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There's No Precedent For Pokemon Sword And Shield Adding Its Missing Pokemon

by Donald Theriault - June 12, 2019, 11:15 am PDT
Total comments: 19

So the region that restricts immigration of Pokémon from other regions is based on England... too soon.

During the Treehouse Live on day 1 of E3, it was announced that the only Pokémon who can be imported into Sword and Shield via Pokémon Home (once it's live) will be Pokémon in the Galar regional Pokédex. This has upset a great many people and was widely regarded as a bad move. Series producer Junichi Masuda stated that the change was made due to the difficulty of modeling 809+x Pokémon in HD without delaying the game. Seeing as we've been promised a "main series Pokémon game" for Switch starting immediately upon the reveal of Let's Go last year, and Pokémon's transmedia property status, this is fair enough.

A hope I've heard on the E3 floor and expressed in social media / the NWR Discord is that the missing Pokémon could be added in an update. But...

Pokémon has had multiple breaks in continuity over the years, and the solution to this problem has always been to buy another game. Or two. Or three.

The first break occured in 2002 (Japan), with the release of Ruby and Sapphire. After throwing off the shackles of the original Game Boy, the inner stat system was completely overhauled. Originally, four hidden values determined a Pokémon's HP variance, shiny status, and even their gender. (Fun fact: Unless the species was only female, second generation female Pokémon can never have the maximum Attack for their species. So Gen 2 is sexist, and also bad.) Ruby and Sapphire blew this out to six different stat variables, along with moving shiny status/gender/the spots of a Pokémon to their own variable. And for over a year, it could only have 202 Pokémon. Colosseum added approximately 50 more depending on the region, and Fire Red and Leaf Green added the remainder. The first two generations couldn't move forward until the Virtual Console releases of 2016-2018.

Technology marches on, and we come to Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire for 3DS five years ago. Following the introduction of Mega Pokémon in X and Y, OR/AS nearly doubled the list of Megas. And X & Y had glitches that were patched, so the community at large felt a patch to keep compatibility between the two sets for battling was inevitable. But there was no patch. To this day, you can't use say, Mega Altaria in a battle if the opponent is playing X/Y, because the game does not recognize it.

The situation was exacerbated with the Sun and Moon games. The original games didn't have a National Pokédex in them to begin with; this function was offloaded to Pokémon Bank when it updated. The Ultra games did something never seen before: brand new Pokémon in the middle of a generation with the Ultra Beasts (as well as the ability for Ultra players to catch the Totem boss Pokémon). For the second time, fans pleaded with GameFreak to update Sun and Moon. And for the second time, they were rebuffed. The National 'dex also remained in Bank.

We don't really know what Sword and Shield's file size will be, but a freshly downloaded Let's Go Eevee is 4.1GB as it sits on my Switch. Let's Go has data for roughly 200 Pokémon, including animations and various camera angles. With the number of known Pokémon in the game already courtesy of Joe Merrick at Serebii.net, we can assume that Sword and Shield will be larger. Depending on how many Pokémon get added or spotted going forward, they may have to add full models for upwards of 600 Pokémon, which could put the game into that "must have microSD card to play" range even if you ignore the Pokémon that have multiple forms.

We still can dream. Sword and Shield come out in November, and we may get more details on their plans for going beyond Galar even after launch. But as someone who has a "living" Pokédex (one of every Pokémon) that I've built up since 2003, I'm fully expecting that my first Sapphire starter Blaziken will never get to see the Galar region until 2020 at the earliest. More likely, she'll spend her days in Home. And that's incredibly deflating.

Talkback

SorenJune 12, 2019

Quote:

Junichi Masuda stated that the change was made due to the difficulty of modeling 809+x Pokémon in HD without delaying the game.

As someone who doesn't play mainline Pokemon games this sounds like a perfectly reasonable thing to do and something that was inevitably going to happen down the line. So I'm just a bit befuddled over people losing their minds on Twitter about this.

ForgottenPearlJune 12, 2019

I guess Game Freak doesn't make enough money from Pokemon to program all the models.

Quote from: Soren

Quote:

Junichi Masuda stated that the change was made due to the difficulty of modeling 809+x Pokémon in HD without delaying the game.

As someone who doesn't play mainline Pokemon games this sounds like a perfectly reasonable thing to do and something that was inevitably going to happen down the line. So I'm just a bit befuddled over people losing their minds on Twitter about this.

They're basically reusing X and Y models though. They need to be retextured for the newer games but most of the work for this was done back in X and Y. The whole reason why Pokemon games on 3DS tend to perform poorly, sometimes even dipping into single digit framerates, is because the models they used for the pokemon in those games are way more advanced than the 3DS has any business trying to handle and were designed specifically to be able to reused for future hardware so they don't need to make new models. Those models have been used in the mainline 3DS games, Pokemon Go, The Let's Go games, and are even being used in Sword and Shield. They aren't even bothering to change any of the animations from what I've seen. There is absolutely no excuse for this and this is going to have major consequences for the games going forward.

This won't be the last you hear about this on NWR.

TheXenocideJune 12, 2019

Eh, not that big a deal.

ThePermJune 12, 2019

:rolleyes:These Pokémon should have been HD years ago. A company like the Pokémon company should have reusable assets on file.

EnnerJune 12, 2019

Ah, the scale of a game when you don't go full Ubisoft with your development team size.

Maybe Game Freak likes to keep it small.

Quote from: ThePerm

:rolleyes:These Pokémon should have been HD years ago. A company like the Pokémon company should have reusable assets on file.

