After 23 years of making Pokemon, Game Freak has finally reached the point where they can’t fit them all in a game.
Pokemon Sword and Shield will be the first mainline Pokemon game to lack support for every single existing species. You won’t be able to catch them in-game or transfer them to Galar from other games. Sword and Shield mark the point where the individual Pokemon count has exceeded 1000, and Game Freak is uncertain as to whether or not they can ever have every Pokemon in one game again. This concern extends to both asset creation and balancing.
“The total number of Pokemon has exceeded 1000, including new Pokemon and the various forms of existing Pokemon,” Game Freak producer Junichi Masuda told Famitsu. “As a result, it has become extremely difficult to make Pokemon with a new personality play an active part and to balance their compatibility.”
Famitsu asked about the possibility of adding more of Pokemon‘s back catalogue into Sword and Shield post-launch – perhaps as another game launched, and more Pokemon models became available for use. Masuda said this was “undecided”.
But it’s not all bad news for fans that still want to catch em’ all. The upcoming Pokemon Home will still be able to keep track of all your Pokemon, and will likely receive updates in the future so it can continue to do so. Pokemon Go will probably also update with current generations, given a few more years. Finally, there’s a chance that, with unlockable Pokemon from Max Raid Battles and time and weather-affected spawns in the wild, all the Pokemon in the Galar Pokedex will be available in Sword and Shield, no transfers required. It’s not utter completion, but you can still technically 100% the game with only a few online trades.
It’s a turbulent time for Pokemon, but it’s better to rip this band-aid off sooner rather than later. With all the changes Pokemon Sword and Shield have made to the Pokemon formula, players are sure to remember their time in the Galar region fondly – even if they had to leave some of their old pals behind.