game otherwise (and a switch to play it on).

    I’ll just stick with the DS games.

    • They want Pokemon to be more of a amusement park ride than an adventure these days. That’s why the vast majority of the game is on rails with a group of NPC friends that dont let you wander off the path.

  • Might have been better if they’d wiped the slate clean and had 150 all new Pokemon, but I’m not fussed. I like the idea of playing a mainline game and trying different things to what I’ve done in the past.

  • They kept in some absolute shit pokemon that everyone thinks are ugly

    But cut some of the more fun ones you could actually imagine wandering a fantasy world like pokemon

    What the fuck, its like they heard people shitting on some of the worse designed pokemon and got all butthurt and decided to keep them in just to spite us

    Im not against them cutting the roster down for a newer generation of pokemon games but these choices make no god damn sense

  • It’s fairly industry standard to use short term contract workers. Clearly these Pokemon were only contracted for a handful of games, and now the work is ended there’s no role for them moving forward.

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