They have reusable assets. They just aren't using them.

RPG_FAN128June 13, 2019

Considering GF invests about 0% of their time in the story of the games it is really hard to justify "oh we don't have the time to ya know actually have all the pokes in the game" excuse. 

It is honestly too bad.  Consider:  I have a full collection of basically everything.  One of every species of Pokemon, including every possible form (also if female forms are different) as well as a complete event set, and legendary sets from every single game.  Not to mention all of my generational battle teams.  IDK about you but I'm super organized and everything is in a precise order.  Now we hear that "oops!" I actually cannot transfer this entire collection to Sword/Shield.  Then pray tell, what the crap SHOULD I transfer? 

(A) Break up my incredibly organized collection and keep a subset on Bank/Gen7 whilst putting the ones I can actually use on Home/Gen8?  That's dumb. Plus this causes TWO non-organized and incomplete sets in TWO different locations.  Sorry that's super dumb. 
(B) Just transfer all of it to Home even though without backwards transfer Home acts like a "prison" and you can't ever actually use any of them (until maybe a 2021 game)?
(C) Just not transfer anything and keep everything on Gen 7?

As you can see, there is no satisfiable solution and anyone who thinks it is 'no big deal' obviously doesn't really play the games or have anything worth transferring. 

We better get Etrian Odyssey on Switch because certain *cough* first party publishers *cough* are making incredibly idiotic and plain stupid decisions.  Absolute stupidity. 

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJune 13, 2019

>Just transfer all of it to Home even though without backwards transfer Home acts like a "prison" and you can't ever actually use any of them (until maybe a 2021 game)?

"Pokémon Prison".  someone whip up some artwork now.

Seriously, Sword/Shield is the only game confirmed to be able to transfer FROM Home, and you won't even be able to transfer all of them.

Mop it upJune 13, 2019

This might be what they do with the third version.

StratosJune 14, 2019

I have to wonder if this is being misconstrued through translation and Nintendo stumbling in their explanation. I'll bet you all the primary numbered monsters will be in, but the "alternate" versions like the Megas and such will be limited.

And I imagine they will all get in eventually via DLC or something.

Between X/Y, Sun/Moon, and the Lets Go games, I can't see there being too many that can't get worked in somehow over time.

nickmitchJune 14, 2019

This isn’t one of those situations where the quote is taken from some offhand conversation with a small outlet. It was at the treehouse live demo. He seemed pretty clear and reiterated. Like, the restriction was framed as being “bad” news.

I see a lot of convo about Nintendo not wanting their devs to be overworked and that being part of the reason, but I honestly wouldn’t mind not having the game until like March 2020. Pokémon as an annual franchise is a bit much for me as a fan of the series. An 18 month cycle would be more palatable.

StratosJune 14, 2019

They could always release a DLC campaign to Sword & Shield instead of a full 3rd game, and use this to add in the missing monsters.

Or they could have hired on additional development staff to take on the extra workload while still meeting the annual release quota they/shareholders love so much.

nickmitchJune 14, 2019

The more I think about it, the more this could be a good thing.  If there's a lot of new ones, it could feel pretty refreshing and end up making the competitive scene more diverse, team-wise.

StratosJune 16, 2019

I've been reading some of the explosion this has happened on Reddit and Twitter, and I am really siding with the fans on this one now. I am enjoying playing through Lets Go Pikachu, but I am seeing enough technical issues that I am disappointed in the final product. There should not be slow down and visible lag when certain actions are being taken. I'm really thinking that Game Freak is being lazy with their development. That could mean too small of a dev team, lack of proper management, or even lack of a complete QA team/process. It does put a damper on my interest in Sword/Shield, but I have not decided if it will turn me away from the game entirely until they offer a correction. Probably depends on what else is available around the same time and my budget for games. Sword has definitely dropped a few notches on my purchase priorities.

nickmitchJune 16, 2019

I still think it's the annual release schedule.  We don't really need a new Pokemon game every year.  If Game Freak wants to keep the team small without working too much over time, that's fine.  But take the extra six months.  I think the fans will understand that over limitations.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterJune 20, 2019

I am extremely disappointed and frustrated with Game Freak. Don't tell me every Pokemon won't make it because of higher fidelity and animations. No, just stop. The graphics look ok at best and the fighting animations are darn near the exact same thing we've been seeing for years. Look at the NPC's walk around. Human characters run, stop, turn, then run again just to change direction. Absolute garbage in my eyes.

The games have appeared lazy to me since X and Y but I can look past it because I love the monsters so darn much. I hate the story, I hate the human characters, I hate the gameplay outside of battles. If not for the actual creatures I wouldn't have anything to do with Pokemon anymore. Now I can't bring all my creatures forward? Nah bruh.

Honestly I knew this day would come at some point but don't announce Pokemon Home just a week before and condition me to think that Sword and Shield would be fully compatible with it.

I'm pretty sure I'll get the game but normally there is no question. It's done deal years before the game is announced. This time I just might wait or not at all. I'll still catch em all with the cards at the very least.

I'm pretty happy with all the uproar. Fans have been angrily putting up with the constant feature cuts generation after generation but this is finally the straw that broke the Camerupts back. I'd love to see how the Pokemon Company responds, even if it takes years in the making.

RABicleJune 30, 2019

We must maintain our rage comrades! Sustained pressure on TCP and Game Freak is the only way to overturn this decision!

I also wrote a fuller rant.

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