Pokemon Sword and Shield Appears to Reuse 3DS Models

Published: November 13, 2019 11:00 AM /


Pokemon Sword and Shield Models

We're now less than 48 hours from the release of new titles Pokemon Sword and Shield. This Pokemon title is the first mainline release for the Nintendo Switch and the beginning of the 8th generation of monsters. Being such an anticipated title the internet is already swirling with spoilers and data miners trying to uncover every secret about the game and it hasn't been reassuring for many.

The press for this game has had plenty of highs and lows. Reveals of dynamaxing and gigantamaxing showing Pokemon growing to new heights, while the cutting of the National dex and the list of total Pokemon available to even transfer to the game is less than half of the total number of pokemon.

In an interview back in June with Famitsu, that was then subsequently translated and reported on by sites like IGN, Polygon, and Newsweek, that the models in Sword and Shield were remade for the game. After getting their hands on the games and comparing models data miners have found that while there are some models that vary slightly a lot of them are exactly the same as their Sun and Moon counterpart.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Tyranitar Comparison
White from Sword and Shield, Black from Sun and Moon

Pictured above are the wireframe models of a Tyranitar pulled from the game files of Pokemon Sword and Shield and Pokemon Sun and Moon. In both cases, not only from sight do they look identical but the number of Tris matches exactly at 7352. Other models highlighted include Octillery, Lucario, Flygon, and Minccino that all match. Interestingly it was found that for the Bulbasaur's model there is actually 172 more tris in its Sun and Moon model against its Sword and Shield model. An Imgur gallery has been made comparing a lot of these models if you want to see more.

For those that aren't familiar, the tris that are being referred to are each of the individual triangles that you see in the model. As you can expect less tris means that the models look sharper, with the opposite being true for smoother models. There are a few models that do have different counts by smoothing the tris, such as the Noibat in the header image whose eye has been smoothed, but it's clearly the same model. By subdividing the tris you're taking the space where one tri used to be and turning it into more tris, this effect allows greater detail and smooths out the overall model.

At this point, it's clear that the models used for Pokemon Sword and Shield are the same as those used in previous titles so now what's left to question what Gamefreak was referring to in the interview. The story has changed over the past few months to say that the trade-off of remade models will result in better animations and is the reason that the entire Nationaldex isn't in the game. Fans are now questioning what the trade-off is if the models actually weren't remade. It may be that Gamefreak's true meaning behind "remake" was lost in translation and upon the game's release, there may be further clarification.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of changes being implemented in Pokemon Sword and Shield too as the data mine has also hit Smogon for all of the changes that competitive fans can expect in the meta. 

What do you think now that we know the models are mostly the same? Do you think this was lost in translation?

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More Info About This Game
Learn More About Pokémon Sword and Shield
Game Freak
Nintendo Switch
Release Date
November 15, 2019 (Calendar)
Open World, RPG
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)