This week, we learned that not all Pokémon will appear in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield – news that was unsurprisingly met with a negative reaction from longtime fans of the pocket monster-catching series.
In an interview held since that announcement was made, producer Junichi Masuda has explained the reasoning behind Game Freak’s decision.
It not only came from the challenges in recreating and animating the more than 800 species of Pokémon in high-definition, but with the added hurdle of balancing them all when adding new gameplay mechanics to the battle system.
“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 to USGamer.
“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 Pokémon 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 Pokédex; 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.”
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield will release exclusively for Nintendo Switch worldwide on November 15th.