Nintendo’s E3 Direct presentation yesterday was pretty good, all things considered. If you’re looking forward to Pokemon Sword and Shield, it’s the ensuing Treehouse live stream you’ll be more interested in.
During the live stream, Pokemon head honcho Junichi Masuda appeared to dish some more info on the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Shield. One particular point of interest was Masuda’s comments about how transfers will work. You’ll be able to transfer Pokemon to Sword and Shield from the new Pokemon Home mobile service. Unfortunately, that statement has to carry a pretty big asterisk. You can only transfer Pokemon which are already included in Sword and Shield‘s Galar Pokedex. Home will accept Pokemon from the 3DS’ Pokemon Bank, as well as from Pokemon Let’s Go! Eevee and Pikachu.
What does this mean in practical terms? Well, if you move Pokemon from the 3DS’ Pokemon Bank service to Home and they’re not in the Galar Pokedex, they’re stuck there. You can’t send ’em back and you can’t put ’em on Pokemon Sword and Shield either. Pokemon Home will have a trading feature which will allow users to trade Pokemon via the cloud. That’s nice and everything, but if you transfer a Pokemon to Home, it’s just sitting there until Nintendo releases a new Pokemon game or until some sort of new functionality is patched into Sword and Shield.
The reasoning here is pretty simple. In the live stream, Masuda says the transition to Switch hardware allowed the team to be “much more expressive with each of the individual Pokemon”. As such, the team didn’t want to ramp up development time applying this treatment to over 800 Pokemon. Instead, they decided to focus on a smaller number to make sure they were able to release the game in a timely manner. It sounds from the Treehouse stream like this will be the new standard going forward for the series.
This will be the first time since Pokemon Ruby and Pokemon Sapphire in 2002 that you won’t be able to have all the pokemon transferred in one form or another. For over 15 years, collectors have been able to transfer Pokemon forward and back between games but now Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield mark the end of that streak.
While this might seem like bad news for collectors, there are a couple of potential sweeteners. We don’t yet know how big the Galar Pokedex will be. So far, 170 critters have been confirmed for Sword and Shield. The Alola Pokedex in Sun and Moon clocked in at 400. If the Galar Pokedex has anywhere near that number, that’s 400 ready for a potential Diamond and Pearl remake as well as for the next mainline entry in the series. It’s also entirely possible that Nintendo will patch in more Pokemon as time goes on. Of course, this is all complete speculation.
There’s also the fact that Game Freak has worked very hard indeed on the Pokemon that have been included in Pokemon Sword and Shield. These critters have had new animations added, so it’s definitely true that doing so for the remaining number would have been serious work. Still, it’s going to be hard for Nintendo to keep using “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” as a slogan for the Pokemon franchise. Maybe the company should switch to something more appropriate like “Literally Impossible To Catch ‘Em All”. I’ll leave that one to the professionals.
How do you feel about not being able to transfer Pokemon to Sword and Shield from Pokemon Home? Let us know in the comments below!