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Game Freak isn't recycling 3DS models in Pokémon Sword and Shield after all

Developer says all models have been made from scratch.

As Game Freak continues to battle criticism from Pokémon fans unhappy that Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield won't support every single Pokémon species, speculation that the Pokédex has been truncated because the studio was "recycling" models from the newer 3DS games has seemingly been proven untrue.

As Wes reported last week, earlier this month it emerged Sword and Shield - which pushes the series' overall Pokémon count to over 1000 - won't let you catch all the Pokémon, nor will you be able to transfer Pokémon outside of the games' regional Pokédex making Sword and Shield the first new, mainline Pokémon games not to support every single Pokémon species.

Now, however, a month-old Japanese-language interview with Famitsu (thanks, Polygon) has brought to light confirmation that the developer is indeed creating the creatures from scratch, but better graphics and newer mechanics such as Mega Evolution meant the team felt it had no choice but to curtail the Pokédex in order to maintain "quality".

Game Freak's Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori purportedly said that given the Switch's improved graphics it was difficult enough to bring the full Pokédex to Pokémon Sun and Moon in 2016, let alone do so now with Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.

"Of course, I wanted to be able to bring all Pokemon if I could do it," Ohmori said at the time, according to Google translate. "But it was also a decision that I had to make some day. In the end, I had no choice but to choose the quality."

In a rare public comment to fans last week, Masuda addressed the "love and passion for Pokémon", and moved to reassure concerned fans that "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".

"Thank you to all of our fans for caring so deeply about Pokémon," he said. "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."

Chris Tapsell went hands-on with Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield at E3 2019, and spotted two all-new Pokémon.

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About the Author
Vikki Blake avatar

Vikki Blake


When​ ​her friends​ ​were falling in love with soap stars, Vikki was falling in love with​ ​video games. She's a survival horror survivalist​ ​with a penchant for​ ​Yorkshire Tea, men dressed up as doctors and sweary words. She struggles to juggle a fair-to-middling Destiny/Halo addiction​ ​and her kill/death ratio is terrible.

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