It's been a long wait for the next mainline Pokémon RPG title. Gen seven saw the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon in late 2016. Shortly after, Nintendo unveiled their brand new console: The Nintendo Switch. It seemed all but a given that a new Pokémon title was in the works for the platform. The company has given us some good glimpses into the game these past few months, and hype levels for Gen eight couldn't be higher. But... there's a catch. Recently, it was revealed that Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield would be doing away with the National Dex features from past Pokémon titles. This news brought a lot of fan criticism and backlash all over the Internet, all directed at Sword/Shield and developer Game Freak.


To give some context, it's important to understand what exactly the National Dex is. In past Pokémon games, Pokémon from even older titles could be transferred to newer ones. The idea behind this was to get Pokémon from other regions into the game, allowing players to "catch 'em all". With the development of Sword and Shield, this has now pushed the series' total Pokémon count to over 1000. Needless to say, that's a whole lot of additional modeling and balancing work that would need to be done on Game Freak's part. When the news dropped in the Famitsu interview, Game Freak producer Junichi Masuda explained how difficult it would be to get support for every single Pokémon at this point. Unfortunately, that didn't hold back the backlash to any degree.

It's gotten to the point where Masuda and Game Freak issued an official statement to fans just the other day on Pokémon's official website. "Just like all of you, we are passionate about Pokémon and each and every one of them is very important to us," the statement reads. "After so many years of developing the Pokémon video games, this was a very difficult decision for me." In an effort to give fans some hope, however, Masuda had some additional info. "I'd like to make one thing clear: even if a specific Pokémon is not available in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, that does not mean it will not appear in future games." With the total Pokémon count reaching such a staggering number, a problem like this was bound to hit sooner or later.


As Masuda clarified, though, this doesn't rule out certain Pokémon from future games. Many have suggested alternative ideas as well, such as adding in support for Pokémon from other regions bit by bit after Sword/Shield launches ala DLC. This suggestion was floated to Masuda back when the initial news got revealed, to which he said the team was "undecided" on. There's also the camp of people that are happy about the news, seeing it as a way to encourage players to use the weirder, newer Pokémon that they might have just ignored before. No matter which side of the issue you fall on, Pokémon Sword and Shield are going to be big titles. "We are pouring our hearts into these games," the statement concludes, "and we hope you will look forward to joining us on this new journey." Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield will bring the all new Galar region exclusively to Nintendo Switch on November 15th this holiday season. You can read the full statement from Game Freak on Pokémon's website.


Tanner is a freelance writer. He enjoys all things video games, particularly the weirder ones, and can often be found drinking coffee and trying to get through his backlog.

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