In a rather controversial design move, Pokémon Sword & Shield will not allow old Pokémon to be transferred into the upcoming sequel. This seems like a fundamental shift in the series, where until now over 800 distinct Pokémon could be moved around from game to game.
This seems to be not only an unpopular move for the game by Nintendo, but also surprising when considering other recent announcements. The Pokémon Home cloud app and the Pokémon Bank service are designed with the idea of allowing players to keep their collection of Pokémon in a central location to be transferred between games. It is an innovative feature meant to link the Pokémon universe in a tangible way and has come a long way from the 90s when we needed link cables and other players.
And yet, Pokémon Sword and Shield will not have this feature available. Yes, a player can still share between Pokémon Home in the future, but only those from the Galar region Pokédex will be imported into the new game. The restriction feels like a big one, so why did Nintendo move in this direction?
The answer seems rooted in two main issues. First, Producer Junichi Masuda stated at E3 that as there are now over 800 Pokémon species in the game, creating them all while keeping deadlines for development would be too difficult. This is a poor excuse, it is not as though they sprang up overnight. That is the universe you have created for players.
The second reason does seem a bit more reasonable, which is that gameplay balance might be difficult to maintain with so many combo potentials on the competitive scene. This is slightly better but falls more into the category of an unintended benefit of excluding these Pokémon rather than a reason to limit them.
Since the announcement, #Bringbacknationaldex is making the rounds and trending on Twitter.
It may be a monumental effort on behalf of Nintendo to include the 800 Pokémon, but that is the universe they have created and accustomed players towards. If truly it is too much work to get them all in, then this falls within a communication failure on the part of Nintendo. This type of information should never be snuck in quietly, it is a significant deviation from what players expect, and should be addressed as such.
For now, keep your eyes on E3 for some ad hoc protest to start with some kind of catchy chant. Come on Nintendo, do the right thing!