Game Freak’s decision to feature a reduced Pokédex in Pokémon Sword and Shield has been a controversial one, but it seems the cut could be a permanent one.
“We now have no plans to make the Pokémon that are missing in the Galar Pokédex in-game available,” Masuda said. “That is an approach that we want to continue in the future with Pokémon games.”
You’ll never catch ’em all
It’s understandable that Game Freak can’t fit every Pokemon into new games – there are over 800 of them; however, previous Pokemon titles feature both a regional and national Pokédex.
While the regional Pokédex lets you track the Pokémon you find in that specific game, the national Pokédex keeps track of all the Pokémon you’ve found across all games to date, and allows you to trade them into your most recent game through the Pokémon Bank.
This means that while, for example, you may not actually find a Vulpex in the game you have, you can still own one by transferring it from another game. Truly letting you catch ’em all.
However, this national Pokédex is absent from Pokémon Sword and Shield, which only lets you collect and catch Pokémon from the new Galar region. No trading allowed.
Masuda’s comments suggest this will be the case going forward, with the Pokémon Home app on the way to allow players to keep track of all their Pokémon. However, you still won’t be able to transfer all your Pokémon into Sword and Shield.
“Currently the Pokémon Home app is under development, where players can collect their different Pokémon, and only Pokémon in the Galar-Pokédex can be transferred from there to Sword and Shield,” Masuda explained. “But the way of playing is actually not very different from before with Pokémon Bank: until now you have always been able to meet only the Pokémon of a certain region.”
While the Pokédex is reduced now, and may be in the future, Masuda hasn’t completely ruled out the prospect of a national Pokédex returning.
“We encourage people to use Pokémon Home to collect their Pokémon from old games there,” he said. “From there, they might be able to take it to other games in the future. So take good care of your old Pokémon, because you might be able to go out with them again in the future.”
Pokémon Sword and Shield will release on Nintendo Switch o November 15.