Game Freak says balance of the battle system is the reason for Pokemon Sword & Shield limiting Pokemon to the Galar Region


Pokemon fans are really, really not happy about Game Freak's decision to limited Pokemon Sword & Shield Pokemon to those found in the Galar Region Pokedex. Many want to know why the decision was made, and USGamer got that answer straight from Game Freak's Junichi Masuda.

There are a couple of different parts to the thinking behind it, but really the biggest reason for it is just the sheer number of Pokemon. We already have well over 800 Pokemon species, and there's going to be more added in these games. And now that they're on the Nintendo Switch, we're creating it with much higher fidelity with higher quality animations. But even more than that, it's coming down to the battle system. We're making sure we can keep everything balanced and give all the Pokemon that appear in the games a chance to shine.

We knew at some point we weren't going to be able to indefinitely keep supporting all of the Pokemon, and we just found that Sword and Shield would probably be a good point to go back and reevaluate what would be the best selection of Pokemon that appeal to the widest audience while keeping into consideration the balance of the battle system. It isn't just going to be all-new Pokemon in the Galar region Pokedex; there's still going to be a lot of favorites that fans will be able to bring over that they've adventured with previously. But yeah, it was pretty much just balancing and getting this optimal selection of Pokemon for the adventure we wanted to provide.

Wondering how Game Freak is picking what Pokemon to include? Masuda had the answer for that too.

There are definitely a lot of factors. The primary focus was the setting of the game. We have the Galar Region, and we spent a lot of time discussing which Pokemon would make sense in that region. We kind of selected from there. But we also selected types that make sure the battles are balanced and really provide this exciting kind of battle experience.


Top Rated Comment
Wed Jun 12 19 10:17pm
Rating: 3

"higher quality animation"
can I get an LMAO
GameFreak, no one believes this, your biggest lie ever.

Wed Jun 12 19 10:04pm
(Updated 1 time)

Pursuing balance seems like the kind of thing that would be done with hardcore fans and the competitive community in mind, but based on the reactions I’m seeing most of these fans would much rather be able to transfer over their previous Pokémon than have things be more balanced. If the kind of balance he’s talking about is related to Dynamaxing (aka the feature that most people don’t seem too excited about), this hurts even more.

Wed Jun 12 19 11:19pm
Rating: 2

This choice was made to cut down on the time sink. Theres just too many options in the games to take into account. I really dont mind if they curate the experience at this point. I have sunk hundreds of hours, around 500, into Pokemon Sun/UltraSun just on competitive prep alone, but I had barely touched my bank mons aside from a few pokemon that have sentimental value.

Theres actually a real affliction called Overchoice, or simply, the overload of having too many options to choose from. This can cause cognitive dissonance in a lot of people. that's why you see fast food restaurants cutting down on menus or giving you build you own options lately. People who have better executive people have an easier time with this, and I'd reckon most Pokemon fans fit that category, but there comes a breaking point for even the most dedicated and I'm not surprised we've reached it.

This also puts the competitive scene more in line with trading card games like Pokemon or MtG, as some card sets retire as new ones are made, and also more in line with the way the first tournament season of a gen is conducted where only in region pokemon are allowed. That way when the next game in the gen comes along, or heck, maybe theyll make DLC for the 2nd tournament season and surprise us for once, all pokemon will be allowed, because that's how they've conducted the Gen - tournament cycle the past 4 games.

Masuda seriously has to be the most unlucky employee at game freak. Even on games he's not directing like this he almost always says stupid shit to make people upset in interviews, such as the Battle Frontier removal in ORAS (no, i'll never forgive Pokemon 06 for being made) and LGPE's design decisions (Which ironically weren't nearly as bad as he made them out to be.

But yeah, this is another level. While their animation reasoning is obvious BS, this is more of a sign of how upsetting it is that Pokemon is forced to come out every year with no exceptions. I bet if they wanted to they could easily delay it more but they won't because they literally cannot due to the nature of the anime/TCG. I just hope they do the right thing and make a patch when HOME's out

Wed Jun 12 19 11:43pm
Rating: 2

Bull. I'll buy that remaking assets for all the Pokemon will take a while, but I hoped that would be fixed by the 3rd game, Gen 4 remakes, or even a patch. For balance reasons just seems odd. If you have a favorite Pokemon you're bringing over, it already will be overleveled. I also think anyone who has brought over their old Pokemon know that that can affect the balance of the game, and haven't really cared.

I really hope this doesn't mean a future where you never have all your Pokemon. I've been playing since Gen 1 and have brought Pokemon forward every gen since Gen 3. That also means after playing a release as its meant to be played (Regional Pokedex only, no bringing in my IV bred Pokemon), I would replay with dumb teams - Regional rodent, regional bird, regional pseudo-legendaries, regional Pikachu, regional starting bug. When Drednaw was revealed last week I was excited because it finally meant my turtle team could be complete - I've never gotten an entire team based around a single species like that before (maybe a cat team was possible?). And now the chance that I will be able to field that turtle team is pretty much null

Thu Jun 13 19 05:13am
(Updated 1 time)

Balance is a weird thing to try and explain but I'm sure they mean competitive legal balance, not necessarily in game balance. I'm almost certain that they're attempting to limit not only the species, but the amount of movepool possible for the game when they talk about balance. If every pokemon is allowed, then every every breedable move possibility is allowed, but it also means certain egg moves are allowed, and even some special moves a pokemon may not normally be able to obtain in some cases, such as the Collesieum and Gale of Darkness special moves.

It actually got to the point where last gen some people with legit pokemon have gotten banned for suspected hacking or having legit mons wiped from the bank, while others with clearly hacked pokemon got away with griefing other players in randoms before getting banned.

People also seem to overlook that Pokemon has a way of easily obtaining player data using POKEMON Global Link. This allows them to either run fixes, deal out bans, or find records on what particular features most players are using by observing how most people play the game overtime. It's not like they randomly threw a dart at a wall and decided this. They know how most of us play the game after all.

Pokemon! Gotta catch.....some......

Seriously, they could limit the number at release to give exposure to the new set but after, let’s say, 3 months they could “unlock” more regions like Pokemon Go did.

It could actually make the title more “evergreen”.

I bet they will add more pokémon as time goes on. Let’s just hope they’re not paid DLC. :—D

I can see this becoming the worst selling main line Pokemon game with all of these poor decisions.

With Animal Crossing delayed and no hardware revision in sight Nintendo really has nothing to fall back on this holiday season.

I think its a combination of being cheap and pressed for time.

I'm okay with this but not for the reason he gave. 800+ pokemon is not something that will be sustainable in the future. As I have said in previous posts they need to slow down on the mon creating and start giving the pokemon character and personality.

Keep in mind that pokemon are animals and consequently they affect the environment/ecosystem differently. This is why all countries have limits on what plants and animals can be imported.

We knew at some point we weren't going to be able to indefinitely keep supporting all of the Pokemon, and we just found that Sword and Shield would probably be a good point to go back and reevaluate what would be the best selection of Pokemon that appeal to the widest audience while keeping into consideration the balance of the battle system.

If you can't support all of the Pokemon, maybe you should slow down on making new ones?

I mean, that aside, you can see in every Pokemon game since XY that they bring the animations (idle, attack, sleep, walking, etc) over from each last game to the next. I get that it's not that simple but you really aren't adding a bunch of new move animations or anything. Sure, you've got to clean it up for HD but... you have to do that at some point anyway.

They really shot themselves in the foot with that "Gotta catch 'em all" catchphrase.


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