Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda Responds To Fan Backlash Against ‘Pokémon Sword & Shield’

Pokémon: Sword & Shield (Image courtesy of Pokemon)

Pokémon: Sword & Shield (Image courtesy of Pokemon)

Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda was a guest at Nintendo’s E3 Treehouse streams earlier this month. There, he discussed Pokémon Sword and Shield, his studio’s latest titles and the beginning of the multimedia brand’s eighth generation. As with every new core region, Sword and Shield‘s Galar will feature several new Pokémon for Trainers to discover, catch and battle alongside. Several returning species – from series stalwarts like Charizard, Gengar and Butterfree to contemporaries like Alola‘s Mimikyu and Bewear – have been spotted as well, but Masuda confirmed during his appearance than not every creature will be usable in the forthcoming sequels.

Old and new specimens alike demandingly require new animations and balancing all of the Pokémon within the series’ battle system is a daunting task, with Masuda regrettably claiming it consequently wasn’t feasible to bring back every old Pokémon. The revelation sparked an outrage on social media, with the hashtag #BringBackTheNationalDex becoming a trending topic on Twitter. Masuda has heard fans’ concerns, today releasing a statement addressing them on the official Pokémon website:

Thank you to all of our fans for caring so deeply about Pokémon. Recently, I shared the news that some Pokémon cannot be transferred to Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. I’ve read all your comments and appreciate your love and passion for Pokémon.

Just like all of you, we are passionate about Pokémon and each and every one of them is very important to us. After so many years of developing the Pokémon video games, this was a very difficult decision for me. 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.

The world of Pokémon continues to evolve. The Galar region offers new Pokémon to encounter, Trainers to battle, and adventures to embark on. We are pouring our hearts into these games, and we hope you will look forward to joining us on this new journey.

From the way it sounds, it still appears the Galar duology will not allow all of our old favorites to cross its borders. Speaking as a longtime fan (and as someone who runs a Twitter page dedicated to Tropius, an obscure favorite), it’s a disappointing development. It isn’t a dealbreaker for me and I am sympathetic to Game Freak’s reasoning, but it’s disappointing nonetheless. However, Masuda does add how any Pokémon that fail to make it to Galar can return in future titles, reassuring fans of his team’s love for all 800+ critters.

In other Pokémon news, The Pokémon Company recently divulged more information regarding the upcoming smartphone title Pokémon Masters, following up on its announcement back in May. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, the franchise’s first live-action film, also became the highest grossing game adaption in cinema.

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