Pokemon Sword and Shield Creators on National Dex Backlash: “You Have to Take Criticism”

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Pokemon Sword and Shield is less than a month away, and Game Freak is getting more comfortable with talking about the project in-depth. Several outlets were recently allowed to interview the Sword and Shield team, and each publication eventually asked about the Donphan in the room: The controversy over Pokemon Sword and Shield’s lack of a National PokeDex.

Long story short, not every single Pokemon will be in Sword and Shield, and the internet has things to say about the exclusion. In turn, lead producer Junichi Masuda and series director Shigeru Ohmori share how the backlash made the team feel and re-iterate why the decision was made.

“Of course, you know, you see these sort of negative comments [about the National Dex] and it does, as a developer, make you feel a bit down about certain things,” Masuda tells Eurogamer. “But at the same time, you have to take criticism. For example, with Pokemon Let’s Go, early on there were a lot of comments that it was too easy, or it was kind of a bit too ‘kid-focused’ and that sort of thing. That sort of comment is something you see, and you take on board, and really try and base improvements in the next game on the feedback you received from the last one.”

Elsewhere, Masuda points out spending a little less time on making sure every Pokemon is present for roll call made it easier for the team to add depth to Pokemon Sword and Shield. “[W]hen we add new moves and abilities we create a deeper experience for everyone to enjoy. This time around we can also give people a greater attachment to the Pokemon that are in the game, which is something we think is very important,” he tells VG247. “So we definitely – we don’t have regrets about what we’ve done.”

Still upset at the exclusion? You might want to wait around and see what Pokemon Home has to offer. “One of the things we’ve tried to do this time around, and we don’t have a lot of details to share, but we’re introducing a cloud service called Pokemon Home,” Masuda tells Polygon. “[W]e really want to use that to kind of expand the Pokemon world, provide a place for players to be able to gather all of their Pokemon in one spot, do fun things, and also use it as a launching pad for different adventures and different games.”

By now, you’ve made up your mind whether you forgive Game Freak for Sword and Shield’s truncated PokeDex, or if you plan to die mad about it. Whatever your choice, look forward to the game’s release on November 15 (or try to!), and take a look at our Pokemon Sword and Shield guides.

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