In a new interview with Game Informer, Pokémon series producer Junichi Masuda spoke further on his E3 revelation that not every Pokémon species from past games will be available in Pokémon Sword and Shield. After this news sparked controversy among Pokémon fans online, Game Freak released a statement doubling down on their decision, explaining that implementing the sheer number of Pokémon the company has created over the past two decades into the games just wasn’t feasible.
Masuda reiterated how difficult the decision process was for the parties involved—which included The Pokémon Company, Nintendo, and Game Freak. He explained that, in the past, to keep every Pokémon species in games often meant sacrificing “new features or gameplay ideas.” For Sword and Shield, and the future of the franchise in general, Masuda wants to focus more on these abandoned ideas and “new ways to enjoy the game.” He said this struggle is “what drove the decision for this new direction.”
While he didn’t reveal any new information about which Pokémon will appear in Sword and Shield to Game Informer, Masuda reassured that any Pokémon who don’t make the cut for Sword and Shield will for sure return in future games. In terms of their decision process, he discussed how one of the main factors in deciding which Pokémon will appear in the games was whether or not they looked like they could naturally live in the Galar region.
As for future games that the missing Pokémon will return in, Masuda alluded to the upcoming app Pokémon Home, which will allow players to store and transfer their Pokémon from past games. Masuda believes it “will serve as a launching pad to gather them all there and then embark on future adventures.” Not much is known about Pokémon Home aside from its 2020 release yet, but Masuda explained it will be “more than even Pokémon Bank as a place to gather all your Pokémon together in one spot.”
Sword and Shield will launch on the Nintendo Switch on November 15.