'Pokémon Sword and Shield' Producer Explains Limited Pokémon Availability

There were some interesting developments from E3 2019 regarding Pokémon Sword and Shield. While fans got to see two new Pokémon, along with new characters and more details on the new battle system, the fact that only Pokémon found in the Galar Pokedex will be transferable using Pokémon Home had many in the community up in arms. The Nintendo 3DS entries in the franchise had allowed players to transfer over all their stored Pokémon when a new game was released.

While the decision to lock out certain Pokémon from being playable in Sword and Shield may be controversial, series producer Junichi Masuda explained the reasons behind it in a new interview with US Gamer.

pokemon sword and shield home vespiquen
Pokemon Company

"There are a couple of different parts to the thinking behind it, but really the biggest reason for it is just the sheer number of Pokémon," Masuda explained. "We already have well over 800 Pokémon species, and there's going to be more added in these games. And now that they're on the Nintendo Switch, we're creating it with much higher fidelity with higher quality animations. But even more than that, it's coming down to the battle system. We're making sure we can keep everything balanced and give all the Pokemon that appear in the games a chance to shine.

"We knew at some point we weren't going to be able to indefinitely keep supporting all of the Pokémon, and we just found that Sword and Shield would probably be a good point to go back and reevaluate what would be the best selection of Pokémon that appeal to the widest audience while keeping into consideration the balance of the battle system. It isn't just going to be all-new Pokémon in the Galar region Pokedex; there's still going to be a lot of favorites that fans will be able to bring over that they've adventured with previously. But yeah, it was pretty much just balancing and getting this optimal selection of Pokémon for the adventure we wanted to provide."

Of the more than 800 Pokémon currently in existence, fewer than 200 non-Galar Pokémon have been confirmed to be available in Sword and Shield. With only a one-year gap between Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee and Sword and Shield, it seems that Game Freak didn't have the time or resources to fully animate every Pokémon for the Gen 8 titles.

When asked about the selection process for the Gen 8 games, Masuda reiterated what he said during the first day of the Nintendo Treehouse Live stream.

"There are definitely a lot of factors. The primary focus was the setting of the game. We have the Galar Region, and we spent a lot of time discussing which Pokémon would make sense in that region," Masuda said. "We kind of selected from there. But we also selected types that make sure the battles are balanced and really provide this exciting kind of battle experience."

Pokémon Sword and Shield are scheduled for a November 15 release.

What do you think of Masuda's comments? Which Pokémon do you hope are selected to appear in Sword and Shield? Let us know in the comments section below.