Shortly after Gamefreak announced their controversial decision to limit the number of Pokemon in Pokemon Sword & Shield to the Galar Regional Dex only, they held an interview with Famitsu where they went into greater detail behind their decision.
While some of what was featured in the interview has been talked about before, some additional translations shed even more light on Gamefreak’s plans moving forward, the thoughts they had when deciding on this move, and what Pokemon Trainers can expect moving forward.
Check out the highlights below, courtesy of Siliconera:
- Masuda reiterates that with the shift to the Switch, the amount of time needed to make the graphics more beautiful and the animations more lively has increased. Another aspect is the fact that the Pokemon series has reached over 1,000 Pokemon (including form changes), and as such, apart from the graphics, balancing for new Pokemon with new abilities has become very hard. This is the reason behind the decision this time, and they have judged that it will be hard for all the Pokemon to appear, even in titles going forward.
- This was a decision that had to be made sooner or later, according to Masuda.
- According to Ohmori, even in Pokemon Sun & Moon, bringing in every Pokemon was something barely manageable, and with Pokemon Sword & Shield and the need to redo models, and so they had to make a decision. However, Ohmori says that despite this, the Wild Areas and story will have quite a bit of content to make up for it.
- Regarding whether Pokemon may be added in future updates, this is currently uncertain. However, even if not in Pokemon Sword & Shield, Game Freak plans on making those Pokemon shine in future titles going forward, via Pokemon Home. They do not want the players’ past Pokemon to feel worthless.
- Will Pokemon that receive new graphics through Sword & Shield reuse them to appear in titles going forward? Currently, this option is being inspected. However, with the inclusion of gimmicks like Mega Evolution and Dynamax that affect all Pokemon, this would mean even more graphics production and balancing, so making it happen would be hard.
- Basically, it’s not about adding more Pokemon in as they receive graphical upgrades, but rather a change towards bringing in Pokemon from Pokemon Home that fit the game. The reason behind the name Pokemon Home, is that it is a place to return to. In return, bringing Pokemon out to games going forward, is like bringing it on a trip. In terms of the feelings of the Pokemon, says Masuda, it’s like them saying, “This region is cold, so I’ll be staying at home.” As for Pokemon Home, Game Freak are thinking of adding some gameplay elements to it.
- Masuda says that he has the concept of bringing Pokemon out to even the spinoff titles from Pokemon Home in mind, and that this will be considered in the future as well.
Of course, whether or not upgrading the game’s graphics is worth the sacrifice of excluding large numbers of Pokemon from the games is debatable. This is especially when those visual upgrades are too incremental, or barely visible to a lot of the fans.
That said, it is possible that removing the burden of having to update every single model for over 1000 Pokemon will indeed lead to more significant upgrades to the graphics and animations of Pokemon, characters, and environments in future games beyond Pokemon Sword & Shield.
Until fans see tangible results however, it is likely that they won’t be letting Gamefreak off the hook anytime soon.
Pokemon Sword and Shield launches for Nintendo Switch on November 15, 2019.
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