Pokemon will usher in a brand new era with the release of Sword and Shield later this month – this will mark the first time a main Pokemon game will be available on a console other than a handheld. But with it, Game Freak has decided to make some choices that aren’t sitting well with fans of the series.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot about Pokemon Sword and Shield to get excited about! The Galar region seems really cool, gym battles are back after taking a reprieve in Sun and Moon, and this will be the first ever open world Pokemon game, which is notable and exciting.
But the thing that has so many Pokemon fans seething is the exclusion of the National Pokedex in Pokemon Sword and Shield. What fans mean by the exclusion of the National Pokedex is that many Pokemon from previous games are not going to be accessible in any way shape or form in Pokemon Sword and Shield. This is unique because every other Pokemon game ever made has been able to transfer or import Pokemon from previous games. This is usually facilitated by a piece of software like the Pokemon Bank – however, Game Freak has stated that even with software like the upcoming Pokemon Home, which is meant to replace the Bank, that only 400 Pokemon will be made available to play with in Pokemon Sword and Shield.
400 Pokemon. That’s it.
Now, 400 may sound like a lot – but there are 815 total Pokemon. Back at Generation 3 there were 386 Pokemon, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to balance gameplay, they’ve only been doing it since 2002.
This is a massive step backwards for a game series that has a history of going to great lengths to be able to make sure the Pokemon you’ve adventured with since you were a child can still be brought into the most recent game. In my opinion, a decision like this run completely counter to the spirit of the Pokemon game franchise.
Fans are so upset about this change they’ve taken to calling the event #Dexit.
Other features that some fans aren’t happy with is the inclusion of a feature like Gigantamax at the expense of Mega Evolutions and Z-Moves. And the latest thing that fans are raising a stink over is the fact that the 3 starter Pokemon will be shiny locked.
Now, I could forgive you for thinking that the only reason I’m writing this is because my favorite Pokemon, Kabutops, will not be included in Sword and Shield – which is true. But this isn’t just about my favorite, there are over 500 Pokemon being excluded from Sword and Shield – the first ever Pokemon game on an actual console. It’s sad and frustrating that so many Pokemon fans will either have to continue their journey without their favorite Poke-pal’s or just keep playing the older games.
One question this does raise is what effect this splitting of the fan bases could have on Pokemon’s competitive scene. Pokemon is unique in the world of esports – it’s one of the first video games to have structured competitive tournaments, but it’s also the only competitive turn based games I can think of. Could a move like “Dexit” divide the fanbase so deeply that we have a Super Smash Bro’s Melee situation evolve from it? Only time will tell